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  • Writer's pictureJess Marciano

NY Dems Newsletter



Governor Hochul Launches Statewide Listening Tour on Youth Mental Health By: Governor Kathy Hochul

Governor Hochul launched a statewide listening tour on youth mental health: Governor Kathy Hochul announced a statewide series of listening sessions and a spring summit aimed at exploring the issues impacting the mental health of youth throughout New York State. Together, these initiatives will build on the Governor's $1 billion plan to overhaul New York State's mental health continuum of care and provide an opportunity for experts to advise state leaders on future policy recommendations to improve youth wellness. "As New York State's first female governor and the only mother to hold this office, I'm deeply disturbed by recent reports on instances of teen depression - especially following the isolation and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic," Governor Hochul said. "It's time we put the mental well-being of our youth at the forefront and listen what they're going through to gain a deeper understanding of this issue and meaningfully address the problems young New Yorkers face." Coordinated by the state Office of Mental Health and the Office of Children and Family Services, the listening sessions are expected to be scheduled throughout the state this Spring. Each session will be moderated by representatives from these agencies and will involve a cross section of school-age youth from each host community. Governor Hochul will also convene a Summit on Youth Mental Health and Wellness in May, coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Month. The summit will bring together youth and parents with a broad array of subject experts from the mental health, education, technology, and law enforcement fields to discuss the challenges and opportunities impacting the well-being of our youth, including the role social media plays in their lives. The Governor launched these new initiatives by hosting the first listening session with teens at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Teens participating from schools in New York City were asked to discuss how the pandemic impacted their mental health; the evolving role social media has played in their lives; how schools can promote wellness among their students; the types of mental health programs they could envision helping them at school; and the advice they'd give to their peers struggling with mental health issues. Last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued its Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which found alarming mental health trends among school-aged youth between 2011 and 2021 - especially among teen girls. Nearly a third of teen girls seriously considered attempting suicide in 2021, an increase from 19 percent the prior decade; about three in five felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, which was twice the rate of teen boys and represents a nearly 60 percent increase over the rate recorded in 2011. The report also found that youth from marginalized populations are more likely to suffer mental health issues: More than half of LGBTQ+ students expressed having poor mental health, with one in five reporting having attempted suicide in the past year. Suicide attempts were also elevated among Black youth when compared to White youth, according to the report.

Hazel Dukes being honored with street naming in Roslyn Heights By: Thomas DiNapoli

Civil rights activist Hazel Dukes honored with street naming in Roslyn Heights: For her lifetime of work fighting for equality and justice, Hazel N. Dukes has been bestowed with countless honors and distinctions. The latest recognition, though, held special meaning to the civil rights activist. “This is home,” Dukes said Saturday to a crowd of more than 250 people in Roslyn Heights where she once lived. The Town of North Hempstead honored Dukes, who now lives in Manhattan, by naming a street in her honor during a ceremony on the day after her 91st birthday. As dozens of friends and colleagues held up cellphones, Dukes pulled a yellow tassel to reveal the “Dr. Hazel Dukes Way” street sign that now stands on Edwards Street by the Roslyn Gardens apartment complex. “Dr. Dukes, in North Hempstead, is our Rosa Parks,” said Town Councilman Robert Troiano, who led the ceremony along with Nassau County Legis. Siela Bynoe (D-Westbury). The street sign will serve as a reminder for future generations of the struggle Dukes faced to combat housing discrimination, a problem still evident across Long Island, speakers said. In her remarks, Dukes referenced Newsday’s Long Island Divided series in 2019 that exposed unequal treatment of minority homebuyers. Marge Rogatz, a Port Washington social justice advocate who celebrated her 95th birthday Saturday, told the story of the late 1950s when she and Dukes devised a plan to confront housing discrimination. Dukes applied for an apartment and as expected was denied. Rogatz and another white friend went to the same apartment complex, where a vacancy sign advertised openings. When Rogatz was offered an apartment, she and Dukes contacted an attorney and the trio quickly returned to the apartment complex. “Needless to say, that day, Hazel got her apartment,” Rogatz said. Rogatz told Newsday that Dukes has the same energy now as when she was in her 20s. “She’s a phenomenon that has nothing to do with anything that anyone could explain, because she’s one of a kind,” Rogatz said. Church leaders, members of the NAACP, elected officials and so many others whom Dukes has influenced, guided and inspired over the years attended Saturday. New York Attorney General Letitia James, former Gov. David Paterson and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli all shared stories of Dukes and her indelible impact to fight systemic racism. “I know I stand on the shoulders of ‘Mama’ Dukes,” said James, who is the first Black woman to hold the attorney general position in New York. “You inspire all who have had the privilege to see you in action.” DiNapoli described himself as one of the early graduates of the “Hazel N. Dukes school of civic engagement and activism.” He said Dukes, a woman “of strength and valor,” was an early mentor for him who encouraged him to run for school board when he was only 18. Toward the end of her speech, Dukes urged the attendees to carry the torch and “make the Town of North Hempstead what it should be.” “I paved the way for you,” she said. “Don’t be afraid. God is on your side. … Stand up. This is your day.”


