- Protecting our Communities from Gun Violence
- Protecting Taxpayers Hit by the Trump Tax Plan
- Fighting Corrupt Politicians
- Fighting for Our Schools
- Defending Reproductive Rights
- Child Victims Act
- Combating Sexual Harassment
- Ending the Opioid Epidemic
- NY Health Act
Protecting our Communities from Gun Violence
In the last two decades, far too many communities have become household names for the worst of reasons. There have been too many to list, and too often nothing is done by lawmakers in the aftermath. New York took a good step with the SAFE Act, but there’s more to do. We need to ban bump stock devices that turn ordinary guns into weapons capable of mass murder, establish Extreme Risk Protection Orders to keep guns away from people who are a danger to themselves and others, and extend the background check waiting period from 3 to 10 days so we know exactly who is purchasing guns. We need action, not just thoughts and prayers, to solve the gun crisis in our country.
Protecting Taxpayers Hit by the Trump Tax Plan
Long Island already pays some of the highest property taxes in the Country, but the Trump Tax Plan is going to make our tax burden even worse. The new cap on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions is going to affect more than 300,000 Long Island families by effectively adding a tax on our taxes. By failing to address the need for regional costs factors when writing the tax plain, Washington ignored the realities that the taxes for areas like Long Island are much higher than the rest of the country. Purposefully or not, the Trump administrations actions will create an untenable tax burden for the middle class in New York.
Long Island is already funding more than its fair share with what we send to Albany and Washington. Our state was already sending more than $40 Billion in tax dollars to D.C than we are receiving in return. When elected, I’ll fight for Long Island’s fair share, and to stop disastrous proposals like the Trump Tax Plan that do nothing to help our middle class.
Fighting Corrupt Politicians
Here in New York – especially on Long Island – too many politicians have abused the public’s trust and brought disgrace to our government. After watching the corruption trials of legislative leaders like Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver, and local officials like Ed Mangano and John Venditto, we can’t allow Albany to continue to do nothing to clean up our political system. We need to start passing real reforms that can root out corruption at every level.
Albany’s response has been silence.
As your state senator, I will vote for every single piece of legislation that punishes corrupt politicians and makes it harder for them to abuse their power. In the instances of Skelos and Silver, simple remedies could have prevented, or at least hindered, their crimes, measures that the State Senate refused to move on, including:
- Banning all outside income for legislators
- Closing the LLC loophole that shields big donors behind anonymous shell corporations
- Requiring legislators to disclose any personal business dealings that could affect their vote
Banning the Use of Campaign Contributions for Personal Expenses
Before it was prematurely shut down, the 2015 Moreland Commission on Public Corruption found repeated instances of elected officials misusing campaign funds for personal purposes. Such practices create an environment that celebrates the pay-to-play culture that has ruined Albany. When politically-connected donors can literally pay for a Senator’s cars and plane tickets (purchased under the guise of “campaign expenses”), it creates the expectation of official acts in return. We need to ban the use of campaign funds for personal expenses like car payments.
Recalling Elected Officials
When elected officials engage in corrupt behaviors that undermines a municipality’s finances, action must be taken before they can cause further damage. If a municipality’s bond rating were lowered to ‘junk status’ due to reasons directly linked to corrupt actions undertaken by elected officials, residents would be able to petition for a recall of those leaders.
Ending Pay-to-Play by Eliminating the Influence of Big Money
I believe that money and special interests have too much power in our government. Every campaign season one or two bad apples decide to donate enormous amounts of money into the local electoral cycle.
This is why I support closing the LLC loophole. The LLC loophole allows corporations and special interest groups to anonymously donate multiple times limited liability corporations, skirting the intent of campaign finance laws. When these groups can provide limitless funding, it's no surprise that their influence on elected officials grows beyond that of the average constituent and eventually emboldens the corrupt to govern on a pay-to-play basis.
If we don’t get the money out of Albany we will never get the honest government and results Long Island needs.
