It is critical that we continue to assist our Veterans who have served our country and continue the fight against veteran homelessness and effective job placement. We need to continue to support veterans in finding meaningful and well-paid work, including tax credits for small businesses that hire veterans and the Veterans Employment Act. My goal remains to include all veteran-owned businesses as part of the minority owned & women-owned business (MWBEs) category, giving greater access to all veteran-owned businesses across upstate New York
Combating the Heroin/Opioid Crisis
This is by far the fastest growing crisis across New York State. Addiction can happen to anyone, any family, at any time. As a practicing pharmacist, I know firsthand the challenges individuals face with prescription opiate abuse and street heroin abuse. This is a priority of mine and I have been pleased to have sponsored legislation that was signed into law that provides treatment for opioid addiction. The bill authorizes the creation of a demonstration program with the goal to divert those who do not need in-hospital treatment to more appropriate services and facilities for detox. This will reduce emergency room costs, provide alternative short-term care, and test the effectiveness of new approaches to treatment options. I continue to sponsor and support legislation to address other longstanding issues including insurance reforms to improve treatment options for individuals suffering from addiction, measures to increase penalties on those who sell or provide opiates or heroin illegally, provisions to provide naloxone, which is an overdose antidote, to those who need it, and a public awareness campaign to further educate and share the message to prevent drug abuse.
Advocate for Financial Security for Seniors, Especially as Property Taxes Swallow Up Family Incomes Threatening the American Dream
I am committed to working to ensure the financial security of our seniors. Whether it is property taxes, health care costs or elder care, we need to protect our seniors on all fronts as they have paid their dues during their time in the workplace and deserve the best in their "Golden Years".
Create Secure and Sustainable Middle Class Jobs
With the arrival of Global Foundries, continued growth of SUNY Nanotech, RPI Tech Park, and SUNY Albany East, we have the proper elements in place to provide a pipeline for tomorrow's jobs. Additionally, we are fortunate to have 18 universities in our immediate area allowing the opportunity for many of our underprivileged to acquire an affordable college education. These educational opportunities will lead to future economic prosperity for them and their families.
Reduce the Senseless Rules and Regulations That Burden Business Causing Unnecessary Work, Extra Costs and Liability
Government can do good deeds but at times, it's "one size fits all" approach can be unfair to businesses of all shapes, types and sizes. While regulations need to be in place to curb abuse and misconduct, those who enforce these rules need to keep in mind that businesses are what make our economy prosper. Therefore, if we want a strong economy in New York, we need to make sure we do not burden our businesses with nonsensical rules and regulations.
Stop the Unfunded Mandates that Continue to Drown Local Governments and Negatively Impact Taxpayers, Residents and Workforces
As past President of the New York State Conference of Mayors, I know first hand the burden of unfunded mandates on local governments and school districts. I believe that if the State of New York wants to start an effort or make a change to benefits, then New York State should find a way to pay for it. The continued shifting of the tax burden onto local governments impacts our workforce and property taxes. This process must end.
Address the Statewide Imbalance of Education Funding
For too long, upstate taxpayers have unfairly struggled with the costs of education as opposed to our downstate neighbors. Comparison after comparison demonstrates that upstate needs the support to provide a good quality education. It is my intent to fight to make sure education aid is distributed fairly and proportionately. Having been married to a teacher for almost two decades and being closely involved with the Cohoes City School District, I am understand what goes on inside and outside the classroom. It is incumbent upon all of us to provide the resources to help our youth reach their maximum potential in our education system.
Revitalizing our Neighborhoods and Business Districts by Attracting and Retaining Businesses
New York State thrives on the success of its neighborhoods and its business districts, particularly small business which is the backbone of our communities. We need to continue to expand neighborhood stabilization programs and encourage home ownership in our neighborhoods. Additionally, we need to expand programs such as the New York Main Street Program to include funding support for those who want to start a business. This will lead to expansion of our tax base and revitalization of our historic downtowns and neighborhood retail districts.
Provide Quality Housing Opportunities
We have been successful in providing quality housing options for people of all ages. We need to continue to advocate for and expand upon programs that promote owner occupied housing, safety issue remediation, and energy efficiency.
Protecting and Expanding the Rights of Women
I understand how important it is to protect women’s rights. I value a woman’s right to choose and believe reproductive health is a private issue between a woman and her doctor. At our family pharmacy, I’ve made sure that women have access to pre-natal and pregnancy care, as well as, the full range of contraception—including emergency contraception. It is essential for women to get equal pay for equal work and we must do all we can as a community and a society to stop violence against women.
Be an Agent of Change in the Fragile Health Care Environment
Health care continues to be the number one concern of those who have it and those who do not. The costs of health care continue to increase as advancements in care have extended life spans and in most cases, added to the quality of life to those who have insurance. I believe government needs to determine what level of support it will bring to the table in this discussion and establish the rules and regulations that health plans need to follow in order to provide quality care to our residents. At the same time, we need to have a common sense approach to treatment regimens and strive for the most cost effective remedy without sacrificing safety or care. As a practicing pharmacist, I have seen first hand the good that government sponsored plans can do and I have seen the bad as well. My experience is important as we move into the next stage of the health care arena. As Health Insurance Exchanges become a reality, we need to have a common sense approach to what is sure to be a controversial effort.