Time to Tackle Bread and Butter Issues

First, I would like to thank the voters of the 142nd District for trusting me to represent you for another term in the New York State Assembly. Times have been difficult, but I know better days are ahead if we work together and focus on the issues that matter most.

There are certain realities we are facing as a state and as a nation that need to be front and center when we begin discussing the next legislative session, the first of which is getting control of the pandemic while supporting workers and small businesses. We are in a fiscal crisis and some businesses are shutting their doors for good. This is unacceptable and must be addressed. Under new federal leadership, I am hopeful that states, municipalities, and businesses will receive the much-needed help that we have been requesting for months.

Unfortunately, federal aid will not be enough to pull New York out of fiscal instability. While many of our neighbors have struggled to put food on the table, the richest and most powerful have profited off of this pandemic. We’re in a crisis where folks are turning to food banks for the first time in their lives and people are losing their businesses; it’s not right for those at the top to see their already enormous wealth grow while so many suffer. Those individuals need to pay their fair share which is why I am pushing for an ultra-millionaires tax and a reinstatement of the stock transfer tax.

Another issue this pandemic has brought to the foreground is the digital divide. In 2020 – especially during an ongoing pandemic resulting in increased reliance on web-based programs for work and education – a lack of access to internet in any household is unacceptable. When I was a County Legislator, I formed the Erie County Broadband Committee and published a white paper outlining a plan to create a municipal broadband system. Next year, I will work to make meaningful expansion of broadband access to all Western New Yorkers a reality.

Other bread and butter issues that will be at the top of my priority list heading into 2021? Protecting Lake Erie and holding polluters accountable by passing the Lake Erie Bill of Rights and creating a commission to eliminate the use of harmful single-use plastics in New York State, standing up to big banks, supporting organized labor, and fighting for working families.

The challenges ahead of us are immense, but I look forward to heading back to Albany and continuing to fight for my constituents, our environment, and the wellbeing of all New Yorkers. As always, you can reach out to my office with any questions or concerns at (716) 608-6099 or by email at burkep@nyassembly.gov.