Platform

Single Payer Health Care

Health care security is a right for all of us. “Medicare for all,” is a system in which the state organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands. Doctors would regain autonomy over patient care. The program would be funded by the savings obtained from replacing today’s inefficient, profit-oriented, multiple insurance payers with a single streamlined, nonprofit, public payer, and by modest new taxes based on ability to pay.

The New York Health Act will provide comprehensive, universal health coverage for every New Yorker. You and your healthcare providers will work to keep you healthy—New York Health pays the bill.  We have never been so close to winning universal healthcare! The bill passed the NYS Assembly three years in a row, and nearly a majority of the State Senate is now in support. As your state senator, I will provide the critical vote to pass

NY State Senate Bill S4840



Fully Funded Public Schools and Services


I will sponsor legislation enacting an immediate moratorium on spending public money on private education.  I will also work to eliminate high stakes testing in our schools, as well as to restore revenue sharing by the state so that local communities are able to pay for the necessary public services and decide how the money should be spent. 


 

Restorative Justice 

I will promote community policing and de-escalation tactics training, while working to demilitarize our police forces and demand that all public servants abide by their oath to uphold constitutional rights for all citizens.  I will also work to end cash bail and demand speedy trial reforms.  Promoting Restorative Justice emphasizes repairing harm and relationships when possible.  When appropriate, conflict resolution and mediation services will be utilized to maintain and repair relationships.



End Student Loan Collection Enforcement 

I will sponsor legislation to implement universal tuition-free public higher education.  I will also call for an immediate moratorium on Student Loan Debt Collection by New York State.  Student loan collectors force many into deeper poverty, insolvency and discourage many from seeking a college level education.  When the government is paying $38.00 to debt collectors for every dollar they collect, it is long past time to stop this extortion.



Affordable Housing

I support Howie Hawkins’ plan for a massive expansion of public housing in the state in an effort to make housing more affordable: mixed income, high quality housing, that’s - that’s humanly scaled on scattered sites, that are built in rural communities and suburbs as well as in the cities, and are powered with green energy. With hundreds of thousands of vacant homes across the state, there is no excuse for the working people of New York State to need to spend an exorbitant amount of their income on housing.


Guaranteed Basic Income
    

Although I support an increase in the minimum wage, there is a lot of misunderstanding regarding how it would affect small businesses when implemented.  Many people are simply unaware of how inefficient and wasteful it is to have to subsidize working people because they are not paid a living wage.  We must as a society meet the minimum material needs of our citizens so they can contribute to the common good. Not only would a guaranteed basic income help individuals function as social citizens, New York State could cut down on existing social payments and instead pay a certain amount of money to every individual.  It might be the single most effective policy to directly help people improve their own lives.  It would free up a tremendous public burden of care for the young, elderly, and infirm, as family members would be positioned to provide care that employment demands currently make untenable.

 


Repeal Cannabis Prohibition

Legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana.  The Green Party Platform states that Prohibition of Cannabis and the resulting "drug war" have unjustly incarcerated countless individuals & scarred communities, along racial & class lines, while draining resources from society.   The Green Party supports legalization of medical and recreational cannabis and legislation such as the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act. Cannabis will soon be legal in New York State.  We must not only keep it away from the control of big business, but I also promote reparations for those who have been victims of its criminalization.


I support Howie Hawkins' plan to include and encourage minority, women, small, and cooperative businesses and exclude big pharma, liquor, tobacco, and agribusiness from the emerging cannabis industry.



Bobby McIlvaine World Trade Center Investigation Act

I will sponsor the Bobby McIlvaine World Trade Center Investigation Act.  This act would empanel a Select Committee in either chamber to reinvestigate the disaster.  We must impartially investigate the evidence that military grade explosives and incendiaries were planted throughout the three World Trade Center high rises weeks, if not months, before 9/11 – in World Trade Center 1 and 2, and in World Trade Center 7 (which was  not hit by a plane) and they were set off in expertly timed sequences floor by floor to completely bring down all three towers.  Only by conducting an open and honest investigation will the family members and millions of people affected by this tragedy finally have the truth they deserve. 


End the Failed War on Drugs

We need reparations for victims of the "war on drugs."  The war on drugs hasn't reduced substance abuse, but has created a culture of violence fueled by profits from the drug trade, similar to the crime wave that accompanied the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s.  Despite decriminalizing the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana over 40 years ago, New York state leads the country in marijuana arrests.  People are routinely "stopped and frisked" on North Country roads, having their constitutional rights violated for suspicion of possessing an herb, possession of which has not been considered a criminal offense for over 4 decades in this state, making a mockery of the Bill of Rights and the concept of justice in most courts in the state in the process.



Transition to Renewable Energy by 2030

 

I view a rapid transition to 100% clean, renewable energy, including solar, geothermal, and offshore wind power, as a path to full employment, a healthier environment and lower electric rates.  I also view public and community ownership of the energy system as essential to the transition to renewable energy.  The Green Party promotes divestment of the state pension funds from fossil fuels. I support Howie Hawkins’ plan to support NY OFF because as he says, it’s the only climate bill before the legislature that actually does what the climate science says we must do. The science says that industrial states like New York must get to 100% clean energy and zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 if the planet is to avert runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. The Green Party will do what the corporate Parties will never seriously consider.


