Being a public servant is all about helping people get the services and support they need to take care of themselves and their families. One of the best parts of my job is being able to obtain funding for a wide variety of nonprofit organizations that provide these services and enrichment. From making sure that first responders have the equipment they need, to helping fund health, recreation and education programs for elderly citizens, children and teens, to supporting arts programming, I'm proud to help so many organizations make a difference in our communities.
In addition to the millions of dollars in state grants I have secured for these groups, I have donated more than a quarter of a million dollars from my fundraisers - money that would otherwise be added to my campaign funds - to support organizations such as food pantries, Angela's House and AHRC. While this is a highly unusual way to spend these funds, it is personally important to me that I support these groups in every that I can.
The reality of life today also requires that I devote considerable time and energy to improving public safety. Foremost, I have pushed for gun safety laws for 15 years. Every year, children die because guns have been stored in homes in unsafe ways. This is a preventable tragedy, and I will continue to make gun safety a legislative priority. I have authored legislation, which has become law, prohibiting sex offenders from entering schools or child care facilities and have increased penalties on sex offenders who fail to register in their communities. I was also responsible for increasing penalties to drivers who leave the scene of an accident and for creating the crimes of aggravated vehicular assault and aggravated vehicular homicide.
As a lifelong resident of Long Beach, I cherish the beauty of the ocean and beaches. These spectacular natural resources enhance the quality of life and are a treasure for all New Yorkers that must be preserved for future generations. I'm proud to receive top marks every year when the coalition of environmental advocates rate legislators on their support of important environmental legislation. I championed the law that made funding available to dredge Jones Inlet and protect the beaches at Pt. Lookout. I was also responsible for legislation that prohibits storing or pumping of water into the pristine Lloyds Sand Aquifer, the sole source of drinking water for 10 percent of Nassau County.
It is such a thrill for me to join tens of thousands of my neighbors each year in supporting fundraisers on behalf of victims of skin cancer, breast cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The community spirit in my district is unparalleled. As an avid participant in the Polar Bear Club's winter swims, I am proud that so many of my neighbors have willingly braved the frigid waters to raise more than $1 million dollars for Make-A-Wish and other charities.
Over the years, I have secured funding for:
- Fire, rescue and police departments
- Pre- and postnatal education
- Family medicine and adolescent health services
- Youth and family counseling; youth mentoring; children's and youth services
- Music education, dance therapy
- Parks and recreation, playgrounds
- Community centers
- Flagpoles honoring police officers, fire fighters, lifeguards and veterans
- Domestic violence hotline
- Musical and theatrical productions
- Child care centers
- Senior centers
- Animal protection
- Food pantries
- Camp Sunrise
- Churches and synagogues
- Arts festivals
- Latino awareness