We’re nearly halfway through the 2015 Assembly session and it is my pleasure to report that several of my bills have passed the Assembly and the Senate, including one of which I am most proud – The Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act, which is awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature.
After a long, four-year battle and with the support of Speaker Carl Heastie and several of my colleagues, I was able to pass this comprehensive bill. It, among other things, increases penalties for sex and labor trafficking and provides financial and emotional support for victims. This year, we were able to put partisan politics aside and pass this ground breaking legislation that will help a great many people, mostly young female victims who have been living in the shadows for too long. Finally, we will be able to put away the traffickers who have made human trafficking a $32 billion industry and have ruined the lives of thousands of victims.
This wonderful news comes on the heels of nominating Judith Johnson for a seat on the New York State Board of Regents. My fellow Assembly members from the Hudson Valley broke new ground this year by organizing a local public interview process for Regents candidates from the 9th Judicial District. We cast a wide net to find the best possible candidates and then spent many hours interviewing a very impressive group of applicants. I believe this transparent and inclusive process resulted in our recommending an outstanding educator who will be a tremendous addition to the Board and a persuasive voice for the students, parents, teachers and school districts of our region.
In addition, I organized and led the Suburban Caucus earlier this year in an effort to impact the process to replace Speaker Silver. In the end, our Suburban Caucus was instrumental in electing Carl Heastie, the new leader of the NYS Assembly. I saw a situation that needed addressing and stepped in to fill the breach, leading a fine group of legislators in what turned out to be a complicated and sensitive process.
I share all this to let you, my friends and constituents, know that I continue to work to make not only our district but all of New York the safest and most welcoming environment in which to live and work. There is no room for resting on laurels, though. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach me at my office. There is no problem too big or too small for myself or my staff to address.
Thank you for all your support.