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From The Desk Of Assemblyman Charles Lavine: December 27, 2013

Hope For The New Year

As we look to the year ahead with promise and hope, it is difficult to assess where we are now and where we are headed without first grasping the importance and relevance of the last three months of 2012.

Perhaps 2013 will be remembered as the year in which the Long Island community came together to repair the structural, physical and emotional damage incurred in October, November and December of 2012: when neighbor to neighbor we worked to rebuild our island, to find a way to improve electric service and infrastructure; to give our veterans a plan for the future, return our residents to good jobs, provide our neighbors food for their tables, and to protect our children and loved ones from mentally ill people with guns.

It seemed that the collective conscience of Long Island was riveted on doing what each one of us as individuals believed was the right thing. We didn’t always agree, but we worked hard to take the lessons learned and turn them into something positive.

We opened our homes and our arms to those suffering the devastating effects of Sandy and we weighed options for how to better protect our Island from future storms. We created programs to help our veterans return to life before war and give them hope for a better tomorrow, and we found ways to put people back to work and improve not only the economy but the housing market as well.

During the first weeks of 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a sweeping package of gun-control measures which expanded a ban on assault weapons and made New York the first state to change its laws in response to the murders of innocent children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

We worked hard to give people hope - something to believe in; and that is really what a new year is about. A new year gives us a chance to wipe the slate clean and start again. We get the choice to clear out all the negatives and replace them with positives. It gives us an opportunity to look back at what didn’t work and figure out a new game plan.

It is a time for reflection and introspection - a time to re-examine ourselves as people and see if we can’t be just a little bit better. We get a chance to readjust our thinking by looking back with a clearer understanding of what took place and knowing what we would do differently to improve the outcome.

Each Jan. 1, we get a crack at being better than we were the year before and doing our small part to make the world a more respectful and accepting place for our children and grandchildren. We can look back at 2013 as a year of rebuilding, recommitting and remembering. It was a year in which we laid the foundation for 2014 using the cornerstones of pride and compassion.

It was a tough year, but we are stronger for the experience and ready to move ahead. Here’s to 2014 and what I hope will be a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.