What is the most important piece of legislation you want to see passed if elected?
"My top priority is establishing a universal health care system in New York state. I believe it is reprehensible that there are almost 3 million residents of our state who do not have health insurance. As we move toward universal health care I am in favor of expanding existing public health programs."
How would you summarize your platform to date?
"Ensuring comprehensive healthcare, increasing funding for education, ensuring public protection and addressing our looming budget crisis are among the most important issues facing our community at the present time. I will continue to advocate for these issues both fiscally and legislatively."
How has your campaign changed since the beginning of this year?
"I did not foresee the dire fiscal situation New York currently faces at the beginning of 2008. As the year progressed, it became increasingly clear that the state budget needed to be reduced to meet the decidedly negative and historical challenges facing the nation and the state."
Challenger: Charlie Voelker
Affiliation: Democrat, Conservative Party
Hometown: Garden City
Education: BA, communications, University at Albany
Family: Wife and son
What is the best way to help the state recover from the slumping economy?
"New York state has to drastically change the way it conducts its business. Cost cutting measures have to be aggressively implemented. That does not mean job cuts. It means smart business practices. Bulk purchasing for all state agencies should be centralized. Workforce co-operations, land leases and advertising opportunities can be pursued to generate immediate state revenue."
How can we protect the environment and continue "green" initiatives?
"As stated above, these are the areas where the state government should be focusing on for their business opportunities. Clean energy, green construction and recycling will dominate the business world for decades to come. New York can be a leader in all areas. We also have to educate our children in 'green living.' New Yorkers have to be environmentally responsible, at home and at work or school. Reducing our carbon footprint requires everyone to participate. It cannot be left up to a few to make up for the rest. Creating environmental living standards that make recycling and fuel conservation laws, instead of suggestions will be a great start."