End Corporate Control of Albany

We need to end the statewide patronage system and replace it with revenue sharing directly to local communities.  The culture of corruption in Albany must end.  Only the Green Party is not beholden to corporate contributors.


Protect Our Air and Water


I will demand that state officials responsible for enforcing the law aggressively promote compliance and hold polluters accountable. We must dramatically reduce pollutants that cause smog, acid rain, respiratory disease, global warming, and mercury contamination from power plants. I will demand for strict enforcement of the "new source review" provisions of the federal Clean Air Act, requiring old industrial facilities, including power plants and refineries, to install the best available pollution control technologies when they are significantly modified. I support "cumulative impact" laws that assure new industrial facilities will not be permitted in areas where the cumulative impacts of pollution from existing facilities present a health hazard to surrounding communities. I also support mandatory greenbelt buffer zones between industrial facilities and surrounding neighborhoods. I am calling for a reduction in emissions from diesel fuel and the development of alternatives to its use. In support for local control of public resources like water, I call for all water supply areas to be excluded from economic development zones (which I unequivocally oppose) that are currently used as incentives to development.


Guarantee Personal Cultivation Rights for Cannabis
    
Hundreds of thousands of New Yorker's currently grow cannabis, and it should be encouraged, not unlawful.  As NORML director Paul Armentano says:  
"The inclusion of legislative provisions permitting the non-commercial home cultivation of cannabis serves as leverage to assure that the product available at retail outlets is high quality, safe, and affordable to the general consumer. Just as adults have the right to brew small amounts of alcohol for personal purposes, adults should also have the right to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis at home. There is no reason or compelling state interest to infringe this right in a jurisdiction where the cannabis plant is no longer defined as contraband."


Accountability for Public Officials
    

The operating mechanisms of our state must transform from traditional hierarchical relationships into a more horizontal structure. In this new setting, citizens have a critical role in monitoring public accountability. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, and always pursue the interests of justice for all.  We must end immunity for prosecutors and judges.  As James Yates, retired justice of State Supreme Court in New York and former counsel to the New York Assembly speaker, states:


 "New York is almost unique among the states in allowing prosecutors to bury evidence and, amazingly enough, in barring judges from ordering disclosure or even allowing a defendant to gather disclosure by subpoena.  The New York Assembly has repeatedly passed legislation, elegant in its simplicity, that provides that a court may, in its discretion, order disclosure by a prosecutor of material evidence, necessary for preparation for trial, if the defense request is reasonable and if there is no reason to protect the evidence from disclosure. Inexplicably, it has failed in the Senate."



Sponsor Shared Parenting Legislation
     

Shared parenting refers to two parents who have divorced or separated, or who were never married, sharing residential custody of their child on an equal or near equal basis and being equally empowered to make decisions regarding their child.  Proposed laws containing a presumption of shared parenting are shown to have been sponsored by a New York State Assembly or Senate member since 1999 and have continually been “held over” in the Committee for Children and Families.  The bill has never been voted on by the Legislature.  The current proposed law, S05316 sponsored by Sen. Michael Nozzolio, calls for a presumptive award of shared parenting in cases where there is no custody agreement. Shared parenting is defined, in sum, as both parents sharing equally in the legal responsibility and control of a child, as well as sharing at or near equally in the living time and physical care of the child.  A presumption of shared parenting means that the “default” would be an award of shared parenting: if a parent seeks sole custody, he or she has to prove that shared parenting would be detrimental to the child.  In rendering an order of custody to one parent, which is explicitly labeled as second choice to shared parenting, the court would be prohibited from preferring one parent to the other on the basis of gender. The court would also be mandated to consider which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the other parent.  The text of S05316 contains great strides toward gender equality as it relates to custody. A presumption that shared parenting be awarded recognizes that a father deserves to parent his children just as much as a mother does and that a father is just as able to parent as a mother is.  The bar on awarding sole custody due to a gender preference not only recognizes that a gender bias currently exists, but also takes measure to keep that bias from influencing a court’s decision.



Free and Fair Elections
     
I support full public campaign financing with equal and adequate public grants and no private money.  We must re-institute paper ballots and guarantee free and equal radio and television time on the public airwaves for all ballot-qualified candidates and parties.  We must  prohibit corporations from spending to influence elections, preferably by constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood.  We must eliminate all ballot access laws and rules that discriminate against smaller parties and independents, and otherwise place undue burden on the right of citizens to run for office.  I also support expanding revolving-door lobbying “cooling off” periods for members of the state legislature and their top staff to at least two years.


