The installation ceremony included a welcome from the Honorable Edward August, Deputy Mayor of the Village of Schoharie; a color guard ceremony led by local veterans and sheriffs; the singing of the National Anthem and God Bless America by Olyvia Uveges; and a prayer by Sister Joan Curley of St. Joseph’s Church as well as a benediction by Reverend Richard Hill of the Schoharie Presbyterian Church. The Assemblyman also gave a speech as well, thanking his constituents for the opportunity to serve them with a second term and outlining his 2009 legislative priorities. A copy of his remarks is attached.
Installation Speech – 1/2/09
I. Welcome & Thanks
A ) Program Participants:
1) Senator Jim Seward who has served us faithfully for 22 years as our leader in the Senate;
2) Friend and colleague, Assemblyman Jack McEneny;
3) The Honorable George Bartlett, III and Kathy Palmatier;
4) Veterans – Schoharie & Greene County Contingents:
- Ted Diamond – American Legion Post,
- Ray Brooks – VFW;
5) Law Enforcement (Sheriff Bates & Sheriff Seeley);
6) Deputy Mayor August;
7) Committees & Committee Chairs:
- Lew & Bobby Wilson, Brent Bogardus & Pam Dallas, Matt Torrey;
8) Sister Joan – My Home parish;
9) Pastor Hill – Celebrant at our wedding;
10) Our Soloist, Olyvia Uveges (Whose Grandfather, Don Uveges, was my 6th grade homeroom teacher).
B) My Family members - a number of whom are with us today - People who have and continue to nurture and sustain me:
- My Wife & Life Partner: Lisa;
- My Mother & Father: Pedro & Barbara Lopez;
- My Mother-in-law: Karen Curren;
- Uncle and Aunt: Curt & Lou Wells
The many friends, neighbors, and colleagues with us today who share a strong belief in, and give to our community in so many different ways.
Traditionally, this is the time of year where we step back to take a measure of our lives, where we have been, where we are going.
Today, I find myself exceptionally blessed. That by a miracle of birth I live in this community, this state, this nation.
I remind myself that none of us are self-made. As I look around this room, I see people who have invested in me and helped shape my growth. For their trust and support, for this and more I am profoundly thankful.
I reaffirm my belief in learning as a lifelong process: a journey where we grow every day, and through this journey acknowledge that the privilege of holding this office is not about me. Instead, it is about the good that we can do through the positions we hold.
Being of value, not simply successful individuals, as the world would define it.
I stand here today as the Assemblyman for the 127th Assembly District: A sprawling region encompassing parts of seven counties in the Mid-Hudson, Northern Catskills and Southern Tier.
I serve people in 7 counties. Many of whom have felt cut off from their communities – isolated.
My job is to represent them fully. To connect with them, to work collectively to address the issues and concerns most important to them where they live and work.
And so I work to serve each county fully: 7 chambers of commerce, 7 farm bureaus, 7 County Legislatures, 7 IDA’s…
Routinely, I travel outside the district to partner with other state, county and regional leaders: driving to Norwich, Binghamton, Cooperstown, Delhi, Oneonta, Hudson, Kingston, New Paltz, Stone Ridge and Albany; traveling over 90,000 miles in the last two years; working literally seven days a week on behalf of our families, farms and small businesses; each day, each mile necessary and worthwhile.
Now, today, we stand at the door of a new year, the ninth year of the 21st century. We acknowledge the challenges we face, knowing that our country’s continued ability to serve as the leader of the free world, as a model of democracy, hinges on our response to these challenges.
Here, we face global unrest: spiking energy prices, recessionary pressures, budget deficits, loss of manufacturing and over-reliance on foreign oil.
In New York State, we face the need to secure much-needed property tax relief, promote energy independence, a sustainable economy, jobs for our working families, affordable health care and affordable, quality education.
We also face a society that has grown more aggressive and self–absorbed: people who treat others as objects to climb over or push past, not as flesh and blood, neighbors to be lifted up and embraced as members of our extended family. Many of us look at the world through the eyes of a generation surrounded by creature comforts, of relative abundance, largely insulated from the rest of the world, untested by scarcity.
We see changes rapidly occurring across this globe – and we wonder if we can be the America of the past: the America that sees hope in the midst of adversity and works to shape a brighter future.
My belief, my conviction, is that we are that people. It is from that conviction that I rise from my bed every day to work with my neighbors to make this world a better place.
We’ve heard others speak of “weathering the storm” and take some measure of resolve in those words, as we seek to stabilize our New York state budget and economy in the here and now.
Likewise, we look to the future. As our former President Ronald Reagan once said, “While I take inspiration from the past… I live for the future.” To do so, however, requires a common thread: a vision for, and a commitment to, seeing through these challenges.
It was once said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” It was also said, however, that “A vision without a task is but a dream, a task without vision is drudgery. Yet, within vision and task united lies the hope of the world.”
My vision is to strengthen our country and state from within; to strengthen us as individuals and as a community through the power of education and applied technology; to support agriculture, small businesses and value-added manufacturing; to elevate the status of those who create opportunity and generate the jobs and prosperity that sustain us; to end our reliance on foreign oil by pursuing renewable energy production and leading in the development of innovative and efficient energy technologies.
I believe in the dreams of our forefathers who formed this great country, and in the resilience and ingenuity of the American people. Coming together as a people to fulfill the promise of America.
As Novelist Thomas Clayton Wolfe once said, “To every person their chance; to every individual, regardless of their birth, their shining, golden opportunity; to every man and woman the right to live, to work, to be themselves, and to become whatever their vision and energies can combine to make them. This is the promise of America.”
Collectively, we must: offer leadership by example; demonstrate humility and perseverance; listen more than we speak; put others first. Together, we must connect people of compassion, character and commitment. We must reinforce that individuals do matter, that the leadership we demonstrate in our homes, businesses and communities does matter.
So, at this time of reflection, I resolve to work with you to send the message that the freedoms we cherish are worth fighting for; to work tirelessly for you to make this region, state and nation a better place for you and for our children.