With the election less than a week away, Patch distributed a five-question survey to local candidates. Today, we'll be looking at the candidates in Assembly District 28. Below, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, D-Forest Hills, takes a crack at our survey:
1. What's the most common concern you've heard from constituents this year?
There are trains hauling putrescible and non-putrescible waste through my district that are causing environmental and quality of life issues. I have written and introduced four bills to address these problems.
Improving local schools is also a major priority, which is why I led the fight to ensure that the new Queens Metropolitan High School was locally zoned. I have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to local schools for capital and operational improvements, including a new state of the art playground for P.S.144 and the YAI school for the developmentally disabled in Middle Village, a new cafeteria for P.S.87, and ' Smart Boards' for among other programs.
2. What programs would you eliminate/reduce to help curb the state's multi-billion dollar deficit?
We must continue to uncover and eliminate fraud and abuses of the Medicaid system. Reducing fraud has the potential to save the state millions of dollars. Also, we can reduce government spending by consolidating agencies with similar missions and responsibilities.
2a. Which state programs should be totally off-limits for cuts?
We cannot afford to cut funding to education. We must continue to uphold the Campaign for Fiscal Equity ruling and continue to fund the educational needs of our children.
3. What do you believe your role is in helping grow the economy in your district?
New York must become a leader in emerging industries to stimulate job growth and modernize our economy. To that end, I have written and introduced The New York Renewable Energy Development and Jobs Act of 2010, which is the most expansive policy proposal related to renewable energy in the history of the State of New York.
The proposal is a hybrid model of the Feed-in-Tariff structure used in Germany and Canada and the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) model used in a number of states in the U.S. It will create tens of thousands of jobs in New York States clean energy jobs sector. In addition to the legislation referred to in question one, I was a lead sponsor of the Green Jobs/Green New York bill that passed last year that has brought thousands of jobs to New York by focusing on energy efficiency upgrades and the jobs needed to achieve them while creating a more sustainable infrastructure.
4. Given the state government's gridlock, what's one way you think you can help break Albany's current cycle of dysfunction?
From a process standpoint, requiring the use of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), mandating public budget conference committees, and setting a budget deadline that allows the legislature and the executive to base their budget on actual tax revenues and not on fluctuating projected revenues would be a good start.
We also need to restore the people's faith in government by passing critical reforms on Ethics, Redistricting and Campaign Finance. I have been named a Hero of Reform by Mayor Ed Koch, and I've sponsored and voted for legislation to clean up Albany.
5. List one program or piece of legislation you think would be vital to your district in the coming years that you'd like to spearhead over a two-year term.
What affects the state certainly affects our community. So for me, the top priority is restoring the economy by creating new green tech jobs, and restoring Power for Jobs.
Locally, my top priority is protecting seniors by expanding the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program. I would also work to protect our schools from mid-year funding cuts and fight to ensure the Legislature upholds the commitment laid out in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.