Issues and Ideas
INCREASINg ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES: We must focus on new and innovative ways to bring opportunities for good paying, long term jobs to upstate New York.
Investments in green energy, sustainable housing infrastructure, training and transportation will help to keep our rural communities vibrant and competitive, while preserving our most valuable natural resources like clean water. Investments in Community College and BOCES programs are critical for training people for the jobs that exist today. Making sure that every county in our district has a robust community college program and empowering partnerships that involve local employers so that we can offer the skills and vocational training that match employment needs. Creating incentives and partnerships with small businesses will help them compete with big box stores and encourage local entrepreneurs to grow the economy. Addressing the reduced minimum wage for wait staff, which disproportionately impacts women, would help empower local workers and put more money into the local economy.
I will also work to secure state funding to help small town general stores stay in business and continue to serve their communities while acting as regional food hubs for distribution of local agricultural products.
But none of this will matter if we don’t provide basic tools we need to compete in the 21st century, like universal access to high-speed internet and cell phone service. That’s why I will fight to bring leapfrog technologies that provide universal access and end monopolies that allow providers to cherry-pick their customers.
Health Care: We must provide better health care to all New Yorkers, and we can do just that AND save money by moving to a single-payer system.
No one should ever fear a doctor visit because of the potential cost, and no one should ever have to choose between filling their prescriptions and feeding their families. A single-payer system that includes long term health care, prescription coverage, dental care and mental health care will provide better care while reducing costs for individuals and businesses, and removing tax burdens on counties. It will also ensure that women's comprehensive health services are available and affordable throughout the state. A recent RAND study on the New York Health Act shows that it will not only save money, but it will create an estimated 150,000 new jobs. It will also alleviate the Medicaid tax burden on counties, freeing up tens of millions of dollars from county budgets. But it’s critical that geographic access issues for small towns and rural communities are taken into account when we are developing comprehensive health care systems. I support expanding rural health centers and school-based health systems so that everyone truly has access to the health services that they need.
A single-payer system makes the most sense. It provides better outcomes, saves money and creates jobs.
OPIOID ADDICTION: We must treat drug addiction as a public health issue and not a criminal matter.
We cannot jail our way out of the opioid crisis. Opioid deaths are continuing to rise in many parts of the district and places like Sullivan and Orange Counties have been particularly hard hit. I recently underwent training to administer Narcan in Montgomery through a program run by the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan. We need more programs like that to help save lives. There are some great models that we can replicate throughout the state—like the Chatham Cares program through the Chatham Police Department, which ensures that anyone seeking treatment can come to the police station, where they will get the help they need. Organizations like this save lives. Our regional addiction and recovery services need the resources to treat opioid addiction as a health crisis. A single-payer health care system in New York will also end the cruel practice of requiring 24 hours of decompensating (withdrawal) before someone is admitted to a facility. How will we pay for this? We know that pharmaceutical companies knowingly created the opioid crisis. They must be held accountable and bear the expense.
We know that addiction is a mental health issue, and we know that recovery services work. Let’s make sure that we are treating the underlying issues and empowering recovery.
LABOR: A strong labor movement is essential for creating a strong middle class and raising wages for all workers—union and nonunion alike. That’s why I am honored to have won the endorsements of NYSUT and UAW Region 9A.
Labor is under attack at the federal level, between the Janus decision and so-called right-to-work legislation; we must fight back and keep New York a strong union state. We need only look at Wisconsin for a snapshot of what happens when labor is undermined—wages and quality of life decrease for everyone. While New York is still a strong union state, labor is relentlessly under attack, from so-called school choice to attempts to undermine apprentice programs to the circumvention of prevailing wage and project labor agreements.
I will fight to strengthen organized labor in New York and I will stand with those who are organizing. Fortifying worker rights will help make New York economically strong and make sure that we all benefit from economic expansion.
ENVIRONMENT: Not only can we have strong economic growth while protecting the environment, but those two things go hand in hand.
We do not have to choose between economic growth and protecting the environment; we can have both. Green energy jobs are created 12 times faster, pay an average of $5000 more, and create local employment that cannot be exported. In many parts of the district, clean air and pristine water are our greatest natural resources, and they empower key economic drivers, from farming to tourism. Protecting these assets makes economic sense. Fossil fuels are not being produced in New York State. All the fossil fuels we use are imported from elsewhere. We should focus our infrastructure development and spending on green energy that both comes from and powers New York.
Green energy and environmental stewardship create economic growth and are investments that pay off in both the short term and the long term.
EDUCATION: First-class public education is the cornerstone of our communities and our economic future. We must make sure that small towns and rural communities are not left behind.
Our public schools are anchors of the community and a promise made to future generations. We must ensure that our teachers and school systems have the resources that they need to thrive. That’s why I am honored to have been endorsed by NYSUT, the teacher’s union. We need to look at how school systems are funded, and we must fight to make sure that every system is able to excel, regardless of zip code. We also must make sure that we protect and expand the Universal Pre-K Program in New York, as well as funding for public schools. In small towns and rural areas, we cannot afford to have resources drained from our school systems. That’s why I oppose vouchers and charter schools. I also support making sure that anyone who wants to attend college can afford to do so, as well as removing the stigma for those who prefer to enter into an apprentice program or trade school.
I will fight for the resources and support that public schools and teachers need to thrive. Every child and young person deserves access to a high-quality education.
VOTING: Modernizing New York’s voting is a top priority. It will expand voter access while saving money.
New York must modernize its voting. We need to implement automatic voter registration, early voting, and easy access to mail-in ballots, and we need to consolidate elections so that we can save money and make voting easier. We should also reevaluate the onerous process for changing parties in New York. Every eligible voter should have every opportunity to participate.
Democracy thrives with participation. The people of New York deserve a high-participation state!
Working within the Majority: We need strong voices advocating for small towns and rural areas
We need to make sure that our communities have a seat at the table when important legislation is being decided and when resources are being allocated. For too long, our areas have been under-represented in the majority party in Albany and, as a result, have been under-served. I plan to change that. I will make sure that our issues are understood and addressed, and I will fight to make sure that our needs are prioritized.
We can get more done and bring more resources back to the district by working within the majority.