Community Leaders Advocate for Local Priorities

CHESTER – Friday, State Senators Jen Metzger (SD-42) and James Skoufis (SD-39) held a press conference at the Chester Public Library – standing with local elected leaders, teachers, highway supervisors, school superintendents, library and healthcare administrators, and community organizations to advocate for budget priorities that will ensure communities receive critical supports and services in the final 2019-2020 state budget.

“As a new Senator who has spent years working at the local level, I want to make sure our state budget is responsive to the needs and priorities of our communities,” said Senator Jen Metzger. “The way to do that is by working with, and listening to, our local leaders and community members, and our Senate budget proposal reflects this input. As the final budget is negotiated over the next week, I will continue to advocate for the resources that we need for our schools, libraries, emergency services, roads and bridges, and needed programs to address the opioid crisis, lyme epidemic, and other challenges we face.”

Senator Skoufis said, “Working with my colleague Senator Jen Metzger, local elected officials, and disability and education advocates, we are standing together to ensure our voices are heard in the final days of budget negotiations. The Senate budget proposal restored money for programs essential to the structure and stability of our communities, including essential healthcare funding and local government services. Hearing from our constituents about how this funding directly affects their lives is crucial before enacting a final state budget. It’s about time the Hudson Valley got its fair share of resources and respect from Albany – I won’t stop fighting until we get it.”

Goshen Town Supervisor Douglas Bloomfield, Goshen Town Board Member Ken Newbold, President & CEO of Cornerstone Family Healthcare Linda Muller, Cornwall-on-Hudson Village Mayor Brendan Coyne, Chester Highway Superintendent Anthony Laspina, President of the Tri-County Community Partnership and Program Director of Hope Not Handcuffs Hudson Valley Annette Kahrs, and Assistant Director and Outreach Coordinator of the Ramapo Catskill Library System Grace Riario all made remarks at the press conference.

The Senate, Assembly, and Governor have one week remaining to negotiate the final 2019-2020 budget in order to meet the April 1 budget deadline.

Both Senators recognized the constraints of the budget deficit and the need to remain fiscally responsible while also protecting programs and funding critical to the well-being of the communities that they serve.

“There are difficult decisions that will need to be made, but we must ensure that we balance the budget while making sure our communities get the resources they need and deserve,” Metzger concluded. “It’s a matter of priorities.”

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