The 64th district faces some unique public health concerns when it comes to our current opioid crisis, and transportation issues. I plan to tackle these issues head on, along with supporting our local unions, teachers, veterans, and small businesses. Understanding how these issues connect can help raise awareness, while bringing together allies within our community so that together we can all thrive.
No borough in New York City has been hit harder than Staten Island by the wave of opioid related overdoses, and deaths which stem from the abuse of prescription pain medication. This crisis has also affected many veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other service connected injuries. I will work to ensure that we can provide as many opportunities as possible for training of civilians to become first responders to aid police departments and EMT’s equipped with Narcan. I also intend to look into measures to decrease response time in these situations. It is a moral imperative that we take the steps necessary in this health crisis proactively.
At this time many Staten Islanders have a four hour combined commute daily to and from work. By working with both city and federal officials, along with the state legislature I will fight to bring another ferry to the island and work toward bringing in an ultra light rail pilot program. Both of these would greatly cut transportation times and alleviate traffic conditions for those seeking to drive to work.
Disability rights compound with our current transportation issues that so desperately need to be addressed. As the greatest city in the world we have no excuse to get out of providing the services needed for those with disabilities to access our tax-payer funded mass transit. At this time only 22% of our subways are ADA compliant. I will not attach my name to any legislation funding subway beautification plans without the inclusion of a means to give access to those with disabilities.
Healthcare is a human and civil right and as a society it is a moral imperative that we move toward universal access for all New Yorkers. I will fully support the passage of the NY Health Act (A.4738). This legislation when passed will improve access, cost, equity, and safety as we move towards a state level single payer healthcare system.
As your Assemblyman I will support unions as they fight for fair wages, education benefits for their children, and pension benefits. I will stand against “right to work” legislation intended to strip the rights of unions to collectively bargain and fight for their members.
Our teachers deserve the autonomy needed to adequately educate the next generation of New Yorkers. I will fight against the high stakes testing our teachers, students, and schools are subjected to. I will be supporting the passage of the DREAM Act (A.4311) so that immigrant students have access to a quality education. This will be achieved through the elimination of barriers they encounter when looking to start a college tuition savings account.
As a partially disabled veteran of the US Navy I am well versed on the issues our returning military service-members deal with when reintegrating into the civilian world. When I received the information I needed to access my earned benefits I did so by utilizing help from fellow veterans. I would look to do the same for other veterans returning home. While this information is available, tracking it down and following through the process can be more difficult than it may seem. I will bring this experience with me to the district and will ensure that those who served are always taken care of.
A major plank of the American dream includes business ownership. When I am elected I will fight against the corrupting influence of land developers who look to push out small businesses through exorbitant rent increases. I will also come together with local business to bring street fairs similar to those in Bay Ridge to the East Shore. By creating street fairs families and others will be able to experience the best our district has to offer.
I recognize the corrupting influence of money in politics. With this in mind I will support legislation to amend the Constitution and address campaign finance reform (A.7176). Working towards a system where elected officials work to please their voters instead of corporate donors is a must. The Citizens United Supreme Court case that opened the flood gates of campaign donations is a federal issue. However, this legislation will provide an opportunity to work towards addressing this on a state level.
This is not only an issue of personal freedom, but it is an economic issue. In other states that have legalized cannabis for adult use they are raking in hundreds of millions in tax revenue, which in our state could go towards any number of important issues. We can either join the movement and reap the benefits or allow other states to move forward without us. New Yorkers should be empowered to make their own decisions.
Despite major advances in civil and political rights, our state still has a long way to go in addressing the issue of gender inequality. We must stop denying women control over their own bodies, preventing access to vital medical and social services, and blocking equal pay for equal work.