With the state budget deadline quickly approaching, I am keeping my finger on Albany’s pulse of often convoluted and secretive budget negotiations. Now, just because the governor and legislative leaders struggle with transparency doesn’t mean we can’t get some major things done for Western New York and the 139th Assembly District. Believe me when I say I will be fighting for you every step of the way and will put ideas at the forefront that will directly benefit our community.

            The issues surrounding our area’s charitable raffles and fundraisers have been well documented over the past year, and what happened to the Stafford Car Raffle was nothing short of a tragedy. I have been working diligently with legislative leaders to garner support for the 2017 Charitable Gaming Act and am encouraged that it will be included as part of the final state budget. We need to re-empower the thousands of fire departments, non-profits, churches and charitable organizations across the state to continue to do God’s work, and that starts with enacting these common-sense changes in the Legislature.

            There is no doubt that safe and reliable infrastructure is the gateway to economic development and a flourishing community. Unfortunately, our roads, bridges and highways are under constant bombardment from traffic and damaging weather, which is why it is so imperative to secure adequate state funding for things like bridge maintenance, pothole repairs and projects that will make our community a more comfortable place to live and visit.

            I was proud to join my colleagues in Albany earlier this week to call for an additional $150 million investment in the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and additional money for the PAVE-NY program.  Doing so will help mitigate damaging potholes and unsafe bridges and empower our towns and villages to make consistent repairs.

            Expect me to continue to beat the drum in Albany for us throughout this budget process and fight each day to make sure Western New York gets its fair share. The tradition of sending our tax dollars down to New York City and pork barrel spending needs to end. We are part of New York too and deserve the same treatment.

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