Thursday, January 25, 2007

One New York

Democrats and Republicans, Working Together, Changing Albany. . . Now Wouldn't That Be Nice?

Every once in a long, long while, an elected official comes our way who actually represents the needs of the people he serves. Someone who is in tune with the issues, from that which impacts upon the life of a single constituent, to the big picture, that which impacts upon us all.

Yes, every once in a long, long while, along comes someone like Thomas W. Alfano, an Assemblyman representing the 21st AD on Long Island, who embodies the very spirit of community, serving all of the people with compassion, concern, and, something we rarely see in Albany, a sense of responsibility.

Tom Alfano blurs the line between political parties. In fact, he often crosses it, recognizing that the significant issues which shape our future and define our quality of life defy both political designation and partisan dogma.

Realizing that our children shall one day soon lead us and the communities we live in, Tom Alfano has stood in the forefront (long before "Leave No Child Behind" was so much as a glimmer in Dubya's eye) of the ongoing challenge to bring home to his constituents quality education, assuring that our schools and have the money and our teachers the resources to give those leaders of tomorrow the skills they need to succeed.

There aren't too many true "fiscal conservatives" in Albany -- or in Washington, judging by the defecit and debt -- but looking at the record (including where the Assemblyman appropriates his member-item money), we can safely call Tom Alfano one of the most fiscally prudent men in office.

And shed the label of either Liberal or Conservative, please. If ever there was a progressive in Albany, tempered by thoughtful moderation, it would be Assemblyman Tom Alfano.

Democrats may sneer at the praise we lavish, and his Republican colleagues (at least those who are of the ilk that go around stealing the opposition's lawn signs) will no doubt snicker and grimace at the Assemblyman's genuine embrace of One New York, let alone of his good friend, Eliot Spitzer. And that's too bad, because Tom Alfano not only represents us well in Albany, he represents all that is good, and decent, and fair in government. You can't say that very often these days. We should not miss the opportunity to shout it from the hilltops when we can.

Shame that the GOP faithful haven't cloned Tom Alfano. Then again, he's one of a kind. We still lament that he didn't get the well-deserved nod for Town of Hempstead Supervisor when Rich Guardino resigned to take an academic post at Hofstra. What a different Town, and a far different community, it could have been. . .
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Alfano Teams with Spitzer in “One New York”

Assemblyman Tom Alfano applauded Governor Spitzer’s first “State of the State Address” that called for “One New York.” Alfano, who serves as Assistant Leader of the Assembly, called the speech inspiring and one that he termed “a blueprint for hope, growth and opportunity.” Alfano met with Spitzer after the speech and congratulated him on the address and the initiatives he looks to put forward in the coming weeks and months. “It’s an ambitious agenda and I like it. This Governor wants to change the tone of government and how it works and I’m going to support it,” Alfano said.

The evening before, Alfano participated in strategy sessions with Assemblymembers throughout the State in calling for support of the new Governor’s package of reform and tax relief measures. Alfano also spoke to Governor Spitzer’s Economic Development Czar Pat Foye in an effort to build some immediate consensus on legislation in the coming weeks.

“The Governor’s speech was progressive, thoughtful and inspiring. He’s set out a plan that will make a difference to everyone. It talks about investing in education, taking an active part in the global economy, tax relief and reform. That’s a plan that people throughout the communities I represent said loud and clear in the election. More importantly, it’s what needs to be done to make our State work again. I look forward to being a partner with the new Governor to achieve it,” said Assemblyman Alfano.

According to Alfano, Governor Spitzer outlined a clear agenda that should be easy to get bipartisan consensus. “A lot of the reforms the Governor is talking about are fundamental. Whether the impact is tax relief or more efficient ways of providing services we have a unique opportunity to think outside the box and make fundamental change” Alfano said adding, “I will partner with the Governor to make that happen.”

Alfano pointed to a passage of the Governor’s “State of the State Address” that now adorns a wall in his Albany office as the theme that should motivate everyone in the weeks and months ahead. It reads: “It is tempting and even natural for us to focus on our own problems and our challenges. But the truth is, we rise and fall together.” Alfano said, “That passage is a call to get things done and to work together. That’s always been my way of doing my work and I’m glad that’s what we’re going to do with the Governor as we move forward. These are indeed exciting times.”

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