It is hard for me to believe that six weeks has already passed since April 17th when I was officially seated in the New York State Assembly as the representative for the Hudson Valley’s 103rd Assembly District. The unanimous resolution followed our historic victory in the March 20th Special Election. It is an enormous honor to serve as one of only 150 New Yorkers to represent all the people of the state in the People’s House, as the Assembly is known.
Fittingly, my colleagues are a strikingly diverse group. They reflect New York State’s rich and longtime immigrant tradition and they represent a mix of ages and sexual orientation. I continue to be surprised, nonetheless, that I am one of only 36 women in the Assembly, a shockingly low number for a state that was the home of the Seneca Falls Convention and has long been a bellwether of progressive social issues.
My colleagues on both sides of the aisles have been incredibly welcoming, warm and helpful. I am pleased to report that unlike what we see in Washington these days, the culture in the N.Y. State Assembly is respectful and collegial, with a healthy dose of humor. Debates are thoughtful and heartfelt. My colleagues all understand that we work for the same boss — the people of New York State.
As the time has passed, I feel less like I’ve been dropped in the middle of an impressive movie set, the feeling of the first few days. I have been assigned to several great committees – Agriculture, Veterans Affairs and Aging — and have co-sponsored excellent legislation in all these areas. We are currently putting together an Agricultural Advisory Council to work with us on the best way to support local farmers.
Our two legislative offices — the District Office in Red Hook and our Albany Office — are up and running, and we regularly meet with constituents and others in both. To make it even easier for folks to meet with us, I am pleased to share that we are taking our Diner Dialogues concept beyond the virtual and making it real with a series of Mobile District Office Diner Stops at local eateries throughout the district.
We held our first this past weekend at Irving Farms Coffee House in Millerton and had a terrific series of conversations with both local officials and nearby residents. This Saturday, June 2, we will be at Grazin Diner in the City of Hudson from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm to meet with residents and local officials about their issues and concerns. Please stop by to say hello and let us know how we can help.