Elmira, N.Y., January 7—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) has received several key committee assignments at the start of the 2021 legislative session that will give him a prominent place at the table in this year’s deliberations over the future direction of state fiscal policies as well as in the areas of criminal justice and law enforcement, energy and broadband development, regulatory reform, and government investigations and oversight.
“It’s a full plate and Senate Republicans are fighting uphill in a state government squarely under one-party, downstate Democratic control. But these assignments place my focus squarely at the center of several of the most challenging and critical debates over the future direction of our state. I look forward to being a point person and a voice for the Senate Republican Conference as we focus on the policies that we believe would most effectively represent the best interests of taxpayers, workers, small business owners, manufacturers, farmers, schools, law enforcement, and all of the other foundations of the local communities we represent,” said O’Mara.
O’Mara was recently named by Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt as the top Republican member on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, the Senate committee most responsible for overseeing the adoption of the state’s annual budget and setting the course for New York’s short- and long-term fiscal practices and responsibilities. Throughout his Senate service, O’Mara has been a strong voice in the State Legislature for more responsible and effective state fiscal practices. He has consistently pointed to high taxes, unrestrained spending, unfunded mandates, and overregulation as key obstacles to sustained economic growth and job creation throughout the Upstate region.
O’Mara said, “We need to keep working against a New York State tax and regulatory climate that puts our businesses and manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage, imposes red tape that strangles local economies, or prioritizes higher and higher spending, overtaxing, outrageous mandates, and burdensome overregulation.”
O’Mara has also been reappointed as the Ranking Member on the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee. He was first named as the top Republican member on the Investigations Committee last July, as the Senate and Assembly were preparing to begin public hearings in August on the COVID-19 nursing home crisis. Significant questions have been raised by O’Mara and many others over the Cuomo administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York State’s nursing homes, assisted living, and long-term care facilities.
O’Mara said that he will urge the Investigations Committee to continue to push for answers from the Cuomo administration on exactly how many nursing home residents have died from COVID-19, what role state policies played in the crisis, and what steps need to be taken to ensure better protection and safety.
The future of state energy policies will remain under the spotlight in 2021 and O’Mara will serve as a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications. O’Mara noted that the committee also plays a prominent role in the development of legislation and initiatives to advance broadband expansion, an issue that he has long advocated as critical to the future of Upstate, rural regions.
Additionally, O’Mara has earned appointments to two of the key committees governing the areas of criminal justice and law enforcement, the Codes Committee and the Judiciary Committee.
“From misguided bail and parole reform to an ever-growing ‘defund the police’ movement, we have seen over the past two years this Legislature move in directions that many of us believe pose a serious danger to public safety and security throughout New York State,” O’Mara said. “New York State has become less safe and we need to keep working against anti-law enforcement policies, stand behind our police officers, and resist radical efforts that threaten the safety and stability of our communities and neighborhoods.”
O’Mara’s other Senate committee assignments include posts on the Insurance Committee and the Rules Committee.