I know how hard it is for our middle class families to balance their checkbooks and keep up with the laundry list of New York taxes and fees, which is why I have fought tirelessly for real reductions. My goal is to make New York a place where people want to live, not one they want to leave and that starts with lower taxes. I want our community to be a place where our young people can afford to start a family and our seniors can afford to stay.
That’s why as your representative, I kept my promise to control State spending and to extend the Property Tax Cap—important steps that will help hold the line on local taxes. Coupled with unfunded mandate relief, means residents are seeing real tax cuts for the first time in years. While these are important first steps, there is still work to be done and we certainly cannot afford to backtrack.
As a small business owner, I’ve seen first-hand how government red tape hinders growth and development—it’s why I got into politics in the first place. Too often, regulations are rushed into place and forced on our small businesses without consideration of their job-killing effects. On top of that, excessive taxes weigh down every small business in New York—a combination that leaves us regularly ranked dead last for economic climate, business-friendly policies and taxes. Like our residents, jobs have been steadily flowing out of state for far too long. New York simply cannot afford to lose any more jobs.
We need leaders who understand that government should encourage job creation. We need leaders who know government doesn’t have all of the answers. We need leaders who know when government needs to step out of the way and let businesses do what they do what they do best. As your State Senator, I have fought to cut taxes on small businesses, end unnecessary government regulations and invest in the job training that those looking for work need to get and keep jobs in our local community.
I govern by listening and after talking with parents, educators, administrators, students and community members alike, it couldn’t be more clear that the rollout of Common Core was a complete disaster. Our public education system is reeling. New York needs to hit the pause button on education reform—plain and simple.
That’s why, one of the first things that I did as your State Senator was to create an Education Advisory Board made up of educators and parents so that I could hear first-hand just how the Common Core has impacted our local schools. With their input, and thanks to the tireless advocacy of so many in our community, we were able to lay the groundwork for sweeping reforms to Common Core which include a long overdue comprehensive review of the Standards. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of so many in our communities and my persistence, Common Core as we know it will cease to exist.
With a Governor who considers Common Core and teacher evaluations signatures of his tenure, reform hasn’t been easy. Getting our public education system back on track is a work in progress, but I promised my constituents that I would be their voice in Albany and I will continue to fight tirelessly to ensure that our children have the high quality education they deserve.
Standing Up for Our Taxpayers
Families across our community live each and every day on a strict budget and our government needs to do the same. Politicians need to learn that residents aren’t their piggybanks.
This year, our Governor held the budget process hostage as he tried to tie it to outrageous policy changes like taxpayer-funded tuition for illegal immigrants. That is simply no way to govern and we sent a strong message to the people of New York that that we will stand up for their needs by rejecting those tactics.
I believe in safeguarding taxpayers' hard-earned money and investing it in the things we really need, like safer streets, better public schools, new jobs, and better infrastructure. As your representative, I will continue to stand up against the New York City politicians who lack an understanding of our unique needs.
I fully support our Second Amendment and, in the County Legislature, I even sponsored legislation opposing the SAFE Act.
As a mother and a member of this community, I understand that we need to be doing more to stop the violence wreaking havoc on communities across the country. Since taking office, I have co-sponsored nearly every bill to repeal and chip away at the SAFE Act.
I believe the solution to violence starts with improving mental health services and taking guns out of the hands of criminals—not stripping law-abiding citizens of the rights that our founders and veterans fought to protect us.
That’s why, I fought for significant funding for mental health--$5 million of which went directly to Dutchess County—and increased funding for public protection initiatives in and around the City of Poughkeepsie.
Heroin and prescription drug abuse has become a critical health concern in communities all across Dutchess and Putnam counties. While opiate addiction is tremendously difficult to fight, our state has finally started to make combatting the epidemic a real priority. I fought for unprecedented funding in this year’s state budget that would help families struggling with addiction by focusing on prevention, treatment and recovery. Working together, we can help families and those struggling with addiction beat this epidemic.
Restoring Faith in Government
If you’re like me, you’re sick and tired of hearing about Albany’s culture of corruption getting in the way of real progress. It’s time to restore the public’s trust in their government and that starts with real change. That’s why one of the first things that I did when I took office, was pass a series of reforms that set limits on the length of time members of the Senate can serve in leadership positions. I have been vocal about my support for term limits and about stripping corrupt officials of their pensions. I have pushed for legislation that would increase the penalty for those who try to avoid laws that are meant to keep campaigns open and honest and I have sponsored legislation that would increase transparency in government spending to ensure that money is kept out of the pockets of dirty politicians. Our government belongs to the people of New York, not to power-hungry politicians and it’s time Albany got that message.
Revitalizing our community’s urban centers—especially the City of Poughkeepsie—is paramount to our area’s success. After hearing from countless constituents, local leaders, business owners and developers, it is clear that there is real interest, energy and passion behind the city’s turnaround.
The tide is turning and we have a responsibility, as a community, to build on that momentum and do what we can to help make that vision — the vision of our area acting as a successful economic engine for the state— a reality.
Unfortunately, almost everyone knows someone in the Hudson Valley who suffers from Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases (TBDs). As the mother of a son who has suffered from its debilitating symptoms, I understand the frustration and the anxiety that come along with the disease first-hand.
As the Chair of the Senate’s Taskforce on Lyme and TBDs, I am proud to be the voice for so many in our community whose lives have been turned upside down by Lyme.
I have made it my mission to bring Lyme Disease to the mainstream, focusing on initiatives and sponsoring a package of bills aimed at education and prevention. During my first year in office, I convened a Lyme Disease Advisory Board of experts and local community members who have extensive experience in the area. With their help, I’ve hosted successful public forums, provided important material to local schools and libraries to help parents and students understand how to protect themselves, and designed a comprehensive on-line resource center, lymeactioncenter.com. Further, I was incredibly proud to secure unprecedented funding to combat Lyme and TBDs in the 2015-16 State Budge—a significant portion of which was delivered back to our local community for research.
The Lyme Disease fight certainly isn’t an easy one and the controversy surrounding diagnosis and treatment makes it especially challenging, but community members should know that I will fight tirelessly to make their voices heard on this issue.
As the Chair of the Senate Aging Committee, the health and safety of New York’s seniors are one of my highest priorities. Our seniors have dedicated their lives to building the communities that we know and love today and we have a responsibility to ensure that they have the resources they need to enjoy their golden years and to be able to age with dignity.
For that reason, I was proud to fight for a consecutive state budgets that made our seniors a priority by:
- including tax cuts for seniors by fully funded STAR and Enhanced STAR;
- Fully funding the EPIC program that helps cover significant costs of the prescription drugs that our seniors depend on;
- providing historic funding for the Community Services for the Elderly Program that helps seniors maintain their independence and protect their health;
- providing an unprecedented $25 million for Alzheimer’s research;
- providing funding to combat elder abuse; and
- providing significant funding to provide support to the caregivers who dedicate their lives to keeping our seniors out of the hospital and in their homes.