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George Borrello

Borrello honors mental health professional Sue Gagne as 2024 Woman of Distinction

By Press Release
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From left to right: Senator Borrello, Sue Gagne, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first woman to lead the New York State Senate, and Neil Gagne, Sue’s husband.
Submitted photo.

Press Release:

Mental health professional Sue Gagne was honored this week as a New York State Senate 2024 “Woman of Distinction” at a ceremony in the Legislative Office Building in Albany, alongside fellow honorees from across the state. The award program honors women who've made remarkable contributions to their professions, and their communities and serve as inspiration for others.

“With extraordinary expertise and compassion, Sue Gagne has devoted her career to helping vulnerable individuals access the services they need to build stronger, better lives,” said Senator Borrello. “It’s difficult work, particularly in rural communities like those in my district. Resources are scarcer and the fear of being stigmatized can prevent people in need from seeking help until they’ve reached a crisis point. We are fortunate to have such a committed, effective and courageous professional on the front lines.” 

“Sue’s work in the fields of mental health and recovery has truly been a calling for her. At a time when we are seeing mental health crises reach unprecedented levels, Sue’s dedication is an inspiration,” said Senator Borrello. “It was a privilege to honor her in Albany along with extraordinary women from across the state. I am grateful to Sue and all of our honorees for their contributions.”

Borrello takes step to prohibit ballot harvesting

By Press Release

Press Release:

George Borrello

A measure sponsored by Senator George Borrello that would prohibit the fraud-prone practice of ballot harvesting advanced through the Senate Elections Committee today, marking a first for the election integrity bill.

“Ballot harvesting is a practice that is incredibly vulnerable to abuse and that has been implicated in several known instances of election fraud. New York is one of only a handful of states that has no legal restrictions on this practice, which should concern everyone who feels election integrity is important,” said Senator Borrello.

Ballot harvesting is the practice of permitting any individual to collect and return an unlimited number of mail or absentee ballots without oversight or a documented chain of custody.

Senator Borrello explained that his legislation, S. 1116, would make the practice of ballot harvesting ‘unlawful’ and a class D felony except in cases where the absentee ballot was submitted on behalf of the voter by a family member, a caregiver with notarized consent, or an elections official, postal employee or delivery courier engaged in his or her legal duties.

The bill also specifies that applications for absentee ballots must be submitted by a family member or a person authorized through written, notarized consent to submit the application on the voter’s behalf.  

Senator Borrello noted that a few of the more recent scandals involving ballot harvesting included:

November 2022 - A Staten Island grand jury identified numerous instances of ballot harvesting fraud in a race for City Council, including a ballot submitted on behalf of a deceased person and signature fraud involving dozens of other absentee ballots. The unprecedented 38-page grand jury report released by Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon called for changes in state election law including requiring official government-issued ID to vote.

December 2023 – The Queens District Attorney brought charges against an individual for submitting falsified absentee ballot applications for the Democratic primary election in August 2022. The defendant allegedly visited the Queens County Board of Elections and dropped off 118 absentee ballot applications and picked up the ballots the next day. An investigation later found that the voters listed on the ballot applications had not submitted the forms or authorized the suspect to pick up ballots for them.

January 2023 – A former Rensselaer County election commissioner pleaded guilty to using voters’ personal information to illegally obtain absentee ballots in 2021.

“We’ve made conditions in New York State particularly ripe for election fraud with the recently enacted legislation that allows early voting by mail. This is going to expand the ballot harvesting opportunities in New York’s elections and along with it, the opportunities for bad actors to commit fraud. We can help safeguard this process by enacting my legislation which would end the ballot harvesting free-for-all,” said Sen. Borrello.

“The cornerstone of our representative democracy is that voters have confidence that our elections are fair and secure. Ballot harvesting dangerously undermines that confidence, which is why I will keep advocating for enactment of this measure,” Sen. Borrello said.

Borrello applauds legal ruling blocking abortion-rights ballot measure over procedural error by Legislature

By Press Release

Press release From State Sen. George Borrello:

"The Democrats that control state government think the rules don’t apply to them, which is why we repeatedly see them cut legal and ethical corners in order to achieve their political aims.

I commend the Livingston County judge who has called out their arrogant disregard for the state constitution by striking down their ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) amendment because they failed to follow the mandated process.

While the Democrats will appeal, I urge the appellate judges who will make the next determination to be guided by the dictates of the state constitution and not politics. We all lose when the authority of our constitution is weakened, which is why I am optimistic this ruling will stand."

Hawley and Borrello partner to dedicate portion of highway in honor of local hero

By Press Release

Press Release:

File photo of
Steve Hawley.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C-Batavia) and Sen. George Borrello (R,C) will be dedicating a portion of the state highway system in Genesee County, as the “SP4 George Harold Fry Memorial Highway.” George Harold Fry, a native of Genessee County, was a Specialist-4 in the Army during the Vietnam War. 

On July 11, 1969, SP4 Fry gave his life to restore the company’s radio network during an assault by the North Vietnam Army. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his bravery and sacrifice in the battle. Hawley and Borrello led the initiative to designate a section of the highway in SP4 Fry’s honor, which the governor signed into law.

“I’m proud to stand with Sen. Borrello in recognizing one of Western New York’s most valiant, Specialist George Harold Fry,” said Hawley. “For generations to come, the SP4 George Harold Fry Memorial Highway will stand as a testament to Specialist Fry’s heroism and commitment to his country and our freedom.”

File photo of
George Borrello.

“For generations, many of our region’s finest and bravest young men and women have found their calling in military service and safeguarding the liberties we cherish,” said Sen. Borrello. “Specialist Fry was one of those patriots. Assemblyman Hawley and I felt it was important to name this highway in his honor to commemorate his courageous service to our country and to remind all who pass here of the immense contributions America’s veterans have made for us all.” 

Statement from Borrello on the Senate Majority's 'One House budget'

By Press Release

Press Release:

“There is no clearer way for citizens to communicate their unhappiness with the governance of their state than by packing up their households and moving out. Here in New York, our residents are virtually shouting that message as they are leaving in such numbers that our state has topped the nation in outmigration for several years running.

Regrettably, rather than use that valuable information to cut taxes and lower the cost of living - the chief factors driving the exodus - my colleagues continue to steadfastly ignore this reality. Their head-in-the-sand approach is evident in the majority’s One House Budget which actually doubles down on the tax-and-spend and politically-driven policies that have brought us to this point. They’ve taken an already bloated $233 billion Executive Budget and inflated it to a staggering $246.2 billion, which represents a 44 PERCENT increase since 2019.

