Tackling the Challenges of the New Year

Tackling the Challenges of the New Year

A legislative column from Assemblyman Ray Walter (R,C,I-Amherst)

             Happy New Year! I hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday season.   I am looking forward to representing the people of the Towns of Amherst and Pendleton and the Village of Williamsville in the 146th district of the New York State Assembly for the next two years.   We will be facing many challenges and will be presented with many opportunities in the upcoming legislative session.  I know that by working together we will meet the challenges and seize the opportunities before us.  

            The tragedy in Newtown, has weighed heavily on our hearts.  As a parent of young children the thought of losing them to some random, senseless act of violence is too awful to consider.  How a person, no matter how evil and deranged, could look down the barrel of a rifle at a five year-old child and pull the trigger is beyond the comprehension of any sane human being.  This evil act forces us to take a hard look at our society and for each of us to make the necessary changes that will decrease the likelihood of this ever happening again.  Finding and enacting solutions to this problem will be a priority in the coming year.

             The New Year also finds our nation peering over the edge of the so called "fiscal cliff".  The federal government has, once again, decided to play a game of chicken with the nation's financial stability and the economic fortunes of all citizens.  Our nation’s leaders have failed to work together in the best interest of the country and are, instead, content to work in what they perceive as their own best interest.  Politics is the art of compromise, and a diverse nation like ours can only be governed when each side is willing to give.  No matter who you may hold ultimately responsible for putting us in this situation, the only way we'll get out of it is if the President and Congressional leaders are willing to make difficult decisions that may not be popular with their supporters.

             In New York we have taken some steps in the right direction and there have been some glimmers of hope for us to build on.  After months of threatening to raise tolls by 45% the Thruway Authority relented and found cost savings within its bloated bureaucracy.  They finally responded to the elected officials, businesses, and people of our state who said enough is enough.  More changes need to take place and I have co-sponsored a bill that will ensure increased accountability at the Thruway Authority. 

                       There is hard work ahead for this year’s legislative session.  The devastation from Hurricane Sandy and the budget uncertainty created by the fiscal cliff will impact NY’s budget considerably.  I will continue to work across party lines and regional differences to improve the lives of people in my district and all New Yorkers.  If there are issues that are important to you please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 634-1895 or walterr@assembly.state.ny.us.

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