Fighting for Our Schools
Adequate funding for public schools
Our greatest responsibility is to our children and ensuring each and every one of them is provided a quality education. We must ensure that public schools which are responsible for educating every single child in our community are adequately funded.
Everyone wants to set high academic standards for our children; they deserve the best and it is our responsibility to provide it. Parents and teachers are on the front-lines of our children’s education. They should be a part of the State’s development process not excluded from it. Career politicians in Albany are not educators or experts in the field of education, yet they want to dictate every aspect of the classroom, assume every child learns the same way, and demand that more time be spent on testing than teaching.
We need to go back to the drawing board, but this time we need to listen to our teachers, our parents, and our children about what works, what doesn’t and how we can give our next generation the education they deserve. Together, we can achieve excellence in our schools; we owe our children nothing less.
For years, Albany has underfunded our public school system. To make things worse, the Senate Republicans are redirecting educational funds away from public schools and into the hands of private charter schools that do not have to operate under the same rules.
Our children deserve the best education possible. All of them. State tax dollars should be spent on public school education – not for-profit charter schools.
In 2015, lawmakers in Albany established a law to subject teachers to Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPRs) that would be directly tied to their students test scores on state-mandated exams.
While perhaps well–intentioned, these performance ratings have caused more harm than good. They force teachers and administrators to spend more time “teaching to the test” than actually educating our children. When test scores are used punish teachers and force schools into receivership, educators are left without much of a choice.
We need to get back to helping educators teach our children in an environment that promotes learning, not testing. By allowing teachers to teach, we can foster innovation in our classrooms and develop real growth.
Defending Reproductive Rights
Now more than ever, we need to codify a women’s right to choose here in New York. With the election of Donald Trump and Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, Washington is closer than ever to stripping away the protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. The current laws on the books predate that landmark decision, and a sweeping mandate from Washington could potentially strip away the ability of women to make their own reproductive health decisions. I would proudly support and co-sponsor The Reproductive Health Act if elected.
Child Victims Act
It’s unacceptable and sickening that the Senate Republicans refuse to move on the Child Victims Act that would provide justice for those who survived sexual abuse as children. Year after year, the bill has passed in the Assembly only to die in the Senate. By protecting these predators from any liability once the statute of limitations passes to press charges, the Republican Majority denies survivors of childhood abuse of the justice, healing and recognition of the trauma they endured. For the those who survived the unimaginable, Albany needs to act now.
Combating Sexual Harassment
In the past year, we witnessed tremendous acts of bravery across the United States through the rapid spread of the #MeToo Movement. Women are standing up and calling out the widespread and systemic instances of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and inequality that exists in our society.
As your State Senator I will be a strong ally in the fight for equality and anti-retaliation protections for those who speak out. We must amend the law to codify sexual harassment as an unlawful discriminatory practice and end the practice of requiring people to sign away their rights as a condition of employment.
Ending the Opioid Epidemic
The opioid crisis is one of the most dangerous problems affecting Long Island and no community has been left untouched by its devastating reach. 20 years ago, I led the charge against the spread of crack cocaine in Suffolk County, today’s battle against opioids is all too familiar. We need to take a multi-pronged approach that focuses both on prevention and rehabilitation. We need to take action against those who help to spread these drugs in our communities, while also working with parents and community organizations to help identify the signs of opiate use and assist those affected with finding treatment for their addictions.
NY Health Act
The state senate needs to pass the New York Health Act to ensure that every New Yorker has access to affordable, comprehensive insurance. It’s past time that we join the rest of the developed world and recognize that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
As the Federal Government continues its assault on access to affordable health care, we must act now to ensure New Yorkers lives aren’t destroyed by insurmountable costs families face when a loved one becomes ill. It is morally reprehensible that medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in America. We must act to make sure all New Yorkers get the health care they deserve.
By providing an affordable and portable health care option to New Yorkers, we can help small business owners with lowering the overhead costs of providing coverage and provide property tax relief by allowing school districts and municipalities to save on their insurance costs as well.