Not surprisingly, spending isn’t the only thing going up in this budget. The majority’s plan raises more than $14 BILLION in taxes over the next two years through increases in the income tax, on businesses and on health insurance. These tax increases will only accelerate the stampede out of New York, taking much-needed jobs, revenue, economic activity, and people with them.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our Republican Conference has proposed a package of targeted and much-needed income, property and small business tax cuts in our 2024 agenda which would be a crucial step forward toward changing the reality and perception of New York as an unaffordable, high-tax state.

I acknowledge there are worthy restorations in this plan that I advocated for, including a reversal of the Executive Budget’s inequitable school aid cuts and increased aid for upstate transportation. I am glad that our voices were heard on these issues as well as on the need to stabilize our financially ailing hospitals and nursing homes with additional funding and reimbursement rate increases. As one who has been advocating for relief to our cannabis farmers who were hurt by the state’s botched rollout of its legal market, I am glad to see funding and grant programs for them included among other important aid increases to agriculture programs, including Nourish NY.

Ultimately, however, this One House Budget takes us further away from the priorities we should be moving towards. The crushing $2.4 billion in no-strings-attached spending on Democrats’ self-created migrant crisis is an unending drain on taxpayer funds that is unsustainable and irresponsible.

There are tens of millions of dollars spent on ‘bandaids’ like retail store security tax credits and retail theft task forces which have only become necessary because of the Democrats’ disastrous bail changes. While I am opposed to the concept of including policy in the budget, the fact that the majority removed the governor’s

proposals to increase penalties for thieves who assault retail workers and for hate crimes is representative of Democrats’ dangerous and incomprehensible protection of violent criminals. They’ve also reduced funding for the state police and included a bill that would make it easier for convicted criminals to overturn their sentences, a bill Governor Hochul rightfully vetoed last year.

It is discouraging that my Democratic colleagues can’t see or refuse to see the toll their policies are taking on everyday New Yorkers, on our economy, and on the quality of life in our beloved state. The funding and policies in this plan would only worsen the problems New Yorkers are most concerned about, which is why I voted against it.”

Borrello announces his candidacy for reelection

By Press Release

Press Release:

Senator George Borrello officially announced he is seeking re-election to the New York State Senate to represent the 57th District.

“Representing my constituents in Western New York is a great privilege and one that I strive to honor by giving 110 percent every day.  Albany is dominated by New York City legislators and activists whose priorities and values are a world apart from ours. I’ve made it my mission to be a champion for our district and rural New Yorkers,” said Senator Borrello.

“Right now, our state is facing a crisis of epic proportions caused by the unrelenting influx of migrants into New York. It is consuming billions in taxpayer funds at an alarming rate. Yet our governor refuses to rescind the ‘sanctuary’ status that is fueling the crisis,” said Sen. Borrello. “We need elected officials who will stand up for everyday New Yorkers who are rightly saying ‘enough is enough’”.

“As the City’s dominance has grown, the fight to secure our fair share of resources for our schools, roads, and other essential services has intensified. It is also critical that we continue to push back against one-size-fits-all policies that neglect to account for upstate realities,” said Sen. Borrello. 

“There is no better example than the natural gas bans and electric school bus mandates that are slated to go into effect in just a few years. Our rural setting and cold, snowy winters aren’t compatible with all-electric energy sources and, in the worst scenario, represent life and safety hazards.”

Senator Borrello noted that while statewide issues garner headlines, constituent service is a core priority.

“I am proud of the record my team and I have when it comes to helping our constituents. We logged more than 2,000 constituent cases in 2023 alone, spanning a wide range of issues. Behind those figures are real folks who reached out for help with problems – some complex and others that were addressed through a phone call. But in a rural area like ours, where services can be scarce, we recognize the vital importance of this assistance.”

“I’ve been a leading voice against the government overreach that is threatening our constitutional freedoms. We not only won the first court ruling against the governor’s ‘isolation and quarantine’ procedures, but we’ve also mobilized people across the state who realize the risks of giving the executive too much-unfettered power,” said Sen. Borrello.

“New Yorkers are asking for help. In the most recent Siena poll, a majority cited affordability and crime as their top concerns and a majority also said the quality of life in our state is declining. There is too much at stake to sit on the sidelines. That is why I am running for re-election. The future of our region and our state is at stake, and I am committed to doing everything I can to make the changes we need to not only survive but thrive in the years ahead," said Sen. Borrello.

Senator Borrello has represented the 57th District since winning a special election in 2019 and being re-elected in 2022. The district, one of the Legislature’s largest geographically, encompasses Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Genesee, and Wyoming counties, as well as a portion of Allegany County.

More information on George Borrello is available at www.georgeborrello.com and @BorrelloforNY on Facebook.

Borrello supports proposal that would help restore balance between executive and legislative branches

By Press Release

Press Release:

Senator George Borrello recently attended a legislative briefing in support of a bipartisan initiative he cosponsors that would prevent policy proposals from being included in the budget, a practice which has generated significant criticism in recent years.

In the twenty-five years since the ruling in Silver v. Pataki, which gave the Governor of New York unprecedented power in the budget process, many legislators and good government groups have claimed the governor’s ability to include policy in the budget places excessive power in the hands of the Executive branch. They have cited the many negative impacts of this practice, including late budgets, vetoed bills, and compromised policy.

Senate Bill 2062 sponsored by Senator Fernandez would introduce transparency and resolve the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches by amending the state constitution to prohibit non-fiscal policies and programs from being included in the budget.

"Currently, the NYS Constitution allows the Governor to unilaterally insert non-budgetary policy in the state budget, which often includes the most controversial and politicized issues. The Legislature is then required to vote on the Governor's budget proposal as presented and cannot remove policies, regardless of whether or not they have any budgetary implications,” said Senator Nathalia Fernandez, 34th Senate District.

“S2062: Protect the People's Budget (PPB) Act would provide that the Governor's appropriations must be constrained by existing law and cannot modify existing law outside of monetary changes. The bill would restore the separation of powers necessary in our government by limiting the Governor's ability to legislate in the budget," said Senator Fernandez.

First introduced in 2018, the legislation has gained bipartisan support this year with Senators Borrello, Gallivan, Rivera, Salazar, Krueger, Ashby, Brouk, Cleare, Comrie, Gonzalez, Griffo, Helming, Jackson, May, Murray, Oberacker, Ramos, Rhoads, Sanders, Sepulveda, Stec, Tedisco, Walczyk, Webb, Weber, and Weik signing on as co-sponsors of the bill.

“I’ve always been opposed to including policy into the state budget. Policy in the budget prevents full review of controversial issues, provides political cover to legislators, and causes standoffs during the budget process resulting in late budgets,” said Sen. Borrello.

“I’m happy to be in support of this bipartisan initiative, that will restore the balance of power between both branches of government,” said Sen. Borrello. “This is legislation that is needed and long overdue. I thank my colleague Senator Fernandez for bringing this issue forward.”

