With all the negativity and anxiety that has run rampant through the public consciousness in the last year, as we move into 2021, I think we should look back at 2020 and take pride in the strength we showed as a people.
In a matter of months our lives were flipped upside down, as everybody from young children to the elderly had to adapt to the unthinkable circumstances we live with today.
From getting used to mask wearing, bearing with new technologies, and learning to go with less physical contact from the people we love, we have all done our part to face this unprecedented challenge to both our public health and economic well-being.
As the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine continues to accelerate in the months to come, I hope we can look to the future with hope and look back at these times in the same way we look at the sacrifices made by our greatest generation during World War II, as people changed the way they live for the sake of their neighbors and their country.
What I would like in 2021 is to see the ability to adapt to changing circumstances displayed by the people of our state emulated within our state government. Just as families throughout the state learned to tighten their budgets and focus on what’s truly essential in this period of hardship, our state Legislature should also look at cutting out spending we don’t need and focusing on what’s really important.
Wasteful spending on things like tax breaks for movie studios and extra political advisors for our Governor is unconscionable in a time when more small businesses and restaurants are being forced to close their doors by the day.
This holiday season and throughout the year families looked within their own communities as they purchased gifts and necessities, and just as the people of our state have gone out of their way to support their local institutions, we should act as a state to support our small businesses, small landlords and restaurants that have endured a massive drop in revenue during the pandemic.
We should be talking with local stakeholders in these industries and talk about how they can do more, not less, business in our state, and what we can do to support their success in terms of both fiscal and regulatory policy. When small businesses succeed, families prosper, and in 2021 I want to bring the voices of small business owners to the forefront of our conversations in Albany, as they know better than anybody what needs to be done to help them grow and thrive.
2021 might end up being the best year we’ve seen in a long time, but only if the Legislature learns from its mistakes and acts with the same toughness and adaptability the people of our state have.
New Yorkers deserve a government as tough and as compassionate as they’ve been throughout this year, and I am hopeful that if the Legislature gets smarter with spending and listens more to people affected by the policies they create, that 2021 will be the dawn of a new and brighter day for our state.
With that said, I wish a happy and healthy New Year to all of my friends and neighbors!
Assemblyman Hawley represents the 139th District, which consists of Genesee, Orleans and parts of Monroe counties. For more information, please visit Assemblyman Hawley’s Official Website.