Wishing Everyone A Happy Holiday Season

By State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year. This time of year is an opportunity to spend time with family, reflect on the year which has passed and look forward to the possibilities of the coming year.

For me, the real joy of the Christmas holiday is spending a little extra time with my wife, my children, friends, neighbors and extended family. All of us need this moment to focus on what really matters in our lives, the people we have relationships with every day. Whether shared with a neighbor, the clerk at the grocery store, or just about anyone else we meet, I hope the warm greetings continue year round.

This past year has certainly had its share of challenges. The slumping national economy has taken its toll on New York State making it a difficult year for many in Central and Northern New York. Still I’m thankful for the progress we have made and the small signs of improvement have made me hopeful and optimistic.

But a few positive growth numbers from economists do not change the fact that we need to continue any and all efforts to improve our economy by building for the future. Over the past few months, I’ve travelled the state talking with businesses and other stakeholders about what the state can do with its low cost power resources at the New York Power Authority to sustain and create jobs. The input collected will be used to reform and improve on our existing economic development programs.

Also this fall, the Legislature moved forward on legislation that will help increase demand for permanent home and business improvements to improve energy efficiency. The increased demand will lead to the creation of new jobs. The Green Jobs/Green NY program will provide low cost loans for home and business owners that can be paid off out of the savings realized on their electric bill within about 10 years. The PACE program, or property assessed clean energy bonds, is another means to eliminate that upfront cost for homeowners.

In addition, the state and federal government have invested in infrastructure and other job-creating projects throughout the region. As our representative in Albany, I am working to make sure that we receive our fair share of state aid and funding for the projects and initiatives important to this district, while also striving to make our state more efficient, business friendly and prosperous. We all know the daunting task that lies before this state and I will continue working to deal with our fiscal crisis prudently and carefully, to protect vital services without raising our

So as we move forward into 2010, let me again wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. I will continue to work on behalf of all of us and know that I am very grateful for the opportunity you have given me to serve in Albany. Thank you and have a joyful holiday season.