New York State farmers produce $5 billion in sales each year and our farmers in the 127th Assembly District account for a healthy portion of that revenue. The industry is made up of small independent family run farms and large collectives that are sprinkled throughout our district.
The Farm Workers Fair Labor Practices Act, passed by the New York State Legislature in April of 2019, puts our farmers at a competitive disadvantage
The legislation grants costly unemployment benefits such as collective bargaining rights, overtime pay, disability insurance and paid family leave coverage to a labor force made up largely of part time - transient employees.
The impact of this legislation is crippling to an industry already facing many economic challenges such as unfair trade practices from foreign countries and a steady decline in prices for the goods they produce.
I believe this legislation was hastily conceived and suffers from not having had the input of industry experts during deliberations prior to its passing. I stand with our farmers and believe this legislation should be repealed; or at the very least, suspended until such time that the issue can be fully vetted in an open legislative session.
Farm Bill - Farmers in Central New York make a large impact on the economy, which is why I’m joining farm operators in opposition to the 2019 Farm Bill, which among other things requires farmers to enter into collective bargaining, pay overtime and disability, and make paid family leave available as well as unemployment benefits, all to temporary workers. This legislation must be repealed.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
To create jobs, we must grow the economy and make it easy for businesses to thrive in our community. Federal and state regulations, as well as unfunded mandates, stifle economic growth and job creation. In order to bolster our district’s economic development, I will look to eliminate the burdens that inhibit private investment and strive to reduce the number of regulations to help make Upstate more competitive throughout the region, the state and across the country.
Another key ingredient to making our district attractive to new business development is to provide an educated and skilled work force. Twenty-First century jobs will require a twenty-first century skillset. I will work tirelessly to ensure that our education systems throughout the district receive adequate funding to develop state-of-the-art educational opportunities for people of all ages.
I am convinced we can do a better job holding people and processes accountable when it comes to the billions of dollars New York State distributes for economic development each year. We need to ensure state government and its officials are good stewards of your hard-earned tax dollars and every project funded must be held to the highest accounting standards and subject to state and local government audits.
Upstate needs a new voice in Albany that is not muted by political cronyism to champion small business needs and to make the 127th Assembly District more competitive and attractive to land and business development. Now, more than ever, our district needs a new voice... your voice.
Economic Development: In order to create more jobs in Upstate New York we must remove some of the obstacles businesses face when they try to expand. I will work with the State Legislature to eliminate burdens that often make it impossible to attract private investment in our communities by eliminating strangling regulations that are more hurtful than helpful.
Infrastructure: Everyone agrees that the infrastructure in Upstate New York, and certainly the 127th Assembly District, is old and in need of repair and replacement.
To be able to fund badly needed work on roads, highways, and sewer systems, I propose we allow towns to keep a few cents of every gallon of gasoline sold within their borders to help pay for this critical work. These funds would supplement money from the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, which hasn’t increased funding in several years.
Economic Development Oversight: I’m convinced we can improve oversight for the hundreds of millions of dollars the state awards annually for economic development by developing a process that will hold Albany accountable for where and when money is dispersed.
SENIORS AND VETERANS
As Cicero’s supervisor, I started a program to proactively identify seniors, veterans and the spouses of veterans in Cicero who may be eligible for state and county programs to assist them with such things as home repairs, heating costs, and meal assistance. The program exceeded our expectations and is being used as a model in other towns. I will work with all six towns in the 127th Assembly District to support similar outreach programs, to insure that our seniors’ and veterans’ needs are not overlooked, and to make sure they are aware of the programs and benefits available to them.
I’m very concerned with public safety and while I was supervisor of the town of Cicero, I made it a priority to maintain good relationships with area police agencies, including the Cicero PD.
“Law enforcement is the back bone of our safety, and I’m proud that Cicero was named the third safest town in New York State for towns with populations over 25,000, a ranking from Safewise, a company dedicated to home safety and security.
I believe one way to restore the public’s faith in state government is to establish term limits for a governor, and members of the Assembly and Senate. Presently members of the Assembly and Senate serve two-year terms, while each gubernatorial term is four years.
I propose limiting a governor to two, four-year terms, and members of the Assembly and Senate to three, two-year terms.
“Eight years in office for any governor is more than enough time to complete projects and establish programs, while six years in office for members of the Assembly and Senate allows anyone time to make a positive impact, but not turn elected office into a career.
“Additionally, I support allowing the Assembly to debate and vote separately on measures such as bail reform, and the Green Light Law, instead of lumping them into the annual state budget.”
No more hiding and rubber stamping the governor’s agenda and the agenda of downstate interest groups. I support increased transparency so voters can know if their elected representatives are doing their job.
So-called ‘state mandates’ mean that counties, towns and villages must provide something to taxpayers, but almost always these mandates come without state funding. While some mandates may be worthwhile, they inevitably mean higher property taxes for homeowners.
To stop this from happening, I will work to eliminate unfunded mandates which mean “Albany mandates, but you pay and you have no say in the matter.”
“As a former town supervisor, I know too well the damage done when a town is told to provide a benefit, but no money accompanies the directive.”
Speaking of Medicaid, the state’s Medicaid plan has a $6.2 billion dollar short fall. Do we know why? Do we audit it and look for better value for dollars spent or do we sweep it under the rug and just push the costs down to taxpayers? I’ll vote for a moratorium on unfunded mandates and for an increase in Medicaid funding until we know if we’re getting proper value for the dollars spent.
Based on my experience as Cicero town supervisor, I know we can reduce costs but improve service at the same time.