The Holidays Are a Great Time to Reflect on Our Successes and Our Challenges

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

Christmas Day and the new year are just a few days away, and it’s an opportunity for all to reflect on the successes, challenges and lessons we’ve learned throughout the year. As always, I am also appreciative of the capacity for giving I have seen from those in our community and around the state. Many New Yorker’s holidays were a little brighter thanks to the great work of the volunteers who took time this season to help those in need.

Two initiatives I was thrilled to be a part of were the annual “Tithe My Shoes” and “Stockings for Veterans” charity drives, which proved to be tremendously successful. The “Tithe My Shoes” drive, which helps provide boots and shoes for economically disadvantaged children and others, collected a record-setting 38,841 pairs of shoes this year. That astonishing figure is up from the 35 pairs of shoes Ralph Rotella collected the first year he organized the drive, and this year’s effort brings the total number of shoes collected to just shy of 212,000 pairs since the drive began in 2011. That is something to feel good about as we head into 2024.

Additionally, during the holiday season, I like to think about some of the challenges we have faced as a family, community, state and nation. We learned a lot this year, and I hope we can take those lessons and turn them into catalysts for change. I am proud of the successes we had making our state stronger and more prosperous, and I hope to build on them as we move forward into next month and year. Where we struggled, I am confident we will continue to have an open, honest dialogue with one another to overcome the obstacles that have hindered our successes.

Finally, I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge those who have helped make my time serving the people of New York as effective and successful as possible. From my family to my colleagues in the Legislature and all those working to make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family, I say “thank you.” Public service is a team effort, and I have a phenomenal team.

Thank you all for all you do to make New York the remarkable place it is, and may you have many blessings this holiday season!