This past week we saw the historic inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris.
In New York State, we continue to face setbacks in the rollout of the state’s vaccination program, and I announced introduction of a package of bills I sponsor in a multi-front approach to addressing the threat climate change poses to our economy and ecosystems in the upcoming legislative session.
As always read on for the latest community happenings and events from around the state and 109th District!
NOTE: Please take 3–5 minutes of your time to complete our 2021 Constituent and Budget Priority Survey — your feedback helps inform my legislative work in the State Assembly: bit.ly/109nysurvey
LEGISLATIVE NEWS AND PRESS
- WATCH: Remarks on the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris. 📽 On Inauguration Day (Jan. 20th), I wore pearls to honor our nation’s first black, female, and South Asian Vice President, Kamala Harris — and wanted to share some of my thoughts with you from that day’s events (click on image):
- READ: My 2021 Environmental Agenda and Priorities. 📥 Today, I’m releasing a package of legislation and policy priorities I sponsor to address the immediate threat climate change poses to New York State’s economy and ecosystems. This package acts on a growing need to:
- 🌲 Preserve and protect open space to bolster climate and disaster resiliency.
- 🔌 Align with the goals of the #CLCPA to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by creating incentives and goals to electrify our transportation sector.
- 🏢 Improve the energy efficiency of our building stock.
- 🗞 View the full press release here: bit.ly/2021ejca
- Full Statement: Governor Cuomo’s Annual Budget Address. 📩 My official statement on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s annual budget address from last week: “New Yorkers’ collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic displayed our resilience for the world to see. We continue to weather this crisis with resolve, and with the arrival of a new vaccine and a new federal administration, we can finally begin to address the serious fiscal challenges this pandemic has presented to our state’s budget. On the eve of inaugurating a new President and his administration, we anxiously await sorely-needed disbursement of federal aid for state and local governments, and I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues and Governor Cuomo to address budgetary challenges. I particularly welcome the Governor’s commitment to funding small businesses, restaurants, and the creative arts industry with up to $130M in recovery relief as an advocate for businesses in the Capital Region who’ve suffered immense financial losses and closures. Creating jobs for unemployed New Yorkers through a new public jobs and works program must be a priority, targeted at our youth workforce, creative economy, and those hit-hardest with a focus on building out New York’s green infrastructure and economy. Although daunting, these challenges present unique opportunities New York must seize in its fiscal plan this year to ensure a comprehensive, just and effective recovery for families and workers throughout the state.”
- Times Union’s Chris Churchill: Mr. President, Tear Down This Highway! 📰 In last week’s Times Union, Chris Churchill is right — the time is now to get serious about tearing down 787. Albany’s waterfront and adjacent communities’ potential has been held back by this concrete barrier, and #HighwaystoBoulevards promises to unleash that potential nationwide. Let’s pass my legislation authorizing a state feasibility study now, get an estimate — and get moving.
- President Biden Rejoins Paris Climate Agreement. 🚨 We’re back! I commend President Joe Biden for honoring his commitment to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords on Day 1 of his administration. Climate change continues to be the transcendent threat of our time — climate-related natural disasters cost New York State $37.3B over the last 10 years and that number is only projected to grow — unless we continue to take bold steps with our partners around the globe. #ClimateActionNow
- Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Address Vaccine, PPE Shortage. 💉 At the beginning of the #COVID19 pandemic, I and other New York elected officials implored the federal government to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to greatly increase the production capacity of personal protective equipment, and later, test kits. President Joe Biden’s utilization of the DPA will help get even more COVID-19 vaccine doses to high-need states like New York, as we continue to #VaccinateNY as rapidly as possible.
ICYMI: IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- ICYMI: Over 75 New York State Assemblymembers, Speaker Heastie Sign My Letter to Congress Urging Removal of Donald Trump as President: 🚨 This past week, over 75 of my Assembly Majority colleagues joined me and New York State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie in sending a letter to Congress urging the immediate removal of Donald Trump as President of the United States in order to safeguard American democracy and our Republic. 📃 Read the full letter at the link in this section or by clicking on the image below.
