On a frigid afternoon last week, I met with State Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski in my office in New City. Ken provided an update on a host of key, nonpartisan issues he’s concentrating on for the people of his district, which includes parts of Clarkstown, Haverstraw and Ramapo. Illegal housing, the new Tappan Zee Bridge and mandate relief rose to the top of Ken’s short list of legislative priorities.
It’s no coincidence that Assemblyman Zebrowski’s priorities are shared by my administration. In fact, these are just a few of the critical issues that have an oversize impact on our residents, from Suffern to Stony Point and everywhere in between. In the months ahead, I will work to strengthen collaborative relationships at the local, state and even federal levels to ensure the voices of the people are being heard on the tough issues.
Finding common ground shouldn’t be difficult. After meeting with Zebrowski, and talking recently with Assembly members Ellen Jaffee, James Skoufis and Karl Brabenec and state Senators David Carlucci and Bill Larkin, we discovered there’s a lot that we agree on locally, including job creation, economic development and the preservation of our county. In Albany, these representatives are carrying the torch for our middle-class families by recognizing local needs, including affordable tolls on the Tappan Zee Bridge and relief from skyrocketing property taxes.
As the complex transaction to sell the Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center moves forward, our New York State delegation has been called upon to help. The approvals to transfer ownership of the facility from the Rockland County Health Facilities Corporation (LDC) to a private health care operator now rest with the state Department of Health. Ideally, our representatives will communicate the importance of this transaction to these state regulators. As I have said repeatedly, the sale of Summit Park is vital to the financial turnaround Rockland County. Our state Senators and Assembly members will deliver this message – loud and clear – in Albany.
Solving the Rockland’s problems will be a group effort. Whether working with a county legislator, a town supervisor or an Albany representative, taking steps to improve our economic climate and enhance our quality of life must be a shared mission. When we stand shoulder-to-shoulder and demonstrate our shared interests, we are much more effective. In our meeting last week, Ken Zebrowski made it clear that he appreciates our efforts to bring forward a set of common priorities.
As we continue to navigate beyond our fiscal challenges, we must not forget that collaboration is another way to be efficient and effective. Our entire community will benefit from our discussions in developing a shared agenda. For instance, the county’s progress won’t continue if it is choked and unable to move forward because of higher tolls on the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Our state representatives are keenly aware of this and have pledged to press the issue with Governor Cuomo. They are advocating for all of us.
As your County Executive, I will continue to make certain our local elected officials take a creative approach that looks outside the box to bring about solutions – common-sense, bipartisan solutions. We must work together to turn this great county around.
After all, what lifts Rockland County may lift the entire state.