Senator Elaine Phillips said she was encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s State of the State’s focus on combating sexual harassment, eradicating MS-13 gang activity, protecting domestic violence victims, continuing the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the redevelopment of Belmont Park and containing and treating the U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman contamination plume.
“There is no place in our government, or society as a whole, for sexual assault or harassment and I am pleased Governor Cuomo is supporting my sexual harassment legislation, which provides sweeping new protections for victims, aims to punish abusers, and prevent further harassment in the workplace,” Senator Phillips said. “As elected officials, we must do all that is possible to protect those who have been forced to carry the burden of harassment and I look forward to working with the governor to enact new laws and policies to end harassment.”
The eradication of gangs such as MS-13 from communities throughout New York State, especially on Long Island, is imperative as the deadly gang continues to infiltrate schools and recruit youth members.
“Gangs such as MS-13 are brutally and mercilessly preying on people across New York State, and they must be stopped,” Senator Phillips said. “We must continue to target the gang’s growing youth recruitment efforts by offering programs and outreach that protect students who are most vulnerable. I applaud the governor’s commitment to expanding the Empire State Afterschool program in at-risk areas and I will work with officials to bring these vital investments to schools and organizations located in the 7th District.”
During her first year as state senator, Senator Phillips worked with her senate republican colleagues to protect domestic violence victims by strengthening laws, raising awareness and fighting to secure important funding to assist domestic violence prevention organizations.
“Protecting women and children from domestic violence and passing tougher sentencing laws for violent criminals is paramount,” Senator Phillips said. I look forward to working with the governor and my colleagues to find a common ground and provide further protections, prevention education programs and services for victims of domestic violence.”
Senator Phillips reiterated that the Empire State Development Corporation’s (ESDC) selection of the New York Islanders’ bid for redevelopment at Belmont Park was a long overdue decision, one that unnecessarily stalled growth in the region for years.
“The foundation has now been laid to make Belmont Park a reinvigorated economic engine for our region, which will strengthen the already existing racing industry, and make Nassau County a destination location,” Senator Phillips said. “This development will create much needed job growth, contribute to economic development and enhance the business district along the Hempstead Turnpike Corridor. I am pleased the governor recognizes the significant and positive impact this development will have on our region and hope he will join my efforts to ensure the surrounding communities’ voices are heard throughout the duration of the redevelopment process.”
Continuing her effort to protect Long Island’s drinking water, Senator Phillips applauded the governor’s effort to fast track the state-of-the-art containment and treatment of the U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman Contamination Plume.
“Ensuring our Long Island water resources remain safe for current residents and future generations has been one of my top priorities since day one,” Senator Phillips said. “With Long Islanders solely relying on groundwater aquifers, it is imperative we to hold Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy accountable for the swift cleanup of their toxic contamination.”
Another top environmental priority for Senator Phillips is halting the NYC DEP from re-permitting and reactivating 68 public supply water wells in Queens County that access Long Island’s groundwater aquifers.
“Last year, the Senate passed my legislation, which restricts the DEC’s ability to issue certain renewal permits. Renewals would be limited to an emergency need due to water supply shortages and prolonged multi-year drought conditions,” Senator Phillips said. “Unfortunately, the measure stalled in the Assembly. The reactivation of the Queens wells presents a serious threat to our sole source aquifers, a threat that Long Islanders should not and must not accept and I will continue my efforts this year to protect the water supply.”
With Hicksville and the Village of Westbury undergoing major revitalizations through the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative program, Senator Phillips said she hopes the process is carried out with transparency so residents have a voice in transforming both downtown areas and future grantees into booming economic areas.
Although not mentioned in the Governor’s address, Senator Phillips is committed to advancing the fight in combating the heroin and opioid epidemic—an issue that continues to plague communities across the state, including Long Island.
“It is paramount that we continue giving law enforcement and treatment providers stronger tools and additional resources to face this crisis head-on,” Senator Phillips said. “Heroin and opioid addiction continues to be the highest growing epidemic in our nation. We are losing the battle and communities all across Long Island have stories of the devastation this addiction leaves in its wake.”
“As the 2018 legislative session convenes, I look forward to building upon last year’s momentum—a year in which we held the line on taxes, enacted an historic Women’s Equality Agenda, delivered record support for education, provided the largest single investment in clean water in our state’s history, funded critical upgrades to aging infrastructure, and worked to improve the overall quality of life for the hardworking taxpayers of our state and region,” Senator Phillips said.
—Submitted by the office of Senator Elaine Phillips