Borrello announces scholarship opportunity for students, deadline is March 15

By Press Release

Press Release:

File photo of
George Borrello

New York State Senator George Borrello announced that the New York Conference of Italian American State Legislators is accepting applications for four $3,000 college scholarships, two academic and two athletic.

Scholarships are available to residents of the 57th Senate District who are current college students or high school seniors entering college. Students can access and complete the application by visiting: https://www.nyiacsl.org/apply-for-scholarship-form. 

The application deadline is Friday, March 15.  

“This is an excellent scholarship opportunity for high school seniors and college students in the 57th Senate District who have worked hard, distinguished themselves from their peers, and intend to pursue higher education,” said Senator Borrello. “With college costs continually rising, these scholarships give young individuals and their families the opportunity to lessen the financial burden associated with higher education. I encourage eligible students in my district to apply.”

Applicants should have a grade point average of 85 or higher; be active in community service and extracurricular activities and demonstrate financial need. In addition to these qualifications, students applying for an athletic scholarship must also be involved in an organized sport(s).

Applicants need not be of Italian American heritage to apply.

Scholarship recipients will be announced in April, and the winners will be honored at a ceremony in Albany.

The New York Conference of Italian American State Legislators is a bipartisan organization of state Assembly and Senate members who actively promote and celebrate the state’s Italian American community.

Borrello joins call to curb electric school bus mandate, more research needed

By Press Release

Press Release:

Republican members of the New York Senate and Assembly were joined by officials from New York’s education community in calling on Governor Hochul and the Legislature’s Democratic majorities to pause the 2027 statewide implementation of the electric school bus mandate to allow for the completion of a pilot program, cost-benefit analysis, and other feasibility assessments.

The electric school bus mandate, enacted in 2022, requires new school bus purchases to be zero emission by 2027 and all school buses in operation to be electric by 2035. There is no provision made for the geographical disparities, diverse weather conditions, or unique travel demands of the state’s school districts. In addition, this is another mandate from Albany that burdens cash-strapped school districts and taxpayers.

“As the 2027 implementation date of New York’s electric bus mandate approaches, school officials in my district and around the state are becoming increasingly concerned about the tremendous financial and operational challenges associated with this one-size-fits-all requirement,” said Senator George Borrello, SD57.

“This mandated conversion will have a price tag in the billions, with New York State taxpayers simply expected to foot the bill. said Sen. Borrello. “Like so much of the state’s climate agenda, there is no cost-benefit analysis of this mandate or any realistic plan for how to pay for it.”

“Electric buses cost up to three times as much as conventional buses -- it’s a difference of $130,000 versus $400,000-$450,000.  Additionally, electrical infrastructure and distribution line upgrades can add hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. The conversion cost has been conservatively estimated at between $8 billion and $15.25 billion more than the cost of replacing them with new diesel buses. However, the multi-million dollar estimates utilities are now providing to some school districts just for the electrical upgrades suggests the total costs will be much higher than $15 billion,” said Sen. Borrello.

“The EV school bus mandate is the Mother of all unfunded state mandates. At a time when our state is bleeding billions of dollars because of the migrant crisis and school aid cuts are hitting rural and suburban districts, neither our schools nor our taxpayers can shoulder crushing new costs,” said Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, AD 132.

He noted the state allocated just $500 million in the most recent Environmental Bond Act to assist schools with the conversion costs of the state’s 50,000 buses.

Assemblyman Palmesano and Senator Thomas O’Mara are sponsoring legislation that would, among other things, require the Commissioner of Education to complete a cost-benefit analysis for each school district that takes into account the costs necessary to comply with the zero-emission school bus mandate.

Legislators cited other problems associated with electric vehicles that are gaining increasing attention and adding to concerns about investing taxpayer funds in the conversion. Those problems include:

  • Inability to operate or charge in frigid temperatures, as a well-publicized incident in Chicago in mid-January underscored. Designed to operate best in 70-degree temperatures, electric vehicles lose up to 40 percent of their traveling range in extreme cold and the time required to charge them is much longer. A pilot program in Vermont found traveling range decreased by 80 percent in some instances;
  • Poor reliability. School districts engaged in pilot programs and agencies operating municipal buses have reported many electric buses are “gathering dust” in bus garages as a result of numerous mechanical problems and hard-to-access parts and technical support. A study by Consumer Reports found that electric vehicles have 80 percent more problems than conventional vehicles.

“While many states around the nation are wisely testing the feasibility of electric buses for their regions through pilot programs, New York Democrats rushed to enact a mandate without any firsthand data on whether it would meet the needs of our districts. This is a movie we’ve seen before in Albany and it never ends well,” said Senator Borrello.

He noted that he is proposing legislation, Senate Bill 8467, that would rescind the mandate and replace it with a state-funded pilot program that would allow schools to test how these buses perform. A condition of the pilot program is that buses be sited in all three types of settings, rural, urban, and suburban so that their performance can be evaluated. At the end of one year, a report on the program would be presented to the executive and legislature.

“The zero-emission bus mandate for schools is at present unworkable and fiscally catastrophic for rural schools.  While the goal is laudable, issues with the feasibility of the vehicles, capacity of the power grid, and fiscal commitment by the state all currently prevent compliance.  The proposed legislation is a common sense approach that will answer the needed questions prior to making promises neither the state nor the industry can keep,” said David Little, Executive Director of the Rural Schools Association.

“The goal of having several clean energy options is a good one, but it’s got to be done with common sense and in a realistic way that’s reasonable and affordable for taxpayers, our local governments, and school districts and not add to the high tax burden faced by New Yorkers.  We’re offering a reasonable proposal to rescind the electric school bus mandate that will cost school districts in New York State billions of dollars, and replace it with a state-funded pilot program that enables school districts to test and evaluate how these electric buses perform,” said Senator Jim Tedisco, Ranking Member on the Senate Education Committee.

“Rural, upstate schools need more funding to focus on educational services, not an expensive mandate that would raise taxes and divert resources away from students,” said Senator Dan Stec, Ranking Member on the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “Green initiatives are laudable, but the electric bus mandate runs counter to the realities our schools face. I’ve heard repeatedly from school superintendents that it simply isn’t feasible. Instead of punishing our schools with an expensive mandate for buses that may prove unreliable, let’s take a step back and replace it with a pilot program that would evaluate the efficacy of electric buses statewide.”

