Senator Rath's Intro to Albany
Last week marked my first full week in Albany. Since my election, I have been looking forward to getting to Albany and getting to work for residents of the 61st senate district and NYS.
I will be serving as the ranking member on the Local Government and Elections Committees. As an Erie County Legislator for 13 years, I feel my knowledge of county government will give me an advantage in representing the best interests of my constituents. At a time when our local governments are facing some of their biggest challenges, I am grateful to have a leadership voice on these important committees.
Monday, January 11th also marked my first Elections committee meeting and the first time I spoke on the Senate floor. I shared with my colleagues my grave concerns on proposed legislation that will directly affect residents in our community. Many of the bills were rushed to the Senate floor and will place a large fiscal burden on our already struggling local governments. Further, this legislation passed without regard to cost and administrative burden which is extremely troubling to me.
Advocacy and representation are critical in this 238th legislative session. First and foremost, we need to work to restart our local economy. I continue to hear from residents, small businesses and restaurants who are struggling like never before.
It is extremely concerning that federal assistance seems to be the only budget “fix” being offered by many NY state officials. We must offer real solutions which reduce taxes and roll back our suffocating business regulations. Faced with a 15-billion-dollar deficit, we can no longer kick the financial can down the road – which will only make these long-term issues worse.
As a State Legislature we need to provide creative solutions to rebuild our communities post-COVID. Unfortunately, many of the challenges facing our state are not new, we have seen decades of mismanagement and overspending. Our unfriendly business climate has led to dramatic outmigration. Small business needs our help, and this is why I will propose a dedicated COVID 19 small business relief fund.
Furthermore, we need to make smart investments in our roads and bridges. Upstate’s infrastructure is crumbling and our long, cold winters only exacerbates the problem. Fighting to assure that WNY receives its equal funding is extremely important for the safety and quality of life for our residents.
Now is the time to reform, rebuild and invest in our communities. It is clear that the policies of the past are not working. I am hopeful that this legislative session will produce real solutions for WNY and all New Yorkers.
WNY is strong, and we will get through this pandemic, but Albany must focus on the right priorities. There is a lot of work ahead and I look forward to sharing updates with you on your State Senate.