Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00
I want to take a moment to clear some things up. There’s been speculation in the New York and Washington media the last few weeks that I would be running for Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy’s congressional seat here on Long Island, as she is retiring after nearly two decades of service. While I am honored by the outpouring of support encouraging me to do so, I will be continuing my work with the New York State Senate.
I admit that I am tempted to try to bring some common sense to the three-ring circus that’s set up tent in Washington. You may recall that I ran against the incumbent Ms. McCarthy for that very seat six years ago and since that time, Congress’ inability to get anything done seems to have only gotten worse. But it wasn’t that long ago that Albany suffered the same malady. Thankfully we’re turning that around but the bi-partisan progress we’ve made in our state capitol is in no way safe.
The reality is that Albany is the real arbiter of our day-to-day lives here on Long Island. Everything from the mass transit, to the taxes we pay, to how our children are educated, is ultimately decided there. Not that long ago, the system was broken, as a lopsided government raised our taxes more than $14 billion. Long Island commuters were hit with an unfair commuter tax, while city residents got a pass. Property taxes spiraled upwards as our school aid was routinely diverted to other parts of the state. Even our STAR property tax rebates vanished while scandals became the weekly sideshow. Here on the island, businesses fled and our neighbors followed. There was no balance in our capitol. Long Island was openly ignored, so we always got the short end of the stick.
I wanted that to stop, so I ran for state senate. I went to Albany to try and rid us of that tone-deaf dysfunction so we could right the ship. Together with some like-minded people we struck down the MTA payroll tax, restored the STAR rebates for homeowners, and
recaptured Long Island’s fair share of school aid for our children. We even lowered the state income taxes of 4 million middle class New Yorkers to the lowest they’ve been in 58 years. Low and behold, a Republican senate worked hand-in hand with a Democratic governor and a Democratic assembly to actually get things done. We showed the nation that a balanced government works best.
We are finally overcoming the bemused resignation that was so common in Albany and we’re making cooperation between political parties primary to the people’s business. But that can be undone in the blink of an eye. That’s why I’m not running for Congress.
I refuse to give up what we fought so hard to accomplish.
Make no mistake, there are those who would love nothing more than to return one-sided, New York City-centric dominance to Albany so they don’t have to think, or negotiate, or explain a darn thing to anyone. But the great philosopher Voltaire wrote that
“Democracy is noisy,” and believe it or not, it still works. True progress is achieved only when both sides have to work with one another. We can’t afford to return to unchecked complacency.
There’s still a lot to do in New York but I feel more hopeful and confident than ever. I still love being your senator, I like a good fight, and I love it when the dust settles and we get things done.
I want to thank all of you who wrote to me and especially those who called me personally about a Congressional run, but it’s just too important to the suburbs of New York that both parties continue to have a voice in state government. We are still getting our own house in order and I remain committed to that task.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Friday, 24 October 2014 00:00
The debate over New York State Common Core standards continues, with students from local school districts showing a mild resistance to the exams.
According to the New York State Allies for Public Education, 39 students in the Herricks School District opted out of the English exam, while 74 did not take the math test. For the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District, 17 students did not take the English test while 18 refused to take the math test.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:00
At the Oct. 17 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth discussed the recent investigation of students who have been illegally attending school in the Herricks School District, despite living in outer areas. Bierwirth said that 14 prospective cases were investigated and eight students were forced to leave the district.
Board of Education President James Gounaris said weeding out students who are attending school in Herricks under false pretenses is boiled down to one fact: it takes away valuable resources from the children of tax-paying members of the community.
Thursday, 23 October 2014 00:00
The Sewanhaka Indians varsity football team hosted Elmont Spartans on Saturday, Oct. 18 in its final home game of the regular season.
It certainly did not go as the Indians had hoped, falling 18-8, in a mistake filled game. Head coach George Kasimatis said the Indians had their chances, but kept digging themselves into a hole with mental mistakes on both sides of the ball.
Playing from behind, senior running back Brenton Mighty was able to break free for a long touchdown run, to put the Indians on the board.
Thursday, 16 October 2014 00:00
Sewanhaka Indians Head football coach George Kasimatis told his team to expect a dogfight in this weeks game against the New Hyde Park Gladiators, and he was right after its 35-21 victory last week.
“All the kids know each other really well, it’s always competitive when we play each other,” he said.