“School districts across New York are already struggling under the weight of excessive state mandates, yet Albany Democrats always seem to find new ways to add to their burden.  In my rural senate district, where bus routes can take hours to complete, it is unreasonable to force schools to move forward with untested electric buses that may not be up to the demands.  Add on top of that the cost, at a time when many districts are struggling to stay afloat, and we are looking at an entirely unworkable proposal.  Senator Borrello’s legislation calling for a pilot program, rather than another Albany mandate, is the best solution,” said Senator Peter Oberacker, 51st Senate District.

“My local schools are raising the alarm about this mandate and we should listen to them. It’s unrealistic, uninformed, and irresponsible. Districts are planning now for how to implement and afford it, with little guidance or funding from the state. We’re talking upwards of $400,000 for just one bus, plus more for the needed infrastructure, not to mention whether our electric grid has the necessary capacity. I want to do everything we can to protect our environment, but this mandate is impractical. Let’s be smart about this and let’s protect our students, schools, and property taxpayers,” said Senator Pam Helming, 54th Senate District.

“These proposals are each common-sense alternatives that would determine if an electric school bus mandate is affordable, reliable, and, most importantly, feasible. Our school children should not be used as the test subjects for this costly and risky mandate,” said Senator Borrello.

Local legislators and education leaders decry cuts to state aid for schools

By Press Release
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Photo of Senator Borrello and (standing behind him, from left to right): Assemblyman Steve Hawley; Patrick Burk, Executive Director of the Genesee Valley School Boards Association; Assemblyman David DiPietro; Kevin MacDonald, Superintendent of Genesee Valley BOCES; Daryl McLaughlin, Superintendent of Perry Central School District; Dr. Kiel Illg, Superintendent of Attica Central Schools.
Submitted photo.

Press Release:

Senator George Borrello and assemblymen Stephen Hawley and David DiPietro were joined today by school officials from districts in Wyoming and Genesee counties to denounce the deep cuts in school aid proposed in the Executive Budget and emphasize the devastating impact they would have on educational programming, staffing, and services in their rural districts.

Joining the state legislators at the press conference were school officials from Genesee and Wyoming counties, including Dr. Kiel Illg, superintendent of Attica Central Schools; Daryl McLaughlin, superintendent of Perry Central School District and chairman of the Genesee Valley Chief School Officers Association; Kevin MacDonald, superintendent of Genesee Valley BOCES; and Patrick Burk, executive director of the Genesee Valley School Boards Association.

Senator Borrello thanked the school administrators for their advocacy on behalf of their district’s students, staff, and taxpayers, noting that these cuts would disproportionately impact rural schools.

“It is disappointing that just one year after touting her administration as the one that finally fully funded the foundation aid formula, Governor Hochul is seeking to unravel that progress by ending the longstanding ‘hold harmless’ protection. That provision has been a lifeline to rural and upstate schools by ensuring their funding would not decrease from one year to the next, even if they experienced drops in enrollment,” said Senator Borrello, 57th District.

“Compounding the loss of the ‘hold harmless ’ standard is a new, lower inflation adjustment that is far below the real costs that our schools are facing. These changes have produced painful funding cuts totaling approximately $11 million for schools across the 57th Senate District,” said Sen. Borrello. 

“For some schools, this could require hard choices about where to save money. It could mean cuts to student programming, extracurriculars, or even staffing. It is also likely to increase costs to our already overburdened property taxpayers,” he added. 

“While our rural and suburban schools are left to struggle to close the gaps left by cuts in aid, the Executive Budget diverts $2.4 billion in state funding to New York City for its self-created migrant crisis. That budget decision speaks volumes about the priorities that now drive decisions in Albany. We are here today to stand up for our rural schools, students and taxpayers,” said Sen. Borrello. 

“The governor's foundation aid budget proposal is an insult to our children and our educational system. By prioritizing funds for illegal immigrants over our schools, Gov. Hochul is sending a clear message about where her priorities lie. Slashing school foundation aid while increasing funding for the mess New York City has created for itself is disgraceful and unjust. Our children deserve better than to have their education sacrificed for political agendas. It's time for Gov. Hochul to reconsider her budget concerns and prioritize the future of our students,” said Assemblyman David DiPietro, 147th Assembly District.

"Governor Hochul seems to have forgotten her promise to ensure foundation aid for local school districts would not decrease from year to year. Our schools should not be forced to sit by while much-needed funding is taken away from them and they're buried in unnecessary regulations. Any state budget that does not put the education of our children first will not have my vote,” said Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, 139th Assembly District.

Senator Borrello noted that Attica Central School District was among those hit with a significant aid cut, with the district slated to lose a total of approximately $540,000 in aid. 

"The proposed cuts to state funding for education would have severe and far-reaching consequences for our students, teachers, and communities in which the Attica Central School District serves. The reduction of approximately $540,000 in aid for the 2024-2025 school year would force us to make difficult decisions, potentially leading to increased class sizes, reduced course offerings, and cuts to vital mental health services that we provide for our students,” said Kiel Illg, Superintendent of Attica Central Schools.

"My greatest concerns were the items excluded from the Executive Budget proposal. Whether by statute, regulation, or community expectations, the responsibilities placed on schools to educate, and raise students have increased dramatically. There must be a thorough study of what it costs to educate a child in today’s New York. Districts are offering community school services without community school funding. There must be recognition of these increased, awesome responsibilities in the form of additional funding. It is only after we have conducted this study that we may begin collaborating on a sensible solution for education funding with a common sense timeline for implementation,” said Daryl McLaughlin, Superintendent of Perry Central School District.

“As New York State sits on a surplus of approximately $8.7 billion dollars (Politico Feb. 1), the Governor says many school districts must severely diminish their reserves to address the "Hold Harmless" provision that was created by NYS. Amid significant outmigration and reduced student enrollment, New York needs to engage in the challenging work of developing a fair and equitable formula that not only takes into account the enrollment, but the needs of those enrolled. Injecting common sense into this conversation would avoid devastating cuts included in the Governor's budget that were announced only months prior to districts needing to finalize their budgets. My colleagues and I are prepared to engage in conversations that produce common sense solutions and allow for appropriate planning to implement sound fiscal policies that may come as a result of an updated formula, all while continuing to provide a robust and equitable program of study for the students of New York State,” said Kevin MacDonald, District Superintendent of Genesee Valley BOCES.

“It is imperative that our rural schools, these incredible schools in upstate New York, are not impacted by this significant loss of revenue. Each day our districts are required to continually provide much-needed services to our students, families, and rural communities. It is my hope that Albany will listen and fully fund those needs. A reduction in aid will only hurt upstate rural communities,” said Patrick Burk, Executive Director of the Genesee Valley School Boards Association.

Senator Borrello concluded: “Rural schools have been on the losing end of the foundation aid formula for many years, and a new, more equitable model is sorely needed. However, in eliminating the ‘hold harmless’ standard, the Executive Budget has unfairly targeted our rural schools. This inequity must be addressed and the funding restored. That will be our mission as the budget process moves forward.”

