This month, we welcome Black History Month as an opportunity to highlight the many accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans to our state and region. The observation of Black History Month has a special connection to the Rochester area: February was chosen in 1926 partially because it was the birth month of Frederick Douglass, who rose from freed slave to famed abolitionist and orator, and spent almost 30 years living in Rochester.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Senator Ted O’Brien praised a $281,600 state grant announced today that will enable Rochester’s Action for a Better Community (A.B.C.) to work with local law enforcement and youth to encourage nonviolent conflict resolution and discourage gang violence. A state Division of Criminal Justice Services researcher will be working with A.B.C.
Senator Ted O'Brien sat down to discuss some top priorities he will be working on this session. These include implementing additional tax relief, working to pass his Unfunded Mandate Reform Act, striving to improve availability of job and skills training programs that help match unemployed people up with positions that are open now and fighting to tighten restrictions on how campaigns are financed and more effectively deal with those who flout the rules.
This essay by Senator O'Brien ran in the Democrat & Chronicle on January 11, 2014
As a new legislative session in Albany begins, I am preparing to address serious challenges to our region’s well-being.
During his State of the State address, the governor made it clear that upstate tax relief is his top priority. Mine, too. Eliminating corporate and energy taxes for upstate manufacturers and implementing the governor’s call for additional property tax relief are on the top of my agenda, as well.
Unfunded mandates cost New Yorkers $4 billion a year in additional costs to local governments and schools. This is a leading contributor to the crushing burden of property taxes that New Yorkers pay. The Unfunded Mandate Reform Act (S.4094-2013 – read the full Act here) requires the legislature to take a stand on the issue and repeal some of these mandates.
Thank you for your wonderful contribution to the Thanksgiving Day Creative Celebration. We received outstanding poems, essays, and artwork that exemplify the creativity of New York State’s young people.
The submissions received are remarkable in what they represent – showing gratitude and respect for family, friends, our troops fighting overseas, and many other important subjects and activities. I am humbled and honored to see such inspiring contributions in response to what is a deceptively difficult question: “What are you thankful for?”
On behalf of the New York State Senate, I would like to offer my wholehearted congratulations to all of the participants in this year’s Thanksgiving Day Creative Celebration.
FAIRPORT, N.Y. -- Two local veterans of the Second World War who were inducted into the New York State Senate's Veterans' Hall of Fame earlier this year were recognized by Senator O'Brien at the Perinton Memorial VFW Post 8495, the home of "Freedom Hill."
Bob Nolan of the Army and Lyle Dupra of the Naval Armed Guard and Navy were recognized for their service. Dupra is also a veteran of the Korean conflict, while Nolan later had a long career with the Central Intelligence Agency.
PENFIELD, N.Y. -- Senator Ted O'Brien recently toured ThermoFisher's Penfield production facility, learning about how the manufacturer of equipment and supplies for scientific and research labs uses advanced technology and cost-saving strategies suggested by employees at every level of the organization to prosper.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Today, Senator Ted O’Brien joined Alternatives for Battered Women, the Rochester and Monroe County Domestic Violence Consortium and other local elected officials in recognizing October as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
“Domestic and dating violence is a scourge that must be confronted and eliminated,” Senator O’Brien said. “Throughout their lifetimes, domestic and dating violence will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men, and many incidents continue to go unreported. We must continue to insist that such violence will not be tolerated in our community.”
“I was proud to support the Domestic and Dating Violence Housing Rights law during my time in the Monroe County Legislature, and in the State Senate, fight for
Note: Each speaker's name is linked to a short extract from their spoken remarks on YouTube.
PENFIELD, N.Y. – Today, Senator Ted O’Brien stood with women’s and health care advocates, including the non-profits Made the Same Inc., the Western New York Ovarian Cancer Project and Gilda’s Club of Rochester, to discuss the serious health risk posed to women by ovarian cancer during its National Awareness Month.
Ovarian cancer is highly treatable if caught early, but current screening methods are unreliable and early symptoms are so minor that they are often dismissed by doctors. The disease will affect roughly 1 in 70 women in their lifetimes.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Today, Senator Ted O'Brien expressed his thoughts on the continuing significance of the 9/11 attacks:
"Twelve years ago, tragedy struck the Empire State and our country. Though the physical wounds on continue to heal, that terrible day still weighs heavily on the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Senator Ted O'Brien expressed his support today for a broad range of tax relief proposals for Upstate New York detailed in Unshackle Upstate’s "New ERA" (Economical Revitalization Agenda) plan. The plan aims to energize the upstate economy and significantly relieve the tax burden on middle and working class families and small businesses.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Senator Ted O’Brien today reminded New Yorkers who currently receive the basic STAR exemption they must reapply before December 31 to continue receiving the exemption in 2014 and future years.
“The STAR exemption is one of the best tools we currently have to help protect New Yorkers from the crushing burden of property taxes,” Senator O’Brien said. “The program was being strained by inappropriate and fraudulent uses, and this reapplication process will help ensure that this program is preserved for the hundreds of thousands who rely on it for tax relief.”
The exemption is for owner-occupied primary residences with a family income less than $500,000, and exempts the first $30,000 of the home’s value from school taxes.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Today, Senator Ted O’Brien joins millions of Americans in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the delivery of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
“Dr. King's speech still captivates us today through his courage and hopeful vision for a better future for the next generations. However, the struggle for equality among many sectors of the population continues,” said Senator O’Brien.
Specialist Isaac Wieboldt recognized by O'Brien, Town Board for Hurricane Sandy heroism
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- During Hurricane Sandy, Army National Guardsman Isaac Wieboldt, 21, assisted the Island Park Fire Department in the evacuation of at least 28 people simultaneously threatened by both rising flood waters and a serious fire.
Earlier this year, he was recognized with the New York State Medal for Valor, the state's most prestigious military decoration.
Last night, Senator Ted O'Brien, Pittsford Town Supervisor Sandra Zutes and members of the Pittsford Town Council added local recognition to the many accolades Wieboldt has received.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Senator Ted O’Brien issued the following statement today, on the occasion of the 231st anniversary of the creation of the Purple Heart award by George Washington while he was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army:
“Today, on Purple Heart Day, we honor America’s bravest military servicemen and women, both past and present.
The Purple Heart is America’s oldest military decoration, established by General George Washington in 1782 to recognize exceptional examples of heroism and sacrifice among members of our armed services.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Senator Ted O’Brien was today joined by representatives of local wineries and tourism organizations to call for increased state efforts to support the growing wine and wine tourism industries in the Finger Lakes region. The Senator noted that these industries provide essential jobs and economic growth for upstate New York.
“The wine tourism industry has an enormous impact on our state economy, providing almost $4 billion a year and bringing approximately 5 million visitors a year to our communities,” Senator O’Brien said. “State government must continue its efforts to expand this industry and help these innovative companies do what they do best, grow and put New Yorkers back to work.”
Meets with community, government and health organizational leaders to discuss Hepatitis-C awareness and testing
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Today, Senator Ted O'Brien met with representatives of a coalition promoting citizen awareness of and testing for Hepatitis-C in the African-American community, striving to raise awareness and honoring the coalition for their efforts to fight this severe public health risk.
"One of my primary responsibilities as a legislator is to keep the people of New York state healthy and safe," said Senator O'Brien. "It is my honor to be involved with this effort to promote awareness and, even more importantly, testing for Hepatitis-C."