In case we have not had a chance to talk at one of the recent Community Board meetings, Precinct Council meetings, or in general, it is great to have an opportunity to quickly touch base with you.
Before I forget, let me just say how much of a pleasure and honor it is to be your representative in Albany. As you know this year has been extremely difficult for the State of New York, as it has been for many of its residents; the State saw revenues drop dramatically, resulting in a budget deficit. Although difficult decisions have to be made I remain committed to the principle that lower and middle class New Yorkers should not be required to bear the burden for fixing the fiscal crisis. I do not want to see the attempts to balance the budget result in decreased services for those who need them most. We can, as a State, spend more responsibly while remaining true to our core mission of providing for every New Yorker. As your citizen representative, I will keep the pressure on our government to be a system that works for all New Yorkers not just the very wealthy or the few special interests!
As the fiscal climate remains uncertain, I have been working with my colleagues on legislation that will truly benefit New Yorkers. I am proud to have introduced Assembly Bill A3647, which requires all employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave. This bill is essential for the health of New York’s workers many of whom are forced to go to work when they or family members are ill. The passage of this bill will go a long way to curb the spread of many contagious illnesses including H1N1.
I also introduced legislation that protects tenants in the event of a property owner’s foreclosure. Assembly Bill A4590 will prevent tenants from being negatively impacted as they search for new housing and prohibits the court records from going public and being included in the tenants background check. In conjunction with that bill, I also introduced Assembly Bill A4678, which stipulates that in the case of a tenant eviction as a result of a landlord foreclosure the bank must provide the tenant with up to $1,500 for relocation expenses.
In the extraordinary times that we are in it is inevitable that there will be cuts in the state budget this year and next. As your Assemblyman, know that I am fighting to avoid any cuts to our schools or hospitals that will have a direct impact on the services that are so very vital to our community. Our healthcare and educational institutions have had to endure much more than their fair share of cuts over the last few years.
In case you missed the Medicare Forum that my office hosted for Seniors, please feel free to call us so that we can let you know about some of the important and beneficial programs for which you may be eligible.
My office, in an attempt to connect with youth and garner their valued opinions, organized a youth council. The youth council was charged with the specific task of addressing the increase in gun violence not only in Crown Heights but throughout New York as a whole. This youth council met monthly in my office and came up with an idea to paint a mural in Crown Heights that sends the message of “Peace in –Piece out.” The mural, which was completed this summer, is on Brooklyn Avenue and Prospect Place. It depicts the evolution of guns in American society and talks about how guns infiltrated our communities, through legislative loopholes and gun traffickers. It calls for tougher legislation, which I will continue to work on to ensure our community’s safety.
The ideas generated in the youth council led my office to embark upon another initiative, a community led and run coalition. A recurring theme that came about was the need for collaboration between adults and engaged youth to reach disconnected youth in the community. I am proud to have started a new initiative to develop our youth and increase public safety: I AM THE C.H.A.N.G.E (Crown Heights Area for the Next Generation’s Empowerment). We started this project in a catchment area in Crown Heights North and plan to expand to other parts of the community. This group consisting of youth, non-profit providers and community activists who will work on innovative solutions to solving some of the most pervasive problems in the community.
My staff and I remain committed to serving you as a constituent of the 43rd Assembly District. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at (718)756-1776 with any problems or concerns you may have.
Wishing you and your family health and happiness this holiday season.