Borrello helps colleague by adding two new committee roles for the 2024 season

By Press Release

Press Release:

Sen. George Borrello

Senator George Borrello has been elevated to Ranking Member of the Senate Elections Committee and named as a new member of the Committee on Energy and Telecommunications by Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt.

The changes come in the wake of the military deployment of Senator Borrello’s Republican colleague, Senator Mark Walczyk (49th District), who will be deployed to Kuwait for nine months. Senator Borrello is among those chosen to fill committee vacancies resulting from Senator Walczyk’s absence.

“First and foremost, I am grateful to Senator Walczyk for his service to our nation. We are incredibly fortunate to have dedicated leaders like Senator Walczyk who are willing to answer our nation’s call, regardless of the sacrifices it entails. We wish him a safe and successful mission and extend our deepest support to his family.”

Senator Borrello explained that he will be taking over as Ranking Member on the Elections Committee, which he has served on as a member since January 2023.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue to serve on the Elections Committee, but in a new role as the Ranking Member. This is a pivotal time for our electoral system when issues of election integrity have moved to the forefront. While voter participation is important, it is just as crucial that people have confidence that their vote is secure and that it will count. That will continue to be a top concern of mine as we review new proposals,” said Senator Borrello.

“Energy policy is also at a critical juncture in New York. The rapid push to transition our state to renewable energy has major implications for our economy, taxpayers, and the environment. We need to take a hard and honest look at the data, the costs and adjust course where necessary,” said Senator Borrello. “I look forward to bringing my perspective to the committee and advancing proposals that will assure New Yorkers continue to have access to safe, reliable, and affordable energy,” Senator Borrello said.

Senator Borrello noted that in addition to his new assignments on the Elections and Energy committees, he will retain his roles as Ranking Member on both the Agriculture and Banks committees. He will also continue to serve as a member on the following committees: Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, Finance, and Housing, Construction and Community Development.

“There are so many important issues facing our state right now, which I look forward to working on with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. I am grateful to Leader Ortt for entrusting me with these new responsibilities as we move forward with the 2024 Legislative Session.”

Borrello concerned about Hochul’s state address

By Press Release

Press Release:

“Anyone hoping that Governor Hochul’s State of the State message would chart a bold plan for turning around New York State’s affordability and public safety crises has been left disappointed in today’s address.

The worst-in-the-nation outmigration of our residents is a problem that threatens our future. It requires more than new affordable housing units, as the governor suggests. New York State’s combined state and local tax rates are the highest in the nation. Numerous polls have found that this crushing tax burden is the primary reason people are leaving New York. We heard no plans to tackle that issue.

New Yorkers also cite declining public safety as their other top concern. While the governor praised a recent decrease in gun violence, the truth is that crime rates are still significantly higher now than they were before the reckless bail changes took effect. In New York City alone, index crimes are a staggering 33 percent higher now than in 2019. Proposals to combat retail theft, domestic violence and hate crimes are a step forward, but the leftists in the legislature will fight these proposals. Tough talk won’t be enough. She will need to muster the political will to fight and win these battles.

New York’s business community was overlooked in this address. Rather than investing precious resources trying to market our state as an A.I. hub, we should be taking steps to support and boost our longstanding employers in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors who have been hurt by careless mandates and heavy taxes. Small businesses are still struggling under the weight of the unemployment insurance debt that the state unfairly placed on them. These New York State born-and-bred businesses were ignored.

The most glaring omission was any plan for dealing with Democrats’ self-created migrant crisis, which is draining billions of taxpayer dollars and shows no signs of slowing down. Simply throwing more money at this problem isn’t an answer.

The mental health priorities the governor outlined are initiatives that I support. Expanding both inpatient and outpatient treatment are sorely needed changes. However, again, she will need to be willing to go to the mat with the legislature for key items in this agenda, particularly stronger inpatient treatment.

I look forward to receiving more details on these proposals in the Executive Budget. Governor Hochul was right when she said ‘We all want our state to succeed.’ However, to get there will take more than talk, it will take political courage.”

Borrello and fellow Republicans ask Hochul to rescind electric bus mandate or commit to funding

By Press Release

Press Release:

Senator George Borrello and 14 of his Republican colleagues in the Senate have sent a letter to Governor Hochul requesting that she rescind the electric bus mandate for public schools or commit to fully funding the conversion.

The electric bus mandates were passed in the 2022-23 state budget to help the state meet the lower emissions targets of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The requirements are that new school bus purchases be zero emission by 2027 and all school buses in operation be zero emission by 2035.

“School officials in my district are all sounding the alarm about the state’s unfunded electric bus mandate and the crushing financial costs it will mean for districts. With the first deadline in just three short years, school officials are deeply concerned about their ability to afford the electric buses and infrastructure upgrades that will be necessary,” said Sen. Borrello.

A new, full-size electric bus costs $400,000 - $450,000 - triple the price of a conventional bus which is approximately $130,000. With 45,000 school buses in the state, full conversion by 2035 will cost approximately $20 billion. The cost over and above what school districts already pay for replacement buses is projected to cost between $8 billion and $15 billion statewide.

“While $100 million in grant funding for electric buses was just announced, that amount will cover 250 buses. With over 800 school districts in the state, that isn’t even one bus per district. Even the remaining $400 million that will be allocated in future rounds won’t make a dent in the costs of converting school bus fleets statewide,” Sen. Borrello added.

“Local property taxpayers must not be hit with the bill for this politically driven mandate. New York’s property taxes are already among the highest in the nation and are a key factor in our outmigration of residents. If the governor and legislative leaders won’t take the common-sense step of eliminating the mandate, they must commit to fully funding this transition,” said Sen. Borrello.

He explained that school officials are also raising concerns over logistical considerations that aren’t accounted for in the electric bus requirement.

“It is well known that frigid temperatures have a significant impact on traveling range, which could affect school transportation in the coldest parts of the state. There is no flexibility for rural schools in this situation. Similarly, there are bridges in rural communities which are not rated to handle the increased weight of electric buses,” said Senator Borrello.

“Just like the state’s entire climate agenda, the electric bus initiative has been long on virtue signaling but short on crucial details, none more glaring than how schools are expected to pay for this exorbitantly expensive transition.”

“Governing by edict, without gathering input from those on the ground who must implement these plans, is a recipe for disaster,” Sen. Borrello added. “It is time to course correct by either lifting the mandates or committing the funding. The ‘magical thinking’ that has characterized this entire climate agenda is going to bankrupt our state unless state leaders face reality and adjust their unworkable policies.”

