The Sarita Difference
Politics is so often about taking a "divide and conquer" strategy. This may be an effective strategy for the career politicians who want to remain in power, but it is not a winning strategy for our communities.
I am an attorney, a trained mediator, and a member of our community. I am not a career politician nor beholden to the special interests that govern our leaders in Albany. I am running to serve the good people of the 99th Assembly District because we need representation that will be reflective of our values, not party politics.
Growing up in Wawayanda, I was raised by two parents from different backgrounds, cultures, and faiths. From them, I learned that our common humanity unifies us, that we are almost always more alike than we realize.
In Albany, I plan to work across the aisle to represent our purple district. I will fight for all of the constituents in the 99th Assembly District, whether they are Democrat, Republican, or somewhere in between. I recognize that every voice matters. That’s the Sarita difference.
Keeping the Hudson Valley Affordable
In my law practice and throughout our community, I’ve met far too many people unable to remain in the communities they love and have helped build because their taxes and other expenses are simply too high.
I will fight to lower our property taxes so that retirees and young families alike can afford to remain in the communities they love. New York is facing an unprecedented economic challenge and there’s no time to waste. Those who have taken unfair advantage of hardworking New Yorkers over the years through our broken tax system need to be held to account and finally do their part.
In the Assembly, I am committed to lowering taxes for working and middle-class families and to making sure you get the most bang for your buck by identifying and eradicating wasteful spending. This means going line-by-line and working with representatives across the aisle at the local and state level to maximize efficiency, from consolidating public services for villages and towns to reevaluating our Medicaid qualification system, school funding, and duplication of administrative services at all levels of government. I am dedicated to ensuring young families and retirees alike can remain in the communities they love.
Improving Healthcare Access and
Supporting Small Businesses
One of the major lessons of this pandemic is that viruses do not respect boundaries. They do not care whether or not you have health insurance. A public health crisis is only exacerbated when people do not have access to affordable healthcare and/or refuse to stay home when they are sick because they are too worried about job security or paying their bills.
We strengthen our economy and public health and safety when we provide good affordable healthcare options to everyone. This means looking at the health insurance plans currently available to our elected officials and examining how much they pay out of pocket for that insurance and how much their employer -- i.e., the taxpayer (you and me) -- pays for that care.
As a small business owner, I strongly believe in and will fight for support for our small businesses, many of which are struggling to survive right now as they are technically “open for business” but operating at reduced capacity.
One way to do that is to pass legislation that no small business owner, self-employed person, or employee in the private sector has to pay more for his or her own healthcare than an elected official does. This will provide important and practical cost savings to small businesses and will provide the kind of reassurance new entrepreneurs need that they will have the tools they need.
We need to start making sure our healthcare system works for the people who need it. Whether it’s lowering the price of prescription drugs, taking on the private insurance lobby’s manipulation of hardworking people, or ensuring easier access to healthcare services.
Protecting Our Seniors and Aging in Place
Whether it's our parents or our neighbors, the senior members of our community deserve the right to comfortably age in place and remain in the communities they call home. As an elder law attorney, I recognize the issues facing seniors and as a Member of the Assembly, I will work on your behalf to lower property taxes and to ensure the availability of quality and affordable homecare services, assisted living facilities, nursing home services, and public transportation.
Providing seniors with the ability to age in place is important not only for seniors but for New York’s economy. It is often less expensive to care for seniors in their own homes, making it more practical from a budget perspective. More importantly, seniors frequently want to be able to remain in their own homes provided that they can do so safely while obtaining the support services they need.
Having recently witnessed the nursing home shutdowns caused by the pandemic and the resulting inability of family members to visit loved ones in congregant settings for months at a time, I know that it is vital that we help seniors to remain in their own homes where their loved ones are able to visit them.
Support networks of families and friends are essential for physical, mental, and emotional health, no matter your age.
Supporting and Improving Our Public Schools
As a former public school teacher, I will always vote to fully fund our schools and give our educators and our students the resources they need to succeed (including STEM programs, AP Courses, the arts, and proper access to guidance counselors). At the same time, I will be reevaluating how our schools are funded in our annual state education budget.
It is my primary goal to shift school funding away from a property tax base which places an undue burden on homeowners and which often drives commercial construction projects irrespective of whether such projects otherwise bring value to the municipality.
I am committed to keeping our students and school staff fully equipped to do their best under the ongoing pandemic. This includes providing districts and teachers the tools they need to educate safely, from PPE needed to keep our in-person staff, teachers, and students safe to additional broadband access and technology required for remote and virtual schooling.
I will also advocate for and support common sense gun legislation designed to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals as well as ban 3-D printed “ghost guns.” Furthermore, I will work with my colleagues in the Assembly to pass measures that allow for better police notification systems for both teachers and staff in the case of a school shooter-related emergency.
Energy and the Environment
Climate change poses irreversible damage to our environment both abroad and right here in the Hudson Valley. From protecting our natural resources to opposing Danskammer and CPV, in the Assembly I’ll protect our natural resources while ushering in a new era of clean energy and jobs for our communities and state by:
Upholding the NYS Climate Leadership and Protection Act which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions in NYS by 85% before 2050 and creates new standards for transportation, land preservation, and construction to protect and preserve our natural resources;
Opposing the expansion of the Danskammer Power Plant on the banks of the Hudson River which, if approved, would pollute our water and air in the immediate areas of Newburgh, New Windsor, Cornwall and surrounding areas in the district. Instead, I would support using this site for the construction of a renewable energy storage plant as proposed by Scenic Hudson.
Ending CPV’s chokehold on the Town of Wawayanda by making the plant adhere to NYS’ energy plan.
Introducing legislation to ban the issuing of permits for new fossil fuel plants and instead usher in an age of renewable wind and solar energy that protects our land, air, and water and that will create thousands of new, well-paying jobs for skilled workers.
Taking Care of Our Veterans
Our nation’s bravest men and women gave their all to protect us abroad, we must do everything in our power to protect them at home. Often upon return, our veterans are likely to face new battles from mental health issues like PTSD and depression, housing and job insecurity, in addition to physical ailments sustained during their time deployed.
While resources to help our veterans exist they remain severely underfunded and unreliable. I’m honored to live and serve in an area with so much significance to our military from the US Military Academy and base at West Point to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. In the Assembly, I’ll fight to protect our veterans by investing and improving access to job training and employment opportunities, veteran university and trade education programs, mental and physical healthcare (including therapy and substance abuse counseling), as well housing assistance.
Closing the unemployment gap for veterans by working with public and private sector companies new and old to our district to create a combat to employment pipeline through the creation of fellowships leading to eventual full-time employment with benefits.
Investing in mental health resources and creating provisions for access to therapy and substance abuse programs.
Rebuilding and growing our VA Hospital Program and capacity here in New York State to be more accommodating of a growing and aging veteran population.