FROM THE OFFICE OF STATE SENATOR KEVIN PARKER
718-629-6401 ph 718-629-6420 fax
June 15, 2009
As events in Albany continue to unfold, I want to take this opportunity to share some thoughts as this legislative session approaches its end.
First, I believe the leadership situation will resolve itself in short order.
My Democratic colleagues are united in the desire to preserve a progressive Democratic Majority. We believe we are the party best prepared to protect core services in this economic crisis, and we know we have the best ideas for getting New Yorkers back to work.
Memories appear to be short in Albany. The Republicans want New Yorkers to forget the real mess they left for us. After 40 years of their mismanagement we inherited record deficits, systemic inefficiency and waste in government, and a crippled economy across the different regions of the state.
Under the leadership of Senator Malcolm A. Smith, Senate Democrats ran on a message of “One New York.” So far this session, we have delivered on our promise to respect and bridge our regional differences.
Since January, Senate Democrats have worked together – in the face of stiff Republican opposition – to pass an important deficit reduction package. We also enacted a budget that protects our investments in education and health care, and we utilize federal stimulus dollars to create and save jobs across the state.
Senate Democrats - in the face of virulent and vicious attacks from the Republicans during the floor debate - held together to pass historic reforms to the draconian Rockefeller drug laws.
Senate Democrats bailed out the MTA - without a single Republican vote – to protect commuters’ pockets and invest in the downstate regional economy.
I served on the Temporary Committee on Rules Reform, and we passed – again, without a single Republican vote – a series of changes to our Senate Rules that have made the Senate more transparent and fair.
The Republicans now want you to believe these results aren’t enough. After hindering our transition, the Republicans attack our management, and complain as though 40 years of their failure should be ignored.
The Republicans would have you believe the historic change in Albany and Washington is a mirage.
They somehow believe their failed ideology, policies and management should prevail, even though voters across New York voted them out of office, voted for us, and voted for change.
Well, we Democrats aren’t going to go without a fight. The stakes are just too high. We have gotten a lot done, but we are all anxious to get back to work and pass important legislation before this session ends.
We will continue to debate and draft meaningful reforms to school governance in New York City. Mayoral control will not end, but we will “enhance” the structure to empower parents and extract greater accountability from a system we fund.
We will continue to fight for affordable housing by working to repeal several laws that currently allow rental units to be removed from rent-regulated status, despite the affordable housing crisis in the New York City region.
We will extend the important Power for Jobs program that uses discounted power to preserve more than 300,000 jobs throughout the state –120,000 of which are located in New York City – and we will pass the Green Jobs/Green Homes program to create jobs and lower energy usage across New York.
We will continue to negotiate and will pass property tax relief for homeowners. We will continue to invest in our roads and highways. We will advance and protect the civil rights and liberties of our people, through actions such as passing the Reproductive Health Act, and enacting marriage equality for all New Yorkers.
This is important work. This is why I decided to run for the Senate, and it is why you elected me. I came to Albany on a mission to make the lives of my constituents better, and I believe the reforms and ideas we are bringing to the Senate floor will make New York safer, stronger and more just.
That is why I remain hopeful we will soon resolve the current legislative gridlock, and get back to work.
I thank you for your continued support in these interesting times. I will report back to you as events unfold.
Yours in Partnership,