Borrello celebrates U.S. Court of Appeals 'Concealed Carry' decision

By Press Release

Press Release:

“No matter how Gov. Hochul and Attorney General James try to spin this decision, make no mistake, this is a victory for New York’s law-abiding gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment.  

“The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals rightly affirmed that New Yorkers licensed to carry handguns can be armed on private property open to the public including businesses.  

“New York’s misnamed Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), which the Governor signed into law in 2022, is clearly an attack on the rights of law-abiding gun owners and an attempt to make it difficult or impossible for licensed, concealed-carry permit holders to carry firearms to defend themselves and their families.  

“I look forward to remaining provisions of this unconstitutional law being struck down in the near future.”

Borrello releases statement on extension of Seneca Nation gaming compact

By Press Release

Press Release:

“The news that an agreement has been reached on an extension of the Gaming Compact between the state and the Seneca Nation is welcome news to those of us who have been urging the Hochul administration to act before the Dec. 9 expiration date.

The Seneca Nation is a valued neighbor in Western New York and their gaming facilities and resorts are a major economic driver. This agreement relieves a measure of uncertainty that has increasingly clouded this issue as the expiration date approached.

I urge the Hochul administration to use this extension productively rather than as an excuse to kick the can down the road. The Governor and her team need to come to the table with a commitment to engaging in good-faith negotiations on an agreement that is fair to all parties. That commitment has been lacking in this process up until now.

The gaming landscape has changed profoundly in the last two decades and any new agreement should reflect that while simultaneously assuring that critical funding to host communities is sustained.”

Borrello is honored for commitment to his constituents and improving the region's quality of life

By Press Release
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Submitted photo of Senator Borrello with Ambassador Sanon and his awards.

Press Release:

Representing the Council for Justice, Equality and Peace (COJEP International), Ambassador Hugues Sanon presented the Global Distinguished Leadership Award, Key to Sustainability, and Medal of Honor to New York State Senator George Borrello for his service and dedication to the residents of the 57th District.

“Senator Borrello has devoted more than a decade to improving the quality of life in our community and our region through public service roles at both the local and state levels of government,” said Ambassador Sanon.

“He has raised awareness of issues and problems that are impacting families, small businesses, and farmers. He has been a champion of tax relief to ease residents’ financial burdens and make our region more competitive. As a lifelong Western New Yorker, he is unwavering in his dedication to securing the future of the region and that is inspiring and an example that deserves to be recognized,” Ambassador Sanon said. “That is the intent behind this award.”

The VIP dinner was hosted by Ambassador Sanon at his residence on the North Side of Jamestown. In attendance was Mayor Randall G. Holcomb of Lakewood NY, the Blue Star Mothers NY4's Vice President Kathy Collver, Vietnam Veteran Stanley Collver, Pastor Mark Hinman and Mrs. Hinman from Hillcrest Church, Dave Anderson and his wife Holly Anderson, Mr. Jon Elder and Emmanuella Sanon, wife of Ambassador Sanon and COJEP representative at the United Nations.

COJEP International, headquartered in Strasbourg, France, promotes humanitarian values and works in support of peace, justice, freedom and democracy. The organization has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, UNESCO (NGO Liaison Committee), the Council of Europe (Conference of NGOs), the OECD and is accredited by the European Parliament and the OSCE.

Ambassador Sanon praised Senator Borrello for “his commitment to making our community and the world at large a better place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Your tireless efforts have had an impact and brought hope to many. Continue to shine your light, demonstrate compassion and empathy, and transform lives through your important work. The world needs more people like you.”

Senator Borrello expressed his appreciation for the award and extended his thanks to Ambassador Sanon for his work in the City of Jamestown and Chautauqua County.

"I am humbled by this honor and your kind words. I am also grateful for your contributions to Jamestown and Chautauqua County. In the relatively brief time you’ve lived here, you’ve invested yourself deeply in our community. You’ve worked in partnership with local officials, law enforcement, clergy, and non-profit organizations to reach common goals and help those in need. You’ve shown great leadership and have built bridges between people and groups that will make our region and this world a better place,” Senator Borrello said.

“We all recognize that achieving greater justice, equality, and peace are critically important goals. You bring that vision to your efforts, which benefits us all,” he added.

Ambassador Hugues Sanon has presented the Medal of Honor to a number of international and national dignitaries as well as several local leaders including the City of Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas, Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel, County Sheriff James Quattrone, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist and Rev. Mark Hinman of Hillcrest Baptist Church.

Hawley, Borrello criticize new law that seals criminal records

By Howard B. Owens

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, C -Batavia) recently criticized the Clean Slate Act, a proposal that would seal the criminal records of recently released convicts. This week, the measure was signed into law by Gov. Hochul. Supporters of the bill argue this will help incarcerated individuals get jobs after they’ve served their time and combat racial bias in the state’s criminal justice system. Critics, however, have said this will make it virtually impossible for employers, landlords and other business owners to fully vet their incoming employees and tenants. Hawley is frustrated because reckless policies like the Clean Slate Act are giving criminals a free pass and making communities less safe.

“This is yet another example of the Majority in Albany imposing their radical ideology on everyday New Yorkers,” said Hawley. “We live in a country where criminals are treated like victims, and the people who are hurt by these crimes are put to the side. Public safety is not something we can afford to mess around with. We need to return to a system where we respect the rule of law and hold criminals accountable for their actions.”

Press release from Sen. George Borrello:

“Governor Hochul’s signing today of the Clean Slate Act is more confirmation that catering to criminals and the radical wing of her party is more important than the safety and concerns of New Yorkers who have repeatedly cited rising crime as the state’s number one problem.    

This misguided law will allow criminals – even serial offenders -- to have their records automatically sealed after a specified time period. Serious crimes like manslaughter, armed robbery, domestic violence, and arson are among the crimes that will be hidden from employers and landlords, placing countless unsuspecting individuals in harm’s way. 

There already exists a process for sealing criminal records that has reasonable safeguards to assure that the individuals in question don’t pose a public safety risk. Yet, like with all the criminal justice reforms passed in recent years by Albany Democrats, reasonable policies and reforms have been rejected and replaced with reckless versions.

This law is another slap in the face to New Yorkers who are watching their safety and quality of life rapidly erode.”

Veterans Services Officer inducted into Hall of Fame for his dedicated service to veterans

By Howard B. Owens
bill joyce veterans service officer hall of fame
Command Sergeant Major William Joyce (U.S. Army, Retired) of Pembroke, and the Genesee County Veterans Services Officer, upon his induction into the New York Senate Veterans Hall of Fame on Friday at Botts Fiorito American Legion Post No. 576 in Le Roy.
Photo by Howard Owens.

It was obvious on Friday that Bill Joyce is a man surrounded by a family that loves him, and he loves his wife, daughters, and grandchildren.