Governor Hochul announced the start of construction on a $24 million affordable housing development: Governor Kathy Hochul announced the start of construction on Huntington Apartments, a $24 million adaptive re-use of the 19th-century era Huntington Building in Seneca Falls. When complete, the development will feature 53 affordable apartments in an energy-efficient building, including 27 with supportive services for veterans in need of housing. "Huntington Apartments will provide a new future to dozens of families and veterans while preserving a piece of Seneca Falls history," Governor Hochul said. "My administration is committed to harnessing the potential of community assets like the Huntington Building to boost the housing supply for families, increase quality of life, and create the vibrant, affordable communities that all New Yorkers deserve." Located at the corner of Fall Street and the Veteran's Memorial Bridge, Huntington Apartments is being developed by Home Leasing and will utilize the existing three-story historic building, rebuild the previously demolished fourth story, while also incorporating an addition to the west side of the building. The completed development will consist of five studio apartments, 45 one-bedroom, and three two-bedroom apartments, with one unit set aside for the building's superintendent. There will be 31 apartments affordable to households earning at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income, with the remaining 21 apartments affordable to those at or below 60 percent of the AMI. Supportive services and rental subsidies for 27 apartments will be provided by Eagle Star Housing and are funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance. Services being provided include case management, transportation services, connectivity to substance abuse, and medical and mental health services. Huntington Apartments will meet EPA Energy Star Certified Homes V3.1 program and Enterprise Green Communities 2020 standards. All apartments will utilize Energy Star appliances and central air conditioning. The announcement complements Governor Hochul's Housing Compact, a multi-faceted strategy designed to address New York's historic housing shortage by building 800,000 new homes over the next decade. The Housing Compact will encourage growth by removing barriers to housing production, incentivizing new construction, and setting local housing targets across every community. The Housing Compact follows last year's launch of the Governor's $25 billion comprehensive Housing Plan that will create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes across New York including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes. The redevelopment of Huntington Apartments is part of Seneca Falls' Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The town was selected as the Finger Lakes region winner of the $10 million DRI award in Round Four. The DRI serves as a component of the State's economic development policy by transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that offer a high quality of life and attract businesses, jobs and economic and housing diversity. New York State Homes and Community Renewal invested federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits in Huntington Apartments that will generate $12.1 million in equity, as well as $3.7 million in subsidy. The New York State Historic Preservation Office provided $7.1 million in federal and state historic tax credits. The New York State Department of State provided $800,000 as part of the DRI, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $51,800 from its Multi-Family New Construction program. The Community Preservation Corporation, a nonprofit multifamily finance company, is providing a SONYMA-insured $475,000 permanent loan to support the project. In the last five years, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested over $20 million in Seneca County to create or preserve more than 200 affordable homes.

