For the third consecutive year, State Senator Patty Ritchie will host 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day at the State Capitol on Tuesday.
The day-long event will celebrate the commanders and soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division for their ongoing role in our nation’s defense, as well as the post itself for the key role it plays in the region’s economy.
“Each and every day, the brave soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division make tremendous sacrifices to defend our freedom and I’m thrilled to once again have the opportunity to recognize the post and its troops,” said Senator Ritchie.
Plan Also Boosts College Aid to Help Families Struggling with Tuition Costs
New York’s schools would receive $812 million more in state aid, and the aid-cutting “Gap Elimination Adjustment” (GEA) would be eliminated over two years, under the Senate’s new budget plan that also boosts aid for middle class families struggling to pay college tuition costs.
The bipartisan Senate plan (R.4036) includes $541 million in “GEA restoration”—$200 million more than proposed by the Governor, and five times the increase recommended by the Assembly.
Eliminating the aid-cutting GEA was listed as a top priority of school officials in this year’s budget.
“The GEA was a budget gimmick imposed before I joined the Senate, and one that disproportionately punishes rural schools,” Senator Ritchie said. “Eliminating the GEA and getting a fair share for our schools and taxpayers has been a priority for school officials, as it has been for me, and this plan drives more funding to the classroom, and gets us closer to our goals.”
Ritchie ‘Young Farmer’ Plan, Record Ag Funding Wins Bipartisan Support Senator Ritchie’s “Young Farmers NY” plan to secure the future of family farming and encourage more young people to pursue careers in agriculture won bipartisan approval today as part of the Senate’s state budget plan that also included nearly $9 million in new investments in programs to help farmers grow. That amount is the largest increase in support for agricultural research, marketing and education programs in at least six years. Senator Ritchie’s Young Farmers NY plan was modeled on successful programs in other states that are bringing young people back to agriculture.
Bipartisan Support for Shift of Unused Land to Local Control
A plan by Senator Patty Ritchie to create economic growth and new jobs by shifting control of unused land and buildings on the St. Lawrence Psych Center campus from the state to the local community was approved by the Senate Friday.
Senator Ritchie’s proposal to transfer 160 acres of unused campus property—including river frontage—to the City of Ogdensburg was included in the Senate’s version of the new state budget (R.4036), which passed with bipartisan support.
“My plan would create new opportunity for Ogdensburg and the entire North Country for jobs and economic growth, by transforming unused land and buildings for development, housing, industry and recreation,” Senator Ritchie said.
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced that for the first time, her proposal to allow for the registration of increasingly popular Utility Task Vehicles—commonly known as UTVs—has been included in the Senate’s budget proposal.
The measure, which has passed the Senate three times, would authorize the state Department of Motor Vehicles to allow the registration of larger recreational vehicles and in turn, would allow New York State to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost non-tax revenue, boost tourism and revitalize the economy.
Votes NO on Nominees; Backs Reforms in Wake of Flawed ‘Common Core’ Rollout
State Senator Patty Ritchie today voted to oust members of the Board of Regents, citing the flawed rollout of the state’s new Common Core educational standards, and announced support for legislation to increase accountability of the education policy-setting board to students, parents and taxpayers. Senator Ritchie voted to reject the reappointments of three current Regents, James Cottrell of Brooklyn, Wade Norwood of Rochester, and Christine Cea of Staten Island. A fourth Regent, James Jackson of Albany, who served on the board since 2011, abruptly withdrew his name from consideration. “The flawed roll-out of Common Core has created anxiety for students, parents and teachers from every corner of New York, and a resulting outpouring of protest from all across Central and Northern New York,” Senator Ritchie said. “Every single parent, student and educator who has contacted me about Common Core has demanded change from the Board of Regents, and with my vote today I am joining my voice with theirs in calling for increased accountability and reform.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie met recently with representatives from libraries and library networks in Central and Northern New York. At the meeting, the group thanked the Senator for her support and discussed State Budget funding for libraries.
Last year, Senator Ritchie—who is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Libraries— was able to deliver $161,000 in special funding to 49 area libraries and 2 library networks in the region she represents. The funding was in addition to a $4 million increase in state budget aid for libraries across New York State.
The program honors women’s history in the Empire State by recognizing outstanding leaders and everyday citizens from the present who are making a difference.
“Each and every day, women in our region are doing amazing things and throughout the years I’ve had the opportunity to recognize dozens of them through the New York State Senate’s ‘Women of Distinction’ program,” said Senator Ritchie. “I’m truly excited to once again honor the women of our region who are making a difference.”
Women living in the 48th Senate District, including Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties are eligible for nomination. All nominees will be invited to a local recognition ceremony to be held on May 1st. One individual from each State Senate district will be selected to travel to the Capitol to be honored at a special reception on May 13th.
“Young Farmers NY” Encourages New Generation of Farmers, Strengthens NY’s Leading IndustrySenator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today unveiled her “Young Farmers NY” plan to address issues related to the advancing average age of New York farmers and to preserve the future of family farming. The initiative will support and encourage a new generation of farmers and help strengthen the state’s leading industry for decades to come.CLICK HERE TO SEE DETAILS OF THE PLANWATCH VIDEO OF THE STATE CAPITOL PRESS CONFERENCE“Young Farmers NY,” which was announced today at a Capitol news conference, is a series of proposals to smooth the transfer of farmland to the next generation, preserve existing farmland, and help young farmers overcome obstacles to give them a grea
In an effort to recognize local artistic talent in Central and Northern New York, State Senator Patty Ritchie, along with the North Country Arts Council hosted a celebration of the arts Thursday evening in Watertown.