But he also loves the veterans he serves.

"I can remember the Christmas parties and some of the fondest memories of my sparkly little dress with my sparkly little shoes," said his daughter Jacqueline Joyce. "Watching my dad's troops laugh and joke with him. And the random memory I have of him holding a newborn baby and sitting next to him and watching him look down in awe. It was in that moment I understood. This was his second family. That was what resonated with me. This is my dad's second family, his veterans."

Joyce served in the US Army on active and reserve duty for 40 years.  He is a retired New York State Police mechanic and quartermaster.  Since 2012, he has been Genesee County's Veterans Services Officer and, by all accounts, performing his duties above and beyond the call of duty.

Both because of his service to his community and to veterans, on Friday, United States Army Command Sergeant Major William Joyce (Ret.) of Pembroke was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame Friday by New York State Sen. George M. Borrello during a ceremony at the Botts Fiorito American Legion Post No. 576 in Le Roy.

Joyce's three daughters, Verna Cromwell, Jacqueline, and Amanda Werner, with their mother, Susan, and children in the audience, gave speeches at the ceremony honoring him as a father and a man committed to service.

"His transition to VSO only seemed like the next move for him to continue taking care of his boys, his soldiers and his veterans," said Jacqueline, who herself served in the military, the U.S. Air Force and is currently a member of the Air Force reserve. "As a VSO dad has helped countless veterans in any part of the world. In his time, as VSO, he has taken pride in making Memorial Day and Veterans Day more memorable. He takes pride in securing Batavia PD to block off traffic at the Upton Monument and having flags placed for the fallen when their names are read (at the War Memorial at (Jerome Center) improving the experience for the families observing. Most importantly for me, I get to spend half the day with my hero, laughing, joking, sweating, freezing, and getting soaked, similar to last Veterans Day, where my boots had to be disposed of because they were so soggy."

In his opening remarks, Borrello noted the sacrifices Joyce and his family made because of his commitment to serve his country.

After training at Fort Dix in 1972, Joyce entered an Army that was winding down involvement in Vietnam.  He was stationed as a Specialist Fourth Class in Germany to guard the Eastern Border when Czechoslovakia was still communist and a Cold War threat to Western democracy.

"After his active tour ended in 1975, he returned home and began a 40-year civilian career with the New York State Police," Borello said. "He also resumed his military service by enlisting in the Army Reserve to continue defending his home and country. In the reserves. He rose through the ranks to become a Command Sergeant Major. He had several deployments overseas to Bosnia, to Iraq twice, and to Afghanistan. The deployments in the Middle East carried particular risks and often involved breaking down the doors of suspected terrorists and going into the mountains to find their training sites. These deployments were also long, 15 months or more, requiring them to be away from his wife and daughters for long stretches of time. He missed birthdays, holidays, school concerts, and much more."

As a soldier, Joyce has been awarded a Bronze Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, and two NATO medals, among many other honors from the U.S. Army.

Joyce's daughters recalled those deployments as times of concern and absence but also of love.

"In the late 90s, things started to get more serious," Cromwell recalled. "I can remember my parents listening to the conflict of Kosovo and Bosnia on the radio while we were getting ready for my school Christmas concert. It would only be a few months later that Dad would leave us to go to Bosnia for nine months -- the longest time he'd ever been away to my memory. I still have the letters he wrote and emails I printed. He may have been half a world away, but he was still very much a part of our everyday lives. This would continue to be the case for his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this time, it was daily phone calls before school and before bed."

Cromwell said her dad was never bothered by being the father of three daughters.

"Sure, I witnessed people asking him about wanting a son, but it's a core memory for me of him replying, 'There's nothing you can do with three boys that you can't do with three girls.' And he was right," Cromwell said. "There were many mornings driving to school listening to Army cadences. I still sing these from time to time and was absolutely thrilled on Christmas when my mom dubbed the cassettes on a CD for us. There's truly nothing like hiking through a state park and belting out, 'Don't let your dog tags dangle in the dirt.'"

Both Cromwell and Jacqueline recalled most fondly their father's assignment to Colorado Springs.  The weekends were filled with trips to Pike's Peak, Garden of the Gods, the Great Sand Dunes, Denver, and other points of interest in the area.

But Joyce wasn't inducted into the Hall of Fame just because he's a good family man.  He was inducted because of the tireless work he has done for veterans.

"It is his policy to never refuse help to a veteran no matter their circumstances or where they live," Borrello said. "In fact, he has assisted veterans from as far away as California, Texas, Germany and even the Philippines."

Joyce has a reputation in the veterans' community for getting things done that few other VSOs can accomplish.

"Among his many achievements are two cases where he was able to secure 100 percent disability ratings for terminally ill veterans in record time, one within 24 hours and another within 18 hours to make government work that fast. God bless you. That's amazing. Those veterans died with peace of mind knowing that their spouses would receive critically needed survivor benefits."

Kathleen Ryan, a retired VA social worker, said she regularly gets calls from veterans throughout the region looking for help dealing with the Veterans Administration. As a result, she still speaks to Bill Joyce at least once a week.

Ryan is the person who nominated Joyce for the Hall of Fame.

"He never says no," Ryan said. "I don't know, anybody, and I've been in the business for a long time -- I'm a veteran -- I don't know anybody who has worked as hard in the daily grind of veteran work. We're talking about the daily grind of things that come in the door. And Bill has never said no."

She recalled a recent example of Joyce's dedication to serving veterans. She got a phone call from the wife of a veteran who couldn't get the help he needed from another VSO, so Ryan called Joyce.

"I call in the county service officer, and he says, 'I don't do home visits,'" Ryan said. "I say, 'this guy who is going to die is Vietnam Vet One Bravo, which is an infantry unit. He's got his house set up, the living room was set up with a hospital bed. His wife is there, and this man is going to pass any moment. He can't get in the car and go to Livingston County. It was a Thursday. I called up Bill.  He says. 'I've got it. I'm going to Albany. I got to be in Albany on Friday, meet me -- because I live in Rochester -- meet me on the Thruway.' I said, 'Okay.' We met at the Cracker Barrel in the parking lot. I got the paperwork. I've got the medical. I got everything. It's a Friday, Bill took it Saturday ... and he did all the work. By Monday, this guy was 100 certified and he had never even been seen in the VA. Never. And his wife now has spousal benefits and has all the things that she needs. And this man was able to pass away knowing his wife was going to be taken care of."

Assemblyman Steve Hawley noted that Joyce has never traveled to Washington D.C. with other veterans on Hawley's annual Patriot Trip, which is a testament to Joyce's commitment to veterans.

"It's four days and three nights," Hawley said. "He really just doesn't want to travel any more. He's traveled around the world serving our country. But he wants to stay right here every single day, helping our veterans, and for that, I respect him."

