Assemblyman Thomas W. Alfano (R-North Valley Stream) has announced that he will seek another two-year term this November as the representative of the 22nd assembly district. In announcing his re-election bid, Alfano said he wants to continue to build on the accomplishments of the last two years.
"The decisions we make in the legislature affect our communities directly," Alfano stated. "Our families are seeing first-hand the tax cuts and investments in education we passed into law. Crime has fallen, our environment is cleaner, our seniors are seeing the first phase of the STAR tax cut and jobs are coming back to Long Island."
This past session, Assemblyman Alfano was appointed ranking member of the corporations, authorities and commissions committee by former Republican leader Thomas Reynolds. "This committee is important to all Long Islanders as it deals with transportation issues ranging from the MTA to the New York State Thruway," Alfano said. The Assemblyman is also a member of the labor, housing, insurance and codes committees.
In his short tenure, Alfano has taken a very special interest in quality of life issues throughout the 22nd district. This past April, he inaugurated a senior citizen health care forum in his district office on the topic of the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program (EPIC). EPIC is a state sponsored prescription drug program. He has also promoted Child Health Plus, a program which offers health-care coverage through a special co-pay program for parents who do not have health-care insurance for their children.
In trying to raise awareness concerning issues related to breast cancer, Alfano also has a special "reminder" program for women throughout the 22nd assembly district highlighting "Getting a Mammogram." The program is Alfano's third district-wide public service announcement to women highlighting breast cancer programs and services. Previous installments concerned the 1997 Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act and a breast cancer research update.
In his capacity as a member of the insurance committee, Assemblyman Alfano also began a special senior citizen consumer protection program warning against telemarketing scams and highlighting senior programs both at the state and in Nassau County.
In the community, Alfano has taken a special pride in his work with children's organizations like Elmont Youth Outreach (Gateway Youth Outreach) and daycare centers. This past summer, Alfano, working cooperatively with the Elmont Chamber of Commerce and Gateway Youth Outreach, started "Operation Clean-Sweep Co-Op." The program employs at risk youth in beautifying the Elmont community. "Getting involved with the community through programming is how we make a difference," said Alfano. In addition, Alfano also started special children's programming revolving around daycare and elementary schools concerning air bag safety, child seat safety, summer reading and bicycle safety.
Responding to a need to work on community infrastructure projects, Assemblyman Alfano won a $900,000 legislative grant for the 22nd district for transportation improvements. "Being able to help local governments make our communities safer and enhance our quality of life is paramount," said Alfano.
Legislatively, Alfano had special impact this past legislative session with his position on the assembly codes committee when he pressured Speaker Silver to allow a vote on Jenna's Law. The bill, named after murdered nursing student Jenna Greishaber, would curb parole on violent felons. Alfano publicly called upon the speaker to allow a vote on the measure. After weeks of statewide protest over Silver's opposition, the speaker relented and allowed a vote. The bill was overwhelmingly passed in the special legislative session.
Alfano also made news with his strong stance on the issue of rent control. He was one of only five Republican assemblymembers who supported renewing rent control laws on low-income seniors and disabled. In noting his support for rent control, Alfano said, "protecting our seniors, disabled and low-income families was the goal. I was proud to stand up for them."
Alfano cited his work on education issues as he pointed to the record increases in school aid to 22nd assembly district schools. Further, Alfano delivered an additional $50,000 in "bullet-aid" to districts. The aid is considered discretionary and can be spent by districts on programming. "Fighting for our fair share of school aid is important in stabilizing school taxes," Alfano stated. "Additionally, it helps put computers in the classroom, repairs buildings and lets districts buy new textbooks."
On the issue of taxes, Alfano noted his votes on fully phasing in the STAR tax cut for seniors. "For many seniors, it will mean up to a 45 percent school tax cut this year alone," Alfano said. "All other taxpayers will be getting their STAR applications this fall." Alfano cited additional tax cuts affecting families such as: the 25 percent income tax cut, the no-sales tax on clothing week and the veterans real property tax cut. "The days of New York being cited as a tax-hell are over. New York now leads the country in cutting taxes."
Concerning the environment, Alfano pointed to his support and subsequent passage of the Environmental Bond Act, which will, in part, clean Long Island's air and drinking water. "I'm also proud to have been cited as the third highest Long Islander by environmental advocates in my pro-environment voting record in the 1997 legislative session," Alfano said. Additionally, Alfano said he was very pleased with the passing of the pesticide registry. "Being a part of the announcement ceremony in Albany on this landmark piece of legislation and then voting for its enactment was probably one of my most important votes on the environment and health care."
Health care legislation this past term came to the forefront of state legislative activities. Alfano cited his vote on the Women's Health and Cancer Right's Act of 1997, the 48 Maternity Stay Law, expanding the EPIC program, Child Health Plus and the HMO Bill of Rights. "This truly was a historic two years for health care," he said. "Ending drive-thru mastectomies, extending hospital maternity stays, covering children's health insurance, taking care of the elderly's prescriptions and making an investment in finding a cure for cancer were addressed in a bipartisan manner," Alfano said.
Alfano is a resident of North Valley Stream where he lives with his wife Jacqueline and his three children. He concluded his announcement by saying, "representing the people of the 22nd assembly district has been a great privilege and honor. I look forward to the challenges ahead."