From Assemblyman Steve Hawley:
Since the COVID-19 outbreak hit New York, I’ve been a strong proponent of keeping people safe and healthy. It’s one of the few things I agreed with our governor about. Now that the worst seems to have passed, we need to look back at what was done wrong and try to start making right what we can.
The Assembly Majority makes it seem like that’s what they’re trying to do too, with their most recent virtual hearing focusing on small business advocacy and small business laws. What they fail to realize, amazingly, is that the policies put forth by their leadership and their votes are why many New Yorkers are struggling so much today.
The Assembly Minority Conference, on the other hand, isn’t just now getting back to work. From day one, I’ve been on the phone with constituents, on the ground with aid and assistance, and working tirelessly wherever I could to help my neighbors push through this pandemic. I didn’t sit at home and blame Washington for not giving us more.
I didn’t vote down legislation like the Small Business Recovery Act, which would have used the state’s $890 million reserve fund and redistributed it to struggling local businesses accompanied with zero interest recovery loans. I didn’t agree or support the one-solution-fits-all regional plan that the Majority and governor introduced at the start of this crisis, which in turn stalled state response significantly. That’s what the Majority did.
The Majority sat by and let the state flounder during this pandemic. They gave unilateral power to the governor to make decisions for the entirety of the state with plans based around one city. With so much to do in the coming weeks, we can’t let this continue.
For the good of everyone’s health, for the good of our nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, public service men and women, we followed the plan set forth by the Majority and governor in order to get through the worst this pandemic had to offer. We’re clearly past the worst now.
As we see positive cases subside and the state beginning to reopen, we need to make sure everything returns to the way it was, including the structure of power in the state. The governor did what was necessary to get us through that rough patch. He must now return power to the Legislature, and the Legislature need to get back on its A-game.
From the Department of Labor getting better at giving out unemployment checks to the Department of Health becoming more involved in local investigations of nursing homes, there’s a lot of work to be done moving forward. We are ready to get back to work. We don’t have any interest in blaming Washington. We simply want to get results for those who matter most – the people.