The relative cost of Higher Education today is 130% higher than it was 30 years ago. A college degree is no longer an option for many who are not able to commit to spending the next thirty years of their life paying off consolidated student loans. An education was once the gateway to prosperity, now, for many, it’s only a gateway to long term debt.
Our local youth should have the opportunity to attend state schools at affordable prices. I am certain that my grandfather, who was a union carpenter that helped build Stony Brook University Medical Center in 1980, never dreamt that his great grand children may never be able to afford to attend the University that he helped build. Between the cost of education and the cost of housing on Long Island, the Long Island that was built by the last few generations is no longer affordable for the next generation of long Island youth. This is a trend that must be reversed with new ideas and new action.
We need long-term thinking on health care because, in the long run, we can create great jobs and deliver the best medicine the world has ever seen. For the past decade, job growth on Long Island has been flat - even with the tremendous skills and intellectual capital of so many people in Suffolk County. We need to look at Health Care as an opportunity to both expand our private sector economy and - importantly - save lives and improve quality of life. State government can work on this problem by filling in the gaps, working under the federal plan and giving the private sector the latitude it needs to drive growth in the health care sector in our community.
We need to address the issue of the Health Care Exchange immediately in order to take advantage of the federal funding New York will receive if we act timely. Now is not the time to play politics at the expense of our economy and the lives of New York residents.
As a long time proponent of marriage equality, I am thrilled that New York has finally recognized the rights of all to marry. However we must maintain these new found rights and continue to make sure all individuals are treated equal under the laws of New York State.
Women's Health and Equality
We must protect women’s basic reproductive rights and not allow our government to interfere in personal family decisions. We must continue to ensure that women’s health services are fully funded so that all women have access to high quality health care as well as family planning services.
As a lifelong resident of the first Senate District in Suffolk County, I am very concerned about ethics in government. We are sick and tired of dirty politics and dirty government. We’ve lived through enough of it. Among other forms of campaign finance reform, we need greater limits on campaign contributions. New York has the highest limits of campaign contributions permissible of any state in the union. We even have higher limits than the federal government. We need our elected officials to start working for the people rather than the special interests that finance their campaigns.
Additionally, any elected official, including those who resign from their positions prior to conviction of a crime, should be required to not only forfeit their pension, but also any and all campaign contributions.
Two years ago, as the Democratic Candidate for State Senate, I, along with my opponent, signed Ed Koch’s NY Uprising pledge that included among other important good government issues, a promise to the voters that we would support Independent Redistricting in 2012 if elected or re-elected. While I intended to uphold my pledge to the voters and maintain my status as a “Hero of Reform”, my opponent along with his Republican colleagues, violated that pledge and became, according to NY Uprising, “enemies of reform.” The Senate Republican majority violated the trust of their constituents and are currently implementing a redistricting process designed only to help provide for their own job security at a time when their constituents have no job security.
For years, eastern Suffolk County has been paying MTA taxes through a variety of different sources including, but not limited to, a payroll tax, mortgage tax, and drivers license and registration fees; all while receiving insufficient MTA service. I will work with local leaders and other elected officials, including our new Suffolk County Executive, to provide better transportation options to the people of eastern Suffolk County without burdening the taxpayers with additional hidden taxes and fees. This is part of my commitment to do more with less.