Making the decision to run for Assembly was not one that I took lightly. I knew that with this position would come great responsibility — responsibility for my actions, responsibility for the people that I represent, and responsibility to the great State of New York.

It is because of these responsibilities that I strive to continue to better myself as a person and as a leader. I am a veteran, a farmer, a business owner, and a previous town and county supervisor; those responsibilities taught me something that I did not previously know, both about myself and about the world.

One of the best lessons that I have learned thus far is it is OK to disagree. Disagreements lead to discussions; discussions lead to change. I am currently working to kick-start these discussions.

I have reached out to community leaders in this district to set up round-table discussions regarding the issues that are creating a divisiveness in our region and in our country. It is important that we discuss our disagreements, establish an understanding of each side, and work toward change.

Speaking with our leaders and the constituents in this area to understand and discuss a path forward will allow me to represent the needs and values of Upstate New York in Albany. I will continue to stress that we need legislation to be treated separately in the different regions; and I have co-sponsored legislation that recognizes this. One size does not fit all for New Yorkers. This is a big change, set up through discussions, brought to the table because of disagreements.

Disagreements do not have to result in anger, they can result in change.

In my first two-year term as your assemblyman, I was asked to chair the task force for the Assembly minority to represent the residents affected by Plan 2014, which was implemented to restore wetlands and natural habitats. This implementation had detrimental effects along our lakeshores. I will work with the IJC, through this task force to protect our residents, their homes, and the businesses along our lakeshores.

As a leader, it is important to recognize and accept that sometimes changes result in unexpected consequences and we need to go back to the drawing board to reevaluate. Additionally, I will continue to push for legislation that provides funding for the Finger Lakes. The Finger Lakes are what make Upstate New York so unique. It is my priority to protect our natural resources that are so important to this region.

A few other issues that I have as top priorities include continuing to expand broadband to reach all families, students, school teachers and businesses; homelessness — both the issues that lead to homelessness and providing paths that will lead to safe, affordable, permanent housing; all issues surrounding mental health and supporting funding that provides for those experiencing mental health issues, as well as those providing services; protecting our elderly, frail and disabled; and protecting our veterans, with a strong focus on the alarming connection between our veterans and suicide.

As your assemblyman, I have had the opportunity to support these issues that affect our region and those that live and work here. I am both grateful and humble that you chose me to represent you. I am asking for your support to continue the work that I have started and that you allow me to continue to listen to your issues, create a discussion for understanding and work toward change. Upstate New York matters.

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