As I complete my second month serving the people of the 7th Senate District, I am continuously reminded that these are interesting times in New York State. There are discussions going on in Albany about subjects that are now getting the serious attention they deserve. Mandate relief, for example, is something we need to discuss in the coming months, especially in light of the likelihood that a 2 percent tax cap will be implemented.
“Street of Churches” was once the name given to Willis Avenue in Mineola. That name can soon be resumed with the new Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints and the Evangelist Church of Grace joining Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church and Temple Beth Sholm Chabad. Some may remember the Episcopal Church and the long-gone Methodist Church.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to link state funding with student achievement and administrative efficiencies may have garnered initial criticism from some educators, but a recent poll from the New York State School Boards Association shows school board members may be warming to the idea.
It’s been an historic week in Albany from the perspective that our state government is at last bringing tax relief to our residents. I was pleased to have voted along with my colleagues on a 2 percent tax cap to be imposed on local government. This will help to ensure that our residents will not be saddled with heavy tax increases that will drive them from their homes. The taxpayers have clearly spoken and we are listening.
“Brooklyn?” “Yes, of course I know Brooklyn,” said Pope John Paul II when he met Msgr. Robert Coyle, pastor of Corpus Christi Church. The Pope asked Coyle where he was from and he said Long Island. The Pope looked blank until our pastor said it’s near Brooklyn. The occasion was when Msgr. Coyle was talking about the hopeful Sainthood for the late Pope and told us of his first meeting with the Holy Father.
My first month in office has been both exciting and challenging – mirroring the times we face in our daily lives. I have had the opportunity to meet with community leaders in all corners of our great district as I have visited schools, fire departments, villages and various community groups to listen to the concerns in each and discuss how we can address the challenges ahead.
Senator Jack M. Martins (R-Mineola) announced that he has been appointed to chair the committee on Local Governments by New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R,C,I-Rockville Centre).
Eight years ago, when you honored me by first electing me to the Mineola Board of Trustees, I made a promise. That promise was to always make the tough decisions based on what was best for my home village, Mineola. Today I made what was perhaps the toughest decision of my career. I will be running for office this March, but I will not be running for the office of mayor. Instead I will ask you to return me to the office of trustee in the village of Mineola.
Circumstances and responsibilities in my professional life preclude me from carrying out the duties of mayor to the level that I would demand of myself. I have vetted a candidate who can, in my opinion, carry out the duties of mayor to the standards I believe are necessary. He has sworn to carry on the legacy that Jack Martins, Steve Franzini and I started almost a decade ago; a legacy of open government, fiscal responsibility and a government by and for the residents of Mineola.
I will be there to make sure he fulfills his oath.
I have no doubt that in a brief four years, I will ask you to return me to the office of mayor. In the mean time, I ask that you return me to the Mineola Board of Trustees so that I may continue the work that needs to be done to secure Mineola’s future for us and our seniors and our children.
On Tuesday, Jan. 4, I was sworn in as your New York State Senator. It was quite a journey getting here. While Election Day was Nov. 2, this race was close enough that it took more than four weeks of careful hand-counting, overseen by our courts, to arrive at my election win. Now, I am thrilled and honored to finally begin the work of the Seventh Senate District.
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