E-Mail Newsletter – August 25, 2015

As part of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s Upstate tour this summer, the Speaker joined both Assemblymember McDonald and I in a joint tour of the 108th and 109th districts last Thursday.

Starting out in the 108th at the Cohoes Falls before venturing into downtown Troy, we arrived in Albany for lunch at the Riverfront Bar and Grill at the Corning Preserve in Albany. Local officials, who included Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin, Altamont Mayor James Gaughan, among others, were briefed on locally made products from nearby Nine Pin Cider Works and the Albany Distilling Company.

After lunch, we visited Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, where the Speaker toured the farm and apple orchard (just ahead of harvest season). The tour concluded with visits to the University at Albany and Albany Medical Center’s Pediatric Wing.

Providing the Speaker and his staff the opportunity to tour our community gives him and his team more perspective about the issues and challenges facing our district.

Governor signs bill for craft spirits. Governor Cuomo signed a bill I sponsored along with Senator George Amedore that would allow for craft distillers to sell souvenir and gift items at their production facilities – a privilege given to other farm-based alcoholic producers. Over the past few years, farm-based alcoholic beverage producers have seen significant growth, especially in Albany and the greater Capital Region.

These producers not only promote the use of local grain, but are also destinations for tourism.

Assembly delegation sends letter to General Electric, urging to continue PCB cleanup of Hudson River. I joined 140 Assembly members in sending a letter to General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to urge GE to continue their company’s toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) cleanup efforts in the Hudson River.

From the 1940s to the 1970s, GE had dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into the northern portions of the Hudson River, where GE had operated two factories. These PCBs have been associated with cancer, neurological and hormonal disorders, and cognitive disorders in children.

An EPA-mandated cleanup by GE began in 2009, but is scheduled to end later this year. Federal studies show that a large amount of sediment still remains, should GE stop its dredging efforts. It would be a terrific news if GE were to relocate its headquarters to New York State, and urge the company to do its part in restoring the Hudson.

Appointment to New York State Archives Partnership Trust Board. I am honored to note, earlier this month, the Speaker appointed me to succeed my Assembly predecessor Jack McEneny in serving on the board for the New York State Archives Partnership Trust. The Archives Partnership Trust, established in 1992, supports the mission of the New York State Archives through endowed funds and project support to increase access to our state's treasures and records.

The Archives remain the foremost way for our generation and past generations to tell the story of the Empire State to future New Yorkers. This is highlighted by an event I attended earlier this year where AT&T presented a $20,000 grant to further the work of the Archives.

As always, for the latest news or for upcoming events, please visit my office online, on Facebook, on Twitter, or my Times Union blog. If you would like to reach my office, please feel free to send us a note.

Sincerely ---