Assemblyman Norris lists priorities for Hochul to tackle as state’s new governor
Our state begins a welcomed new chapter, turning the page on a dark period in our history. It is special for us here in Western New York to see one of our own now become governor for the first time in over a century and to hold the distinction as our state’s first female governor.
I would like to congratulate Gov. Kathy Hochul, and I welcome the opportunity to continue working with her to restore trust and confidence back at our state Capitol and to deliver on Western New York priorities.
On a personal note, I have stood with and seen Gov. Hochul champion key economic, resiliency and tourism projects along the Erie Canal, shores of Lake Ontario, and local businesses. She understands the concerns of New Yorkers – especially those in our Western New York region. I remain optimistic that her leadership style, background in constituent service, and understanding of our concerns will serve New Yorkers well during her tenure as our governor.
There are serious challenges before us, however, and our state needs leaders who are committed to making the reforms necessary to help enable people to succeed. The economic shutdown was devastating and still impacting our small businesses. I’ve written to her asking her to consider a three-part agenda that I believe will help put our state, especially our region, back on track to prosperity. The agenda includes:
1. Restoring fiscal responsibility: Albany cannot balance its bloated budgets on bailouts from Washington or the backs of taxpayers. We are already losing too much population from upstate communities, and now that the pandemic has proven some companies can run successfully and oftentimes more profitably with a largely remote workforce, New York’s population exodus is only going to further increase. Wall Street is already relocating to Florida where there is no income tax.
2. Investing in our infrastructure: Where we should be dedicating additional resources is in infrastructure in order to provide the vital services that employers and citizens alike need on a daily basis. In Western New York there are too many homes and businesses without high-speed broadband access, and where it is exists, it is too expensive. Our roads, bridges, highways, culverts, water and sewer lines need repairs. Our Erie Canal needs to continue the reimagine initiative and make necessary improvements. Let’s make significant investment in this critical infrastructure now to protect our future.
3. Changing the way we do business: Without a systemic overhaul of the Executive Chamber, nothing will change in Albany. Real ethics reform must happen. I am encouraged by the initial statements Gov. Hochul has made, however, if she is serious about reforming the decades-old dysfunction and corruption that has run rampant in Albany, I encourage her to embrace legislation like my State Contracts Sunlight Act (A.3784) or the Public Officers Accountability Act (A.6780). Both of these measures would bring real transparency and accountability to state spending and impose serious, tangible sanctions against violators of the public trust.
I am looking ahead, and welcoming this new chapter in our state’s history. However, with that being said, as a member of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, I believe it is critically important that the unfinished business from our last dark chapter still be dealt with and a public report of the investigation of former Gov. Cuomo be published by the committee to ensure accountability and transparency, particularly for the victims and families of those who died in nursing homes due to his COVID-19. I will continue fighting to ensure that this report is released.
Though I am upbeat about a new beginning in Albany, I remain skeptical that downstate-driven progressive policies will continue to be advanced in the new administration. I am more than willing to work in a bipartisan manner with Gov. Hochul on mutual matters of concern such as infrastructure and ethics reform, but please know that I also will proudly stand up for my constituents and our region when needed to voice our displeasure on radical left wing agenda items such as “bail reform” that negatively impact our state.
I encourage Gov. Hochul to embrace this “back to basics” agenda, and look forward to working with her to on these matters and local priorities in the 144th Assembly District.
As your representative I am working hard for you and here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact my office. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at (716) 839-4691.
Assemblyman Mike Norris
Norris represents the 144th Assembly District which includes portions of Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties.