Thursday, January 16, 2014

Queens Forum - FROM UNIVERSAL PRE-K TO SANDY AID, CUOMO’S ADDRESS BOOSTS HOPE FOR CHANGE IN QUEENS




Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives his 2014 State of the State address in Albany last week. Photo courtesy NYS Governor’s Office
January 16, 2014
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s annual remarks have some of Queens’ influential voices cautiously optimistic for the days ahead.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) referred to the governor’s 2014 State of the State address as a loose roadmap for legislators across New York and said this year’s trail may lead to progress.
For more than an hour, the governor detailed a robust agenda for the new year, touching on economic reforms, government corruption and bettering the state’s education standing. Cuomo said the high points of his 2014 agenda including transforming a $10 billion state deficit into a $2 billion surplus, reducing unemployment, creating nearly 400,000 new private sector jobs, improving the state’s credit standing with all three rating agencies and increasing exports by 15 percent.
“This one was very interesting,” Addabbo said. “There are things that I’ll certainly take and agree with, like cleaning up Albany, ethics reform and universal pre-k. They are all very important to many of my constituents.”
The southern Queens senator said he often refers to the annual State of the State address come June when the legislative session is preparing to wrap up so he can track the state’s progress. When asked about the governor’s execution of his 2013 agenda, Addabbo said there were some bright spots – sweeping reforms to gun laws – and dark spots – progress in women’s rights.
Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) echoed the senator’s sentiments, throwing her support behind the governor’s education agenda.
“As chair of the Assembly Education Committee, we need sustainable and effective universal pre-k and after-school programs in New York,” she said in a statement. “As the only member of the assembly appointed to the governor’s education reform task force I participated in hearings around our state, I know every child deserves a good education, and parents should have support in being able to effectively balance work and family.”
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Beach) said the governor’s remarks on Superstorm Sandy were particularly important to him. In his address, Cuomo recognized the changing climate and vowed to continue supporting relief efforts as well as a more proactive approach to devastating storms.
“The governor spent a lot of time talking about Sandy recovery,” Goldfeder said. “I’m excited about the infusion of new state resources to make sure our families get back on their feet.”
But on the community level, the reactions to Cuomo’s promises were met with a bit more caution. Community Board 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio of the Forest Hills-Rego Park area said the governor’s enthusiasm and ambitions were made apparent in his address, but actions speak louder than words.
“I hope that his energy comes all the way down to the local community,” the district manager said. “We’re all for economic growth and a strong tax base and strong schools.”
Northeast Queens native Susan Shoshana has been an active and vocal opponent of increased noise pollution coming out of Queens’ two major airports and took to Twitter to applaud Cuomo’s intentions of addressing the issue.
“My [favorite] part was when the governor demoted the Port Authority on airport construction projects,” she said via Twitter.
By Phil Corso

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