“As the 2022 legislative session begins, there’s much to be done if we’re finally going to get New York State, and upstate in particular, heading in the right direction. While I agree with aspects of Governor Hochul’s agenda and look forward to working with her on those items, she also failed to address other important issues we face.
“We have to get the spread of coronavirus under control. After the disruptions and setbacks it’s brought to our education system, we have to ensure schools are able to continue in-person learning. Our health care system is greatly distressed and there is the staffing crisis facing our hospitals, nursing homes and home health care providers. The governor’s acknowledgement of the need to take action is a welcome first step to addressing this serious issue.
“When it comes to public safety, I was disappointed that Governor Hochul failed to address the need to repeal bail reform, especially given its proven negative impact on our communities. The statistics show that bail reform has contributed to the rise in violent crime across our state, and I urge the governor to commit to reining in bail reform and providing law enforcement the resources it needs to protect our neighborhoods and keep families safe.
“I was impressed the governor acknowledged that 300,000 New Yorkers have left our state for opportunities elsewhere, and it’s a welcome sign that she will take the long-needed plan for upstate economic development seriously. I was pleased by the governor’s proposal of $100 million in small business relief and locally, her support for ORDA will be vital. In addition, we must reduce taxes, fees and burdens on new and existing businesses and invest in workforce development and skills-based training to help residents find and obtain a good-paying career.
“Some of the governor’s plans would make a positive impact on our quality of life. I welcome her commitment to issues I’ve long advocated for: responsibly promoting the Adirondacks and increasing funding to the Joseph P. Dwyer Program for veterans. Her proposal to finally make broadband accessible statewide is welcome, but I do believe she ought to eliminate the fiber optic tax that’s delayed and driven up the costs of completing this project. In addition, I encourage Governor Hochul to take on the need for better affordable housing options and push for tax relief on everyday goods and services.
“This year is shaping up to be one of the busiest ever. I look forward to working with the governor and my colleagues in the Legislature to make our state safer and more vibrant for this and future generations.”