The Remarks Of Speaker Sheldon Silver

Asian Pacific American Legislative Day

The Well Of The Legislative Office Building
Wednesday, May 7, 2012 [12 pm]

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (holding banner, fourth from the left) joins Assemblyperson Grace Meng (on Silver's left) for the Asian Pacific American Legislative Advocacy Day. Silver thanked the advocates for traveling to Albany to represent the interests of New York's Asian Pacific American community. The Speaker also commended Meng for being an "influential advocate" at the Capitol for fairness and equality, children and families, seniors and small business owners.

Also participating in the event were (from left, holding banner) Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz; Assemblyman Alan Maisel's intern; Assemblymember Maisel; Suki Tejada Ports, Family Health Project; Joyce Moy, Asian American/Asian Research Business Institute; and Wayne Ho, Coalition for Asian American Children & Families.

Good afternoon.

Assembly Member Grace Meng. Joyce Moy. Wayne Ho. Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome to our third annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration. We are delighted that you are here with us today.

Here in the State of New York and especially in our government, we honor our immigrant heritage and we celebrate our cultural diversity. We know that moving our state and our nation toward lasting security, justice and prosperity for all citizens requires that we embrace and employ the ideas, the energy, the values and the work ethic of the Asian Pacific community and every community.

Let me take a moment to acknowledge the bright and charismatic young leader who is primarily responsible for bringing about this special celebration. Assembly Member Grace Meng of Flushing, Queens is the youngest Asian American New Yorker ever elected to serve in our State Legislature, and the only Asian American serving in this Legislature today.

In her short time in state government, Assembly Member Meng has distinguished herself as a true "bridge builder." Grace is an influential advocate for fairness and equality and a widely respected champion of children and families, women and seniors, as well as small business owners. In fact, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Grace Meng to his Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Team.

I know I speak for all of our colleagues in the Assembly who are gathered here today when I say, you could not have a better representative in our state government than you have in Assembly Member Grace Meng.

Let me also express my appreciation to all of the sponsors of this Asian Pacific American Legislative Advocacy Day:

As some you know, I am Speaker of the Assembly, but I am also the assemblyman who represents much of Lower Manhattan, which includes Chinatown.

To the Chinese American Planning Council, the Henry Street Settlement, and the Asian Americans for Equality, let me say how delighted I am to have friends and neighbors from my hometown here with us today.

What we work together to accomplish in Lower Manhattan, Grace Meng and I and all of our Assembly Majority colleagues are striving to realize here in Albany and across our state every day.

We have introduced legislation to increase the minimum wage, because no one who works a full-time, 35-hour week should end up being poor.

We also believe that all New Yorkers should have the same access to our government and the same access to our health and education systems, no matter their ethnicity or the language they speak.

This is what Democracy is all about and achieving the "ideal" requires that we work together to educate and to advocate.

So again, I thank all of you for being here and for representing all of the members of the New York’s Asian Pacific American community who could not be here today to speak for themselves.

Please make the most of this day in Albany that you have and know that you have real friends in the New York State Legislature. We are here to work for you.

Thank you. Enjoy the day.