Seniors are the lifeblood of our community. They’ve given so much to our families and community. But Albany hasn’t done an acceptable job of making it affordable for our seniors to live and retire here, or the support needed for their families.
I support legislation which would provide a freeze in assessed value for homeowners age 65 and older. This would provide the predictability our seniors need while living on a fixed income.
When it comes to health care, it’s imperative we continue to fight to protect seniors from outrageous spikes. North Country residents, especially our seniors, should be appalled that Albany gave the green light to raise insurance rates by 17 percent this year. Allowing insurance companies to raid our pockets like this is dangerous and warrants an independent investigation.
I also support a proposal that would require the New York State Office for the Aging to create the New York State Lifespan Respite Care program in order to provide caring for elderly relatives with quality, accessible respite care. This would provide the help needed for families who cannot afford the expenses of institutionalization while giving them more time with loved ones while providing help at the same time.
I also support capping long-term care insurance rate increases to either three percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, and prohibiting an insurer from barring access to long-term care insurance based off of pre-existing conditions.
As Franklin County Sheriff, I have unfortunately seen how this epidemic has taken too many lives and torn families apart. When approaching how to combat this epidemic, it’s important to remember that this is a complex, multi-layered issue. The focus must be on four key areas: prevention and education, treatment, recovery and law enforcement.
Some progress was made at the end of the 2016 Legislative session in these areas, but I believe New York remains very short on addressing this in a complete and impactful way.
By requiring schools to provide drug education as early as 3rd grade, we would be taking an important step in prevention. Drugs are becoming more common at an earlier age and it’s important to adapt to earlier intervention. I also support developing prescription guidelines for health care professionals regarding opioid medication and requiring continuing medical education regarding prescriptions and signs of addiction.
I also believe we should enforce and strengthen prohibitions on insurers establishing a blanket “fail first” requirement. Often times this leads to too late of an intervention, and I’ve seen first-hand how important it is to get out in front of this. We should be requiring a mandatory 72 hour hold by hospitals for anyone who has been administered naloxone.
It’s important to remember that families are at stake here, too. That’s why I support the development of a civil process to allow families to petition court to order severally addicted persons into outpatient or inpatient treatment. When it comes to rehabilitation and recovery, Albany must stand strong and work with insurance companies to open up more beds and allow for greater insurance coverage of this epidemic. It should be on a doctor’s terms – not the insurance company – that determines how long a loved one needs to get the focus and treatment they deserve.
We cannot arrest our way out of this epidemic, but law enforcement has an extremely important role in this fight. That’s why I support prohibiting drug dealers from participating in the state’s judicial diversion program, mandating imprisonment instead. I also support the Death-by-Dealer statute to hold heroin dealers criminally responsible for the deaths they cause.
And while these dangerous dealers and users are in prison, Albany should explore providing funding to allow correctional facilities to have a wing dedicated to the detox and rehabilitation of inmates with the hope of lowering the rate of recidivism. Lastly, law enforcement agencies should be provided the resources to train their personnel in administering naloxone and have a kit available at all times.
In Albany, there is too much of a focus on downstate jobs and infrastructure. As your Assemblyman, I'll ensure that the North Country gets its fair share and that our small business owners will have incentives and opportunities to grow their business.
My plan starts with investing in education and providing more workforce training opportunities, including investing in vocational training in areas like auto repair, plumbing and construction. Reducing regulatory burdens on businesses that drive up costs and providing incentives to businesses that hire the unemployed are important factors in lifting the North Country economy. Unfunded mandates from Albany cripple local and school budgets, and it’s imperative we eliminate these costly burdens that drive up our property taxes.
Common Core is stifling our students and our schools. I support a full repeal of Common Core and restoring control over our education system to the local level, so that parents, students, and teachers have a say in the education we are providing to our future.
Over the past few years, Albany has become a bastion for corruption. It will be my goal to root out the unethical behavior and restore public trust by creating a more open and transparent legislative process that keeps elected officials accountable to the highest standards.
My entire career has been about playing by the rules and doing what’s right. That’s why in Albany I’ll support the toughest ethics reform that would clean up corruption by establishing term limits, pension forfeiture for public officials who break the law, strict limitations on how politicians spend donations and tougher penalties for elected officials who break the law. I also support an end to the pay-to-play culture that has become commonplace in Albany by putting an end to bid-rigging as a way to stop lawmakers from repaying political favors.
I’m committed to working to change the state’s tax code to help middle-class families in the North Country. Albany needs to stop its ways of government giveaways to the powerful and connected and return it to the pockets of middle-class taxpayers.
My plan starts with a bold proposal to double the STAR property tax exemption and continue to control spending so our families won’t be faced with spikes in property taxes.