Rendering of South Broadway Bridge By: Governor Kathy Hochul

Governor Hochul announced the start of a $13.9 million multimodal project over thruway in Westchester county: Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Thruway Authority will commence a $13.9 million multimodal project along South Broadway Route 9 in the Village of Tarrytown in Westchester County. The multifaceted project will extend the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge side path south to Lyndhurst Mansion and includes the construction of a 270-foot-long pedestrian bridge over the Thruway I-87/I-287 to improve access and enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists. "Expanding pedestrian and cycling access along the Hudson River is essential to connecting communities for recreation and commuting," Governor Hochul said. "This partnership between the Thruway Authority and the Department of Transportation will provide fantastic new services to residents of Tarrytown and the visitors of the Hudson Valley -- creating safer, more connected communities." The New York State Department of Transportation is a funding partner on the two-year project, which will also:

  • Widen the ramps at Thruway Interchange 9 leading to and from South Broadway;

  • Add a second left turn lane from South Broadway to the southbound Thruway entrance ramp;

  • Install a traffic signal on South Broadway at Paulding Avenue to make it safer for motorists to turn;

  • Repair and resurface South Broadway from Route 119 to just south of Gracemere Lane;

  • Relocate a village water main onto the South Broadway bridge.

Upon completion of the project at the end of 2024, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge's side path will extend approximately one mile south from the path's Westchester Landing at 333 South Broadway in Tarrytown to Lyndhurst Mansion, where pedestrians and cyclists will be able to seamlessly connect with the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. The side path currently ends at a high-volume jug handle where South Broadway meets Route 119. More than 500,000 people have visited the bridge's 3.6-mile path since it opened in June 2020. (Source: Governor Kathy Hochul's Pressroom)

Senator Gillibrand, Congressmember Meng, and Advocates lead call for action to address the underreporting of hate crimes: U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-Queens) were joined by community leaders in calling for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to look into the compliance of law enforcement agencies with the national system to report data on hate crimes. Senator Gillibrand and Representative Meng led their colleagues, Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Dan Goldman (D-NY), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), in sending a bipartisan letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting an overview of the status of National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) compliance among law enforcement agencies across the country. The letter also requests recommendations to increase participation in order to ensure the accuracy of future federal hate crimes data. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 2021 Hate Crimes Statistics report, originally released late last year, found that a significant number of law enforcement agencies had failed to report hate crimes through the FBI’s NIBRS data collection system, resulting in unreliable data and artificially low numbers of hate incidents as compared to previous years. 2021 was the first year that the FBI fully transitioned from its original reporting mechanism, the Summary Reporting System (SRS), to NIBRS. While SRS allowed agencies to aggregate totals of several categories of crime, NIBRS captures greater specificity and context about each individual crime, including victim and offender demographics, location and timing, and information on separate offenses within the crime incident. Bringing law enforcement agencies into compliance with NIBRS will help capture accurate and timely crime data that both local and federal law enforcement agencies can use to evaluate and identify solutions to mitigate further hate crimes and incidents. “Keeping up-to-date data for these incidents is imperative for law enforcement agencies to be able to do the work needed to combat hate crimes,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “While we commend the steps local law enforcement and the Department of Justice have taken in responding to such incidents, reporting, collecting and maintaining the most accurate data available is crucial in evaluating and responding to hate-related crimes as well as keeping our neighborhoods safe from such reprehensible attacks. Hate has no place in New York and it takes everyone, working together, to defeat it.” “There is no place for hate in New York or anywhere in our country, and to help combat hate crimes, we need accurate and updated data to help law enforcement keep our communities safe from these despicable and heinous acts,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng. “We look forward to receiving answers from the Justice Department to better understand the status of law enforcement agencies transitioning to NIBRS, and I thank Senator Gillibrand for partnering with me on this crucial effort to better protect people from bias crimes.”