County Manager Matt Landers, with his oversight over county finances, noted that some might object to Joyce helping veterans who are not residents of Genesee County.

"Some could argue because Mr. Bill Joyce is paid for with Genesee County resources, that were helping veterans from outside of the county," Landers. "That's not even a discussion that I could have with Mr. Joyce, because there is no border for veterans. So Mr. Bill Joyce attracts them from far and away, and we support his efforts to support any veteran that is in need, whether they come across our boundary or border or he goes to them to wherever they are."

Then turning to Joyce with a smile, said, "Just please, limit the number of countries you visit." 

Verna, Jacqueline, and Amanda, all expressed how proud they are of their father.

"I could think of no one more deserving of this recognition than my dad, from the love he has given his family and the dedication and care he has given to the community of veterans, he has shown," Verna said. "He can do many different roles and excelled greatly at them. He is the prime example of 'Army - Be All You Can Be' because he has been in every way possible."

Jacqueline said, "Dad held many titles -- son, brother, husband, father, friend and soldier, and, specifically to me, my hero."

Amanda said she's inherited a title from her father, "Bill Joyce's Daughter."

"I'm Bill's youngest daughter," Amanda said. "'Bill Joyce's Daughter' is an alternative name I've gone by my whole life, even more commonly than my actual name, because he's a person that everybody knows. No matter where I am, I'm recognized by that title at least once. That's a testimony of how many lives he's touched throughout his many phases of life.

She concluded, "This award presented to him today comes with no surprise to the many that know him. He's passionate about the work he does, always sees any given task through and gets the job done like no other. On any given day, but especially today, I continue to proudly carry the title of Bill Joyce's Daughter."

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Bill Joyce and State Sen. George Borrello.
Photo by Howard Owens.
bill joyce veterans service officer hall of fame
The grandchildren of Bill Joyce leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Photo by Howard Owens.
bill joyce veterans service officer hall of fame
Photo by Howard Owens.
bill joyce veterans service officer hall of fame
Kathleen Ryan, the person who nominated Bill Joyce for the Hall of Fame, speaking.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein.
Photo by Howard Owens
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County Manager Matt Landers.
Photo by Howard Owens.
bill joyce veterans service officer hall of fame
Verna Cromwell speaking.
Photo by Howard Owens.
bill joyce veterans service officer hall of fame
Jacqueline Joyce
Photo by Howard Owens
bill joyce veterans service officer hall of fame

Borrello and Hawley sponsor legislation to pay tribute to fallen hero

By Press Release

Press Release:

sp4-george-harold-fry.jpeg
Submitted photo of 
SP4 George Harold Fry.

In conjunction with the nation’s celebration of Veterans Day, Sen. George Borrello announced that Governor Hochul has signed into law a measure renaming Route 63 in the town of Pavilion as the “SP4 George Harold Fry Memorial Highway.”

Legislation marking the designation was sponsored by Senator Borrello and Assemblyman Stephen Hawley.  

U.S. Army Specialist 4 George Harold Fry, a native of Pavilion, was killed in action on July 11, 1969, along with 20 other members of the 506th Infantry during combat on Hill 996 in the Shau Valley of Vietnam. Specialist Fry’s actions that day are credited with saving the lives of many other members of his unit.  

He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star.

“Specialist Fry gave his life defending his brothers in arms,” Sen. Borrello said. “He is a decorated war hero who served his country with honor and distinction. Dedicating this highway in his name is one small way we can honor the courage, dedication and ultimate sacrifice of this American hero.”  

Assemblyman Hawley said for generations to come, the SP4 George Harold Fry Memorial Highway will stand as a testament to Specialist Fry’s heroism and commitment to his country and freedom.

“As an Army veteran and member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I was honored to sponsor this proposal recognizing one of Western New York’s most valiant, Specialist George Harold Fry. It's fitting that this highway is being memorialized at the same time we're remembering those who served on Veteran's Day,” Assemblyman Hawley said.  

Specialist Fry served with D Company, 1st Battalion, 506th infantry, 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. As an RTO (Radio-Telephone Operator), it was his duty to maintain radio contact between his unit, other platoons and Battalion Command. After two fellow RTO’s were killed early in the assault on July 11, Specialist Fry left the safety of cover to re-establish communication between platoons during the battle, placing himself in jeopardy.

Specialist Fry’s actions enabled his commanding officer to call in artillery support, coordinate the U.S. counter assault and evacuate the wounded. Continuously under fire, Specialist Fry kept transmitting until he too was shot and killed. His company suffered more than 50 percent casualties. Survivors said were it not for Specialist Fry, many more U.S. troops would have been killed or wounded.  

For gallantry in action on July 11, 1969, Specialist Fry received the Silver Star Medal. He also received the Bronze Star Medal for outstanding meritorious service in connection with ground operations against a hostile force during the period of October 22, 1968 to July 11, 1969.  

Additionally, he received the Presidential Unit Citation for Operation Snow for the period of May 10 through May 21, 1969, in the Shau Valley.

“For generations, many of our region’s finest and bravest young men and women have found their calling in military service and safeguarding the liberties we cherish,” Sen. Borrello said. “Specialist Fry was one of those patriots. Naming this highway in his honor commemorates his courageous service to our country and reminds us of the immense contributions America’s veterans have made for us all.

“I want to thank Assemblyman Hawley for sponsoring this legislation in the Assembly and Governor Hochul for signing the bill to honor Specialist Fry who gave his life for our freedom.” 

Hawley, Borrello honor fallen hero with George Harold Fry Memorial Highway

By Press Release

Press Release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C-Batavia) and State Sen. George Borrello (R,C) recently spearheaded an initiative to designate a portion of the state highway system in the county of Genesee as the “SP4 George Harold Fry Memorial Highway.” George Harold Fry, a native of Genesee County, was a Specialist-4 in the Army during the Vietnam War. On July 11, 1969, SP4 Fry gave his life to restore the company’s radio network during an assault by the North Vietnam Army. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his bravery and sacrifice in the battle. As the proposal has been signed by the governor, Hawley is proud to see this local hero get the recognition that he deserves.

“As an Army veteran and member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I was honored to sponsor this proposal recognizing one of Western New York’s most valiant, Specialist George Harold Fry,” said Hawley. “I want to thank Sen. Borrello for carrying this bill in the Senate, and I want to extend my congratulations to the Fry family for this prestigious honor. For generations to come, the SP4 George Harold Fry Memorial Highway will stand as a testament to Specialist Fry’s heroism and commitment to his country and our freedom.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley represents the 139th Assembly District, which includes parts of Erie, Genesee, Monroe, and Orleans counties. For more information, please visit his official website. 

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