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COLUMN: Direction of legislative year should focus on job development

— The Governor gave his annual State of the State address on Jan. 9 in Albany. This speech outlined the Executive's agenda. While there were many things I was glad to hear the Governor mention, the majority of our efforts should focus on creating jobs rather than gun control and campaign finance.

We’ve made great strides as a state to control spending. We should build on these efforts to create more economic opportunity in our region. I was pleased to hear Upstate New York discussed in his speech and no new taxes proposed. I support providing resources to turn research into jobs for our region and build on the progress we've made in recent years. Linking community colleges with employers and providing training will hopefully create more skilled workers for the manufacturers we have here.

Some of the proposals on gun control may go too far, however, to limit our Second Amendment Rights. New York already has some of the strongest gun control laws in the nation. We already ban assault weapons and have background checks in place. We have to be careful when we pass legislation that we're passing laws that will address some of the violent tragedies we've experienced and not just passing gun control laws that limit our right to bear arms. I support strengthening our public and school safety, as well as access to mental health services, if these changes can help prevent a tragedy like what happened in Connecticut and Webster again.

At the same time the Governor is suggesting we limit our Second Amendment Rights, he also proposes we limit our First Amendment Rights with publicly financed campaigns. When it comes to campaign finance, I am in favor of greater disclosure but do not support publicly financed campaigns. All Americans have the right to expressly give to a political cause or party as part of our First Amendment Rights. I'll be interested in what he has to say but am hesitant about any type of proposal that would restrain speech.

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