By State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine
At the heart of what it is to be an American is the recognition that no matter how difficult the problem we face, hard work will help us pull through. This Independence Day is more than just an opportunity to spend time with our families. It is an opportunity to reaffirm our values and celebrate our way of life.
The fiscal crisis facing New York this year has been one of the most challenging times in our stateâ€™s history. Itâ€™s been frustrating. Still, Iâ€™m proud of the fights weâ€™ve won. I worked across party lines to pass with bipartisan support more than 50 bills I sponsored. Likewise, weâ€™ve passed the lionâ€™s share of a budget that protects many of our priority interests
This Fourth of July, nearly 300 employees from the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility and their families can enjoy fireworks knowing their jobs are secure and they will be back to watch them next year. Grandparents can spend time with their grandchildren hearing the hearing the cannons roar at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield and visitors young and old can continue to explore the ramparts of Fort Ontario.
Families picnicking at Eel Weir State Park or using the pool at Keewaydin can enjoy a cooler of cold soda with their hotdogs without paying new taxes for it. Together we have made great strides to stop runaway regulations and protect the right of residents throughout the rural New York to keep heating homes with outdoor wood boilers using a cost-saving renewable resource right from our own backyard.
St. Lawrence County residents can celebrate the prospect of new energy independence this Fourth of July with the creation of the North Country Power Authority. Two dozen municipalities can now realize a decade long dream to develop a locally controlled regional utility to better serve rate payers with significantly reduced rates, more reliable service, and local control. The annual savings for ratepayers will add up to millions of dollars, with an expected system-wide rate reduction of 4 percent.
With the Governorâ€™s approval of responsible budget restorations for county fairs, the prizes awarded for our stateâ€™s top agriculture, the reason we have county fairs, are in place for the Oswego County Fair. Local dairy farmers in the milking parlors can celebrate the historic introduction of the Dairy Farmersâ€™ Bill of Rights this Fourth of July and other reforms in New York State that will help ensure that the ice cream served up at future Independence Day cook-outs will come from milk produced by local farmers.
We have seen these successes this year and many more because we have continued to come together as a community, work hard, and ultimately trust each other to do the right thing. It is important, as we celebrate the founding of our democracy that we as elected officials thank the thousands of people in our communities and renew our trust with the people who elected us. Good public policy and wise votes are meaningless without partnership, communication and support from those we serve as representatives.
Unresolved issues remain in Albany, and I am committed to passing a responsible State revenue bill, securing a permanent power for jobs program, and addressing other difficult issues. As I appreciate deeply being home this weekend to see many of you again, those challenges seem less daunting with the knowledge we are working together. It is our ability to pull together to meet and overcome the challenges in our future as partners that best exemplifies celebration of the Fourth of July.