We have just come through a tumultuous election cycle and a devastating storm. While the elections in our area were not heavily contested, I am deeply grateful to have the opportunity to continue to represent our community.
I am also deeply grateful to the many people who live in and who serve our community for the extraordinary effort in response to the storm.
These two thoughts are tied together. I and the other elected officials who represent this community - state legislators, councilmembers, the Borough President - are able to do so in large part because of the community's belief that we all have responsibility for one another. Our community understands that government must be a tool for exercising that responsibility, and also we all must pitch in ourselves.
President Obama said the other night: "While each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people." It reminded me of Governor Mario Cuomo talking 30 years ago about "the family of New York."
I love the work I do, whether it is knocking on doors in Fulton Houses after the storm with neighborhood volunteers to identify people with special needs, advocating to prevent excessive development or promote affordable housing, helping tenants, drafting legislation to advance human rights or access to health care, or fighting for social justice in the state's budget and taxes.
"That's why we do this," President Obama said. "That's what politics can be. That's why elections matter. It's not small, it's big. It's important."
After the Storm
About two thirds of the people in our Assembly District lost electric power as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Many commercial and residential buildings, including the Fulton Houses development in Chelsea, also lost heat and hot water because they are served by Con Ed's steam system, which went down.
This created difficulty and discomfort, and in some cases real hardship. However, we are all mindful that millions in the storm's path suffered serious destruction to homes and livelihood, and some lost lives.
I deeply appreciate the work of community volunteers, neighborhood organizations, federal, state and city agencies and public servants, and utilities that have been doing extraordinary work in response to the storm.
All the elected officials in the lower third of Manhattan have been in constant contact, with conference calls and e-mails, coordinating and working to recruit volunteers, identify problems, contact city and state agencies and utilities, and work with local community groups. We have been helping constituents get assistance and information, identifying problem areas and individuals with special needs (especially homebound people), pushing agencies and utilities to restore electricity and heat and deliver food, water and blankets, and other action.
If you or anyone you know needs assistance, please contact my community office: 212-807-7900, GottfriedR@nysa.us.
New York, NY 10001
Albany, NY 12248