- ICYMI: Port of Albany to be Home to Nation’s First Wind Turbine Manufacturing Tower: 🏗 The Port of Albany and Capital Region will be home to the nation’s first wind turbine manufacturing tower. Offshore wind will rapidly become a centerpiece of New York State’s energy infrastructure in the years to come, and this will cement the Capital Region as the nation’s first real hub for offshore wind energy infrastructure. In addition to helping New York achieve its ambitious energy efficiency and carbon emission goals set forth under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), this project will create 500, good-paying long-term jobs for Capital Region residents at a time when they are sorely needed. I commend Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYSERDA for their continued leadership on the transcendent threat of climate change, and the Port of Albany for their vision and investment in the clean energy grid of tomorrow. By 2040, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that worldwide offshore wind capacity will grow fifteen-fold into a $1 trillion industry. Now, #Albany is poised to capitalize on that.
NEW: VACCINATE NEW YORK RESOURCES & UPDATES
- 📲 Capital Region residents and #109AD constituents can utilize this information, updated daily (linked and below), on how to schedule appts. with NYSDOH — New York State Health Department, eligibility, upcoming eligible phases, and more: bit.ly/vaccine109 | ny.gov/vaccine
- Following constituent concerns our office has received related to the rollout of the state’s vaccination program, we’ve been in regular contact with the Governor’s office, Albany County, and local government agencies and officials to rectify some of the serious issues with accessibility and more. A major obstacle to accelerating the dispersement of vaccinations in New York State is the federal government’s weekly supply of just 300,000 doses, while 7 million New Yorkers are now eligible and awaiting or scheduling their appointments.
- Another serious obstacle was the Governor’s decision to adopt the CDC guidelines to allow 65-year-olds to be vaccinated. This alone almost doubled the pool of eligible New Yorkers to 7 million and in some cases has put healthcare workers, healthcare patients, developmentally disabled and many more with severely limited access to the vaccines.
- By this timetable, the New York State Department of Health projects it will take up to 14 weeks (April 2021) to vaccinate all eligible persons in phases 1a and 1b. We will continue to advocate for healthcare workers, at risk patients, those in congregate care such as the developmentally disabled and elderly, and teachers so that we can re-open our schools.
- ☎️ As always, my office is here to help you navigate this process with any questions and concerns that you may have: (518) 455–4178.
COMMUNITY EVENTS, RESOURCES
- COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act Resources: The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York has released resources for tenants, renters, and homeowners to use that are a result of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act passed by the state legislature shortly before the New Year. You can reach LASNNY at (833) 628–0087 for an intake call. A hardship waiver is available that can help to prevent displacement, you can download these documents by clicking here. Please note: our work is not finished and the bill we passed last month will be followed with new federal assistance of $1.3 billion. We need assistance targeted particularly at small landlords who were not covered in this legislation.
- Paid Sick Leave Law Goes Into Effect: Available Starting This Year: 📣 Beginning this year (effective January 1st, 2021), most workers in #NYS are now able to access and use Paid Sick Leave when needed regardless of part-time status or occupation — I’m proud that New York again leads on this issue nationally and will join the 140+ countries around the globe who already provide some form of paid sick leave to workers.
- COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Program: Applications are now available for the CERT’s Small Business Grant Program on the Community Loan Fund’s website. To be eligible, applicants must: ✅Be a sales-tax-generating for-profit business, with no more than 50 employees and located within Albany County. ✅The business must show that its revenue has decreased by at least 25 percent due to COVID-19; ✅Show how the current COVID-19 economic conditions make the grant request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the business.
- Empire State Trail Opens to the Public: New York’s 750-mile Empire State Trail opened to the public at the beginning of January. As a longtime supporter of this project, I’m thrilled that multi-use trails (or greenways) continue to grow in New York State as well as our outdoor tourism market. Greenways help provide #Upstate communities and Main Streets with increased revenue, foot traffic, and more — the need for which has only grown since the outbreak of #COVID19. I look forward to partnering with NY State Parks & Historic Sites, Parks & Trails New York, and more as we look to capitalize even further on this achievement! Map: empiretrail.ny.gov/map
PODCAST: The Fahy Files: What Makes the NY Capital Work (Or Not!) — Connecting in a Time of Chaos
- To highlight some of the individuals in the Capital Region who exemplify what it means to remain connected within our community and cope with the chaos of the past year, I’ve launched a new series of my podcast The Fahy Files, ‘Connecting in a Time of Chaos’.
For more on my work in the state legislature, please visit my official Assembly website, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or Medium to stay updated in 2021 and beyond! As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns during this time at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 455–4178.