Senator Stewart-Cousins outlined the Senate Democratic Conference's legislative priorities for the 2012 legislative session in a video released following Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State Address. The text of the speech is pasted below.
Text of Senate Democratic Conference's 2012 Session Message
Hello, my name is Andrea Stewart-Cousins and I represent the 35th State Senate District in Westchester County.
Last year, under the leadership of Governor Cuomo we accomplished some great things. We helped return New York to its rightful place as the progressive leader of the United States. While Washington was stuck in partisan gridlock and dysfunction, Albany produced results.Together, we showed the nation that New Yorkers believe all people are created equal and passed marriage equality.
We enacted a more equitable tax code that lifts up working class New Yorkers and ensures the wealthy pay more of a fair share.
During the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, we passed a bold and innovative economic plan that will create jobs, strengthen our economy, and reduce unemployment in struggling communities.
We made it clear that Government must be about working for our citizens, not political posturing, empty rhetoric and broken promises.
While we accomplished some great things last year we still have much work to do.
Back in my district, from the towns of Mount Pleasant and Greenburg to the streets of the city of Yonkers people want economic growth and healthy businesses creating jobs and opportunity. As President Bill Clinton once stated “We cannot repair the basic fabric of society until people who are willing to work have work.”As we enter this new year, we Democrats look forward to ensuring that all New Yorkers have an opportunity and that all New Yorkers are protected.
We will continue to stand up for the working women and men of New York who are struggling, not just the 1%.
We will put New York back to work and continue on the path of economic recovery.
As Governor Cuomo has said our essential job is to facilitate, not frustrate, job development.
This year Democrats will say:
YES to a government that can balance its check book fairly and NO to massive deficits caused by giveaways to those who need them least.
Yes to Mandate Relief for our local municipalities and school districts, and No to placing an unfair burden on taxpayers.
Yes to smart investment in our education system starting from Pre-K, and NO to an unfair funding formula that doesn’t address the districts with the highest needs. We must put our children above petty political games.
Yes to higher education and increased opportunities for all New Yorkers including our immigrant community.
YES to safeguarding the air we breathe and the water we drink and NO to corporate giveaways for the worst polluters
YES to protect a woman’s right to choose and NO to a conservative assault on equal rights for all.
YES to creating affordable health and NO to silly partisan delays and inaction.
YES to protecting the men and women of law enforcement by enacting common sense gun control legislation.
YES to smart investments in infrastructure –roads and bridges and schools--to put thousands of New Yorkers back to work and prepare the Empire State for its strong future.
A resounding Yes to supporting Governor Cuomo’s fight to restore people’s faith in our state government by creating a more efficient and accountable government.
YES to reform and NO to back room politics.
We all must honor our pledge and immediately pass independent redistricting so the people decide who represents them, not the other way around.
Together we can make good on the promise and unequaled potential of a progressive New York State .
Thank you and God Bless You.