How do we ensure a better future for the people of the Bronx and Westchester? If I’m elected to be your state senator, here is what I will do.
First, I want to build a foundation for that future and address the problems that could have already been fixed with a Democratic majority in our state senate.
We all need a place to live we can afford. But the rents keep going up, and the landlords keep pushing people out to raise rents more. To free tenants from harassment, my top priority will be to fix the rent control laws and close the loopholes.
Access to health care should be a basic human right so we can stay healthy and never be forced into bankruptcy when a family member needs care. We must get the details right on a single-payer health care system that ensures all New Yorkers can have high-quality health care. And, we must ensure that our seniors age with dignity and grace.
We must fully fund our public schools to ensure every child in every ZIP code receives a quality, public school education that prepares them with the skills for the jobs of tomorrow.
With the federal Roe v. Wade decision under threat, we have to finally modernize New York’s 50-year-old law by protecting a woman’s right to choose and providing access to family planning. We must also ensure that women are safe in the workplace, receive equal pay, and have their voices heard.
When few people vote, the special interests use money to pass laws to favor them, not us. We need to make it easy to vote by enacting early voting, vote-by-mail, and automatic voter registration. And then pass campaign finance reform so anyone can run for office, not just those with access to special interest cash.
We must end the school-to-prison pipeline that kills the future of so many of our minority brothers and sisters who are fighting for a better life for themselves and their families. We need criminal justice reform — including speedy trial reform, open discovery and ending cash bail for all but the most serious offenses. And we need policies to protect immigrants from Trump’s cruel administration.
We need to ensure that followers of every religion are free to worship without harassment, and that our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are protected from discrimination.
We need to do these things so that New York can turn its attention to the next set of big fights that will require our full attention.
We must ensure that New York becomes a hub of innovation for the next wave of future industries, such as genomics, personalized medicine and artificial intelligence. We can attract those industries by having an educated work force, excellent universities that offer free college tuition, affordable housing for employees, repairing our aging infrastructure — especially mass transit — and building the infrastructure for the future, including high-speed internet access for everyone.
We must be a leader in adapting to climate change and creating new technologies and businesses to confront that challenge. Working in Gov. Cuomo’s storm recovery office, I saw firsthand what increasingly dangerous storms can do to our state. We can be leading the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating new post-carbon technologies.
Finally, as a true blue state, New York must play a role in helping our country process and heal from the trauma of the Trump administration. To do that, in November, we need to make sure New York does its part to elect more Democrats and retake the House.
But this month, we need to take back the state senate. In 2012, there were 33 state senators elected as Democrats. Only 32 are needed for a majority. But Jeff Klein and his band of turncoats, though elected as Democrats, chose to hand control to the Republicans led by anti-choice, anti-gun control Dean Skelos.
If Klein and his cabal had not done that, a Democratic senate could have passed most or all of the past-due items outlined above.
We need a government that is compassionate, that encourages us to listen, that makes room at the table for those we disagree with, that works fervently to foster a deeper understanding of the pains our community is suffering, and the fears it holds.
And finally, we need a state senator who will act in good faith — who will keep her promises to fight for working people and regular New Yorkers. We need a state senator who will proudly campaign as a Democrat, who will proudly caucus as a Democrat, and who will proudly vote as a Democrat.
My name is Alessandra Biaggi, and if you vote for me on Thursday, Sept. 13, in the Democratic primary, that is exactly the state senator I will always be for you.
The author faces incumbent Jeffrey Klein in the Democratic primary for the 34th Senate District on Thursday, Sept. 13.