Assemblywoman Buttenschon Attends Press Conferences to Discuss Issues Facing the Mohawk Valley

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) attended three press conferences this week to help ensure the Mohawk Valley receives the funding it needs to support local schools, nonprofits and childcare programs.

“During these difficult times, Mohawk Valley residents need strong leadership and action to forge a path toward a brighter future,” Buttenschon said. “That’s why my fellow legislators and I are continuing to fight to ensure the needs and concerns of the communities we vowed to represent are heard and progress is made. I’ll continue to use my voice to fight for the Mohawk Valley and protect the crucial programs and services that our families need and deserve.”

On Tuesday, Buttenschon met with the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), students and education advocates to urge New York State to release all payments due to school districts before fall classes begin. This discussion comes after the state Division of Budget’s announcement last week that it would be withholding 20% of aid to school districts.

Our schools are already facing a heightened amount of uncertainty and stress as they begin to open their doors to in-person learning during a pandemic and denying them this funding to safely reopen and protect our students and teachers is simply unfathomable, Buttenschon noted.

As a former educator herself, Buttenschon has always been a strong advocate for education. Last year, she secured $430,000 in additional funding for Mohawk Valley schools, which prevented the elimination of 30 teaching positions in the Rome City School District.

Buttenschon also attended a press conference on Wednesday to urge the governor to revoke his order suspending prompt payment laws in New York State, which has caused severe financial struggles and even forced some nonprofits to shut down their services altogether. Buttenschon signed a letter to the governor requesting that Executive Order 202.55 is rescinded and called for the state to provide sufficient funding to nonprofits so they can help our most vulnerable residents recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to offer important services and jobs in our communities.

The press conference Buttenschon attended Thursday was held to urge the governor to release $70 million in available childcare funding to support the many childcare programs and centers for school-aged children across the state that were forced to close due to COVID-19. Despite the financial hardships these providers continue to face, the state has withheld funding from the federal CARES Act, as well as millions of dollars in outstanding payments. Buttenschon signed a letter to the governor, which was sent earlier this month, suggesting that the state compensate Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) providers as well as use this funding on hand to support child care programs that are in the process of reopening or stayed open during these unprecedented times.

To further ensure Mohawk Valley families have access to the programs they need, Buttenschon co-sponsored a bill to direct the state Office of Children and Family Services to study, make recommendations and report on the availability of child day care and child care assistance as well as determine the unmet needs of child care subsidies (A.7873).

“As your representative in Albany, improving the quality of life for families here in the Mohawk Valley starts with open and honest dialogue,” said Buttenschon. “I want to assure you that your needs and concerns will not fall on deaf ears, and I’ll always work to ensure every discussion is met with action.”