Governor Hochul joins U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg for an announcement in Buffalo By: Governor Kathy Hochul

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visits Buffalo with federal funding for Kensington Expressway project: U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was in Buffalo Friday, joined alongside federal, state and local lawmakers, to see firsthand what the future holds for the Kensington Expressway. For more than half a century, residents on Buffalo’s East Side have lived in a neighborhood divided by concrete. “We’re not waiting another year to correct an injustice that has plagued this city for far too many years,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul. The federal program called Reconnecting Communities reconstructs highways created in the 1950s and 60s, Route 33 being one of them. “Look how beautiful Humboldt Parkway was historically. It was stunning,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “It was a glorious community where families could communicate to their neighbors, walk across the street. You look today and it’s divided by the highway.” The City of Buffalo received $55 million as part of the Reconnecting Communities program. “Just as this problem played out over years, we know it has taken years to get to this point,” Buttigieg said. “Now we need to see this through.” Back in May, state leaders announced $1 billion will go toward this project. The massive makeover will replace the expressway with a six-lane tunnel going from under Dodge Street to Sydney Street. On top, Humboldt Parkway will be transformed as a space for drivers and pedestrians, the streets lined with trees, gardens and benches. Officials are calling it the largest infrastructure project in Western New York history, and one of the biggest happening across the country. “The solution is different in different places,” Buttigieg said. “In this case, it is very clear that the right solution is the one that the community has been working so hard to coalesce around. And it’s that community vision, coupled with a forward-thinking State Department of Transportation, strong congressional involvement and local leadership, that has demonstrated to us, even in this very competitive process, that this project deserves funding.” Lawmakers say they expect shovels in the ground for this project within the year. Local hiring will be mandated, creating hundreds of jobs here in Western New York.

Biden-⁠Harris Administration takes new action to conserve and restore America’s lands and waters: At the White House Conservation in Action Summit, President Biden will announce major new actions to conserve and restore lands and waters across the nation, including by establishing Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and Castner Range National Monument in Texas. The President will also direct the Secretary of Commerce to consider exercising her authority to protect all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. These new commitments build on President Biden’s historic climate and environmental record, including delivering on the most ambitious land and water conservation agenda in American history. The announcements include:

  • Establishing two new national monuments: Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and Castner Range National Monument in Texas. The designation of these two national monuments demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protect historically and culturally significant areas and conserve our nation’s treasured outdoor spaces. Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada will honor Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples while conserving our public lands and growing America’s outdoor recreation economy. In Texas, Castner Range National Monument will expand access to the outdoors for the El Paso community while honoring our nation’s veterans and servicemembers. Together, these new national monuments protect nearly 514,000 acres of public lands.

  • Protecting all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. The President will direct the Secretary of Commerce to consider initiating a new National Marine Sanctuary designation within the next 30 days to protect all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. If completed, the new sanctuary would ensure the U.S. will reach the President’s goal of conserving at least 30% of ocean waters under American jurisdiction by 2030. New actions to conserve, restore, and expand access to lands and waters. The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing a series of new steps to conserve, restore, and expand access to lands and waters across the country. These include a proposal to modernize the management of America’s public lands, a plan to harness the power of the ocean to fight the climate crisis, a strategy to better conserve wildlife corridors, and new funding to improve access to outdoor recreation, promote Tribal conservation, reduce wildfire risk, and more. These actions build on more than two years of the Biden-Harris Administration’s progress and historic investments to advance conservation, restoration, and stewardship nationwide:

  • During his first year in office, President Biden protected more lands and waters than any president since John F. Kennedy, including by restoring protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments. Last year, President Biden designated his first new national monument, Camp Hale – Continental Divide in Colorado.

  • Thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden has, over his first two years in office, invested over $10 billion in conservation initiatives – more than any other modern president.

  • Under the President’s leadership, the Administration is making unprecedented investments in land, water, and wildlife conservation, including by launching the $1 billion America the Beautiful Challenge. These investments will help meet the President’s goal – set during his first week in office – of conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

  • The Biden-Harris Administration has protected nationally-significant lands and waters across the country, including recent actions to restore protections for roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest, prevent future oil and gas leasing in the entire U.S. Arctic Ocean, safeguard Bristol Bay in Alaska and the world-class salmon fishery it supports, and protect America’s most-visited wilderness area, the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. The Administration is also working to protect Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, the Thompson Divide in Colorado, and accelerating restoration efforts in the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, and the Columbia River Basin.

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