For most of my childhood, I was educated in the public school system of upstate New York. I understand that a high-quality public education is the key to creating opportunities that will allow our children to realize the American dream. Along with many of the Hudson Valley’s and the Catskill’s educators, school boards, parents, and students, I oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. I believe that our children are our greatest resource, but for years, they have been treated like failing commodities. We need to invest in public education to make sure that all of our children get the education they deserve. For those who dream of going to college, I will work to make college more affordable for every member of our district, by expanding Pell Grants and increasing opportunities for student loan forgiveness and relief. That means new opportunities both for high school kids as well as folks who want to go to college later in life.
Lastly, while college was my ticket to building a better life for my family, many kids see a different future for themselves. College should not be the only way to the middle class. Our community needs to reinvest in trade school and apprenticeship programs that teach our kids the real world skills that they need to get good-paying jobs—the kind that used to be enough to build a good life, with a home, family, and savings for retirement.
The Hudson Valley and the Catskills are known for their natural beauty, and we rely on the natural resources of these regions for both personal use and industry. I want to ensure that our environmental policies and regulations protect the Hudson Valley and the Catskills for the boaters, hunters, fishers, hikers, and sightseers who enjoy our river, our mountains, and our forests year-round – as well as the merchants who rely on servicing these pastimes for their livelihoods. Faso’s decision to overturn the Stream Protection Rule and jeopardize our water quality is an example of exactly what our political leaders should not be doing. With the importance of tourism to our local businesses, policies like these not only undermine the quality of our environment, but also endanger the health of our economy.
I will work to protect the Hudson River from proposals such as the recent plan to establish new anchorages for oil tankers near communities like Kingston. I will also fight to ensure that communities like Hoosick Falls never face a water crisis like the one they’ve faced over the past few years, and that no residents of the Hudson Valley or the Catskills are exposed to contaminated water. Finally, I do not believe that job creation and environmental conservation need to be in conflict. Clean energy is one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy, and I will do everything I can to encourage the growth of clean energy jobs in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.
I believe that we are a nation of immigrants, and that the Hudson Valley and the Catskills benefit from a sensible and compassionate immigration policy. I understand that immigrants come to this region to fill important roles in every industry, ranging from the physicians who come to work at rural hospitals to the seasonal workers our farmers rely upon to bring in the harvest. How we treat our immigrant population should illustrate our highest ideals of who we are as Americans and New Yorkers. I will fight for immigration policies that reflect the character and decency of the people of the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.
Rebuilding our region means creating jobs. I understand the importance of sustainable jobs with decent living wages in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills. My parents worked for General Electric before most of those jobs disappeared. I will push for banks to lend to small businesses so they can expand and create the jobs we need. I will work to draw investments and businesses to the district, including those in growth industries like tech and clean energy so that we can match the trained workers to the businesses that need them. I will fight for policies that reward investment and job creation in the district, not outsourcing. And I will oppose any trade agreements that are not beneficial to the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.
Protecting the jobs of the hundreds of thousands of teachers, healthcare workers, service workers, farmers, and factory workers in the district, requires investing in those industries and communities, and protecting the resources upon which they rely. I want to ensure that local small businesses are no longer crippled by regulations while massive corporations play by their own set of rules. I will be an ally to small businesses, workers, and labor unions, not big corporations and special interests. And I will fight to increase the minimum wage