A sustained pandemic response and push for an economic recovery, aid for schools and continued efforts to fight climate change are among the half-dozen points in a set of priorities to be released Thursday by state Senate Democratic candidates.
The agenda is backed by a mix of incumbents, including senators James Skoufis, Pete Harckham and Jen Metzger, as well as candidates Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Karen Smythe and Michelle Hinchey.
The measures backed by the Hudson Valley candidates and lawmakers include the encouragement of manufacturing and distribution of personal protective equipment while also shifting the economy's focus to small businesses. At the same time, they also back enacting new protections for nursing homes, which have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Foundation aid for Hudson Valley schools should be fully funded and the region should have a greater share of the Department of Transportation's capital fund.
The property tax system should be overhauled so it places less of an emphasis on seeking revenue from middle-class and older homeowners.
There should be a continued focus on reducing the state's carbon footprint and preserving open spaces. Farmers should be given better incentives, including a minimum wage housing credit for workers and expanded markets for New York products.
Broadband should be universally available and the New York State Bridge Authority should be given more independence.
Some of the priorities will be easier to enact than others, given what is expected to be a difficult state budget season as the pandemic has created an economic crisis and lowered tax revenues.
The Hudson Valley is a corridor of the state seen as a battleground by both parties this November as Republicans seek to climb back into the majority as Democrats gained control of the chamber for the first time in a decade two years ago.
Along with Long Island, the region is key for Democrats to continue their control of the chamber heading into 2021.
“The Mid-Hudson has taken on critical issues these past two years, but there’s much work left and our region’s taxpayers need additional allies and an amplified voice," Skoufis said.
"I’m proud to run with five immensely qualified, forward-looking individuals who will work as a collective to ensure the Mid-Hudson gets our fair share from Albany and our interests are always protected.”