At the event those who have participated in the “Senator Ritchie Celebrates Local Artists” program were recognized. Through the effort, two dozen artists have had their work featured in Senator Ritchie’s Albany, Ogdensburg, Oswego and Watertown offices. The work of past featured artists can be viewed at Downtown Watertown’s Franklin Building or by clicking here.
In addition, at the event, high school students from the Central and Northern New York region were inducted into Senator Ritchie’s local artists program, and in the weeks to come, will have their artwork featured in her offices. Several high school students were also invited to perform in the areas of song and dance.
State Senator Patty Ritchie met with North Country lawmakers Wednesday in Albany to discuss her plan to return unused land at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center back to the community to be used for economic development and job creation.
From the Senate, attendees included Senator Betty Little and a representative for Senator Joe Griffo. From the Assembly, attending the meeting were Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, Assemblyman Marc Butler, Assemblywoman Addie Russell and a representative for Assemblywoman Janet Duprey.
Local, State Leaders Getting on Board to Return Unused Parcels to Help Create Jobs
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced growing support for her proposal to return 160 acres of unused land at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center back to the community to be used for economic development and to create jobs.
The Senator’s bill, S.6661, was formally introduced in the Legislature today. All three Senators representing St. Lawrence County, including Senator Ritchie, Senator Joe Griffo and Senator Betty Little have signed on as cosponsors.
On Monday night, Senator Ritchie’s plan, which was developed collaboratively with Ogdensburg Mayor Bill Nelson, as well as Ogdensburg’s City manager and City Planner, was officially endorsed by a unanimous City Council.
Members of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators also unanimously voiced their support during a meeting of that body’s Finance Committee Monday.
Senator Ritchie’s Weekly ColumnFrom sowing crops by hand and working the land with simple wooden plows to employing new and advanced technologies to grow better—and more—crops, agriculture has come a long way since it first took root in the United States.Illustrating these changes is the newly-released USDA 2012 “Census of Agriculture” (read the full report here). The survey, which is taken every five years, not only indicates that agriculture continues to be a strong and major driver of our state and local economies, it also shows that there are tremendous opportunities for further growth in the industry. According to the report, the market values of livestock, crops and total products grown and produced by those in the industry are at an all time high, as farms in the United S
'Land Transfer' Bill Aims to Get Unused Land Back on the Tax Rolls, Help Community Grow
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced she will be introducing legislation next week to transfer 160 vacant acres of surplus land at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center to the City of Ogdensburg as part of a long-term comprehensive program to redevelop the campus.
Senator Ritchie has been working with Ogdensburg Mayor William Nelson and City Manager John Pinkerton over the past two months to develop a plan to transform blighted properties at the 125-year-old Psychiatric Center into economic development assets to create opportunities for new jobs and growth.
The proposal was endorsed by the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force on Thursday. The Ogdensburg City Council will consider a proposal to endorse the plan Monday.
Senator Ritchie will present the legislation to members of State Assembly and State Senate delegation representing St. Lawrence County in the state legislature on Wednesday to seek their support. Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell has announced her support for the plan.
State Senator Patty Ritchie recognized more than 50 individuals Saturday at “People Helping People: A Celebration of Adams, NY,” an event held to honor those who lent a helping hand during last month’s extreme lake effect snowstorm. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A PHOTO ALBUM OF THE EVENT“Here in the North Country, we know about tough winters, but the people of Adams showed us that the worst can bring out the best—and that’s something worth celebrating” said Senator Ritchie.
Asks Governor for Oversight of Freight Trains Speeding Through Rural Communities
Senator Patty Ritchie wants the state to boost its oversight of freight trains coursing through Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties in the wake of moves by national rail companies for higher speeds on the local lines, and growing concerns about transport of hazardous materials through populated communities.
The Senator has written a letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to expand a new rail safety review he’s ordered into rail transport of crude oil on downstate lines to also include potentially hazardous freight being moved through other communities. The letter is available here.
“Community leaders have expressed concern that these higher speed trains could be causing unnecessary risks to neighboring communities and schools, local populations and our environment, should a serious accident occur,” Senator Ritchie said in her letter to the Governor, copies of which she has sent to emergency response officials in the three local counties.
Online Petition Aims to Stop Welfare Use in Liquor Stores, Bars and Casinos
State Senator Patty Ritchie is urging the public to join her fight against welfare abuse by signing an online petition to stop the use of EBT benefit cards in liquor stores, casinos and adult entertainment businesses.
Her call comes as the State Senate passed a bill—for the third time in as many years—that makes those businesses off-limits for using welfare cards. Senator Ritchie is a cosponsor of that bill (S.966).
“Welfare benefits are intended to help those who have fallen on hard times, to feed their families and make ends meet, and taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to buy booze, cigarettes and lottery tickets,” Senator Ritchie said.
The Senator’s “Public Assistance Integrity Act” would prohibit the use of welfare benefits to buy alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets, and bars the use of EBT benefit cards in liquor stores, casinos and adult entertainment businesses.