Senator Kennedy's guest column originally published in the Bee Newspapers, February 24, 2011
By: N.Y. State Senator Timothy M. Kennedy
During my first two months on the job, we’ve sent an important message to Albany – Western New York can no longer be ignored. I’ve been fighting to make sure Western New Yorkers are heard in the State Capitol by advocating for the issues most important to us – more jobs, lower taxes and a government more responsive to the people. The process of making our voices heard statewide has always started here at home when I hear from you, when you share your concerns and ideas.
That’s why my office has launched our new mobile constituent-services program, “Senator on Your Street” – to make it easier for the hardworking men and women of Western New York to directly access our office to ask questions, voice concerns and seek any help they may need with state agencies.
The first four “Senator on Your Street” events that we’ve held have been extremely successful. The experience has reinforced what I learned during our campaign – that communities like Cheektowaga, West Seneca and Hamburg are hungry for change. They’re sick of emptying their wallets to pay out-of-control taxes. They’re tired of seeing their children leave the area in search of jobs and opportunities, and they are annoyed upon seeing politician after politician dragged out of office amid a cloud of scandal.
As a public servant, I believe one of my chief responsibilities is to listen. You can’t lead without listening. When you share your concerns with me, I take them seriously, and I do my best to act on your concerns in the State Capitol. The Western New York agenda that I have been pushing forward is a reflection of what I’ve heard directly from Western New Yorkers at neighborhood events, at community centers or at their front doorsteps.
While we have made some progress, there is still much work to be done. We’ve taken some initial steps toward reigning in our state’s high taxes and spending by passing a property tax cap and state spending cap through the Senate. I also helped ensure Senate passage of a Job Creation Bill, which incentivizes businesses to grow and hire more workers. Now, more must be done to revitalize our economy and clean up the corruption and dysfunction in Albany.
There have been few occasions in our state’s history when it was more important for lawmakers to listen to the voices of the hardworking New Yorkers we represent. As we make the tough decisions to get our state’s finances back in order, the cuts must be thoughtful and deliberate. We need to listen to learn how the cuts might affect our seniors and our children, and we must prevent Albany from unfairly shifting their past failures entirely onto the backs of the most vulnerable Western New Yorkers.
As we continue to bring our office to streets and neighborhoods throughout Western New York with our “Senator on Your Street” program, I encourage you to add volume to our voice in Albany by sharing your thoughts and concerns with our office. You can email me directly at email@example.com, or write to our office at 2239 South Park Ave., Buffalo, N.Y. 14220.