“Today marks the first day of my last legislative session and it certainly is bittersweet. Words alone could not express my gratitude for the opportunity I have had to represent my constituents in Albany and am very touched that Governor Cuomo recognized my public service as part of his State of the State Address. I look forward to another productive session and getting as much done as I can on behalf of this incredible district that I am honored to represent.
“Overall, our state’s focus has to be on encouraging growth. The outmigration of New Yorkers is a trend that has to be reversed. Losing representation in Congress, as is expected following this year’s census count, is not a good thing. But that pales in comparison with the real impact of families leaving our communities and living many miles apart from loved ones because someone couldn’t afford the taxes any longer or needed to look to another state for a job opportunity.
“Here in our region, my concern is sustainability. We need more full-time residents and the jobs and economic opportunity that makes that possible. Ecological protection is important, but I really want to emphasize economic prosperity. Investments in broadband must continue and we need to expand cell service for safety and for the economy. We need to continue investing in water and sewer infrastructure, keeping our lakes and rivers clean and ensuring our schools and hospitals have the funding they need.
“Funding these and many other important projects and services will be a challenge given the $6 billion deficit. Tough decisions will need to be made. What I will fight against is any region of the State being unfairly targeted by cuts. Tough choices need to be as fair as possible. And, addressing the financial challenges we face on the State level cannot come at the expense of local governments and property taxpayers with more unfunded mandates.
“Finally, I join many of my legislative colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, as well as sheriffs, District Attorneys and many other law enforcement officials from all of the State, calling for the repeal of the so-called bail reform. Clearly, the new law isn’t working and is putting innocent people at risk. Getting rid of it and starting over with the expectation of the Legislature taking its time to get it right is what’s needed.”