Promote Local Economies and Public Banking
   

I support public banking in New York State, initially focusing on an infrastructure bank to help cities and towns with the costs of upgrading buildings, roads, and water systems, with environmental remediation and adaption to a changing climate, and with improving public services. I envision a public institution managed professionally, guided by citizen oversight, and accountable to the public as its only stockholders. This bank will partner with, not compete with, local banks, credit unions and community development financial institutions. Over past decades, investor-owned banks have put their own gain before the well-being of the people and businesses they serve and the cities in which they operate. The result has been a tightening of credit just when communities need it most. Instead, short-term profits have been sought in stocks, derivatives and other speculative investments.  Our cities and towns require a public service bank that lends at affordable rates rather than at higher rates and fees that support short-term investor profit and excessive executive pay and bonuses. We need a bank that reduces the cost of public projects because its participating municipalities will not charge themselves high interest and finance fees. We need a bank whose profits are returned to municipal coffers thereby raising revenue and protecting government services from budget cuts. Such a bank would also protect public money and pensions from risky Wall Street investments. A public bank working in partnership with community banks ensures that local money works locally and stays local supporting development and businesses that build up our neighborhoods and increase our “common wealth.”  Thanks to hubpublicbanking.org and Massachusetts Sponsor Rep. Byron Rushing for these promoting these goals, which are It is exactly what we need here in New York State.

 



Progressive Taxation


I support Howie Hawkins’ plan which will raise revenues by 20 percent while cutting taxes for 95 percent of New York residents. I also will support worker-owned coops throughout the state. As Howie says, we can dramatically lower property taxes while using state revenue sharing to pay for unfunded state mandates in order to restore the fiscal health of local governments, fully fund public services and schools, and cut regressive sales taxes.



Green New Deal


I will sponsor legislation for a massive state-level CCC type  mobilization of public works to include improving mass transit and achieving 100 percent clean and renewable energy in 15 years.  We need investment in renewable energies and the promotion of greater resource efficiency.  Our goal  is to better reflect the value of ecosystems and reduce systematic incentives to invest in "dirty" or destructive industries.  We must invest in energy and resource efficiency, as well as reusable energies and micro-generation;  We need Low-carbon infrastructure redevelopment in order to create good jobs for lots of people; We need a state tax directed tax on the profits of oil and gas companies on Wall Street  with proceeds being invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency;  We need to expand financial incentives for green investment and reduced energy usage, including low interest rates for green investment;  We must regulate the financiers, not the small businesses!  We must Curb corporate tax evasion by clamping down on tax havens.  We must mobilize to transition to a society free of fossil fuels and other measures that aim to preserve the biosphere.


I support expanding access to paid medical, maternity, and paternity leave and paid child care for all residents of New York state.  Paid maternity leave significantly predicts lower odds of maternal and infant re-hospitalization and higher odds of doing well with exercise and stress management. Policies aimed at expanding access to paid maternity and paternity leave may contribute toward reducing socio-demographic disparities in paid leave use and its associated health benefits.



Permanent Ban on Fracking, Oil Trains, and New Pipeline Construction

Methane is an often overlooked greenhouse gas. Over a twenty-year period, it is 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide.  In 2012 it accounted for 9% of all US greenhouse gas emissions. Natural Gas and Petroleum Systems are the largest contributor, providing 29% of the emissions  Trump-appointed FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee overruled New York’s rejection of the Valley Lateral pipeline in September, claiming the DEC had taken too long to deny the water certification and had therefore waived its right to do so. On March 12, 2018, a U.S. court of appeals sided with FERC.     The Vally Lateral would run for 7.9 miles to connect the existing Millennium pipeline to the controversial 650-megawatt gas-powered Competitive Power Ventures Valley Energy Center in Orange County, New York. In addition to water quality concerns, the DEC highlighted FERC’s failure to consider potential climate-change impacts in its approval of the Valley Lateral project.   The federal government’s unusual intervention in the case is a new low for the pro-pipeline FERC, says Kimberly Ong of NRDC.   But  New York State can and must block new fossil fuel infrastructure within our borders.



Rebuild Our Infrastructure

Seasonal populations in communities should be considered when anticipating the need for increased capacity for existing infrastructure systems.  We need safe roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, water treatment and other vital infrastructure.  We must also provide money for our cities which have been ravaged by decades of corporate plunder.  We have a plan to broaden the tax base for funding local projects through targeted income taxes while lowering property taxes. 




Environmental Restoration


Our region has been profoundly transformed by human actions, significantly altering and reducing habitats critical to supporting a productive, diverse and resilient ecosystem. Hudson River habitats have been lost due to several large and small scale development projects including construction of the federal navigation channel and the railroads, as well as thousands of smaller developments that took place over hundreds of years. We must preserve existing estuary habitat, including protection of buffer lands that will be inundated in the future as sea level continues to rise. We have a responsibility to conserve biodiversity, and an obligation to future generations to preserve nature. My legislative goals involve restoring natural capital such as drinkable water or wildlife populations, mitigating climate change, helping threatened or endangered species and ecosystems. Because human intervention has unnaturally destroyed many habitats, we have an innate obligation to restore these destroyed habitats

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