ISSUES

 
Housing

Housing is fundamental. Whatever your life’s goals – for education, family life, career, basic economic stability – you can’t move forward without safe housing you can afford. That’s why it has always been a core issue for Lea. But increasingly, access to housing is becoming a crisis in our communities. All levels of government must collaborate - along with the private sector and nonprofits - to find and implement solutions.

  What Lea did while on the Binghamton City Council:  

  • Lea led the campaign to address affordable and quality housing through programs such as Restore NY. It brought resources that allowed for the rehabilitation of more than 40 failing or dilapidated properties in the city.

  • Lea worked with non-profit housing developers to create more than 40 affordable, quality housing units, in the Northside District alone, during her eight years on Council.

  • She helped to support the creation and funding for the Binghamton Home Ownership Academy, to help residents navigate the process to become homeowners, and better connect residents with local, state, and federal funds for acquisition and rehabilitation costs.

  • Lea stood up to absentee landlords and fought to establish the Vacant Property Registration program, which protected tenants and neighborhoods against landlord abuses and property neglect.

  What Lea will do in the NY State Senate:  

  • Housing is not just an urban problem. In Albany Lea will work tirelessly to expand these efforts and bring her passionate advocacy into rural communities as well. For example: 

    • Lea will advocate for better mobile or manufactured homes, through S.6866 to fund the replacement of mobile or manufactured homes with new, affordable, and energy-efficient modular or site-built homes. 

    • She’ll push for S.6199, to require manufactured home park owners to justify, in writing, any rent increases of more than three percent.

  • Passing Good Cause Eviction legislation will protect residents and good landlords alike, in rural, suburban, and urban neighborhoods.

  • It’s time that New York State stops using fossil fuels in the housing it builds and maintains. Lea will push for all Housing and Community Renewal programs to require beneficial electrification paired with renewable energy sources, including a phased program to retrofit older buildings. An environmental justice issue, this will save residents money while improving their indoor air quality and health, as it also helps New York fight climate change.

Environment

Over the past century, our environmental resources have been exploited, and the health and safety of communities of color and other vulnerable populations have been sacrificed in the name of economic growth. The damage done to our land, air, water, and our very health and well-being will be paid for by our children and grandchildren for decades to come.

 

Thanks to the persistence of advocates in the environmental justice movement,  New York State is now moving in a different direction, with a constitutional amendment declaring our inalienable right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment, and a nation-leading climate law that centers equity, green jobs, and an affordable transition to a clean energy future.  Lea is proud to count herself among those environmental justice advocates and she will continue to advocate for these issues in Albany. 

  What Lea did while on the Binghamton City Council:  

  • Worked with advocates and led the charge to ban fracking in the City of Binghamton

  • Established a city-wide climate action plan

  • Changed laws to promote green-space development and create community gardens

  • Championed programs to remove lead from people’s homes

  What Lea will do in the NY State Senate:  

  • Make building decarbonization a priority while ensuring an orderly, equitable, affordable transition off of gas.

  • Support expansion of mass transit solutions and adoption of electric vehicles

  • Prioritize clean air and water and remove of harmful environmental pollutants (e.g., lead, mold, and asbestos) from our homes and schools

  • Promote job training opportunities so that underemployed and hard to employ members of our communities can become part of the green energy transition.

  • Ensure that fracking waste is not brought to our landfills and that fracking brine is not spread on our roads.

  • Endorse a public advocate position to fight for our rights against the monopoly interests of utilities in rate cases.  

  • Support an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program to hold manufacturers responsible for the life cycle management and recycling of their products.

Healthcare

Health care is a human right. As a proud union member herself who grew up in a union family, Lea will work with labor to make sure their benefits are protected and enhanced under the New York Health Act (NYHA). We’ll create a more cost-efficient, equitable system by consolidating federal funds from Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), building upon those systems as well as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Family Health Plus, while eliminating the expensive overhead of insurance industry gatekeepers. 

The best doctors and hospitals aren’t enough if all people don’t have access to them. Health care disparities plagued our communities long before the pandemic shined a spotlight on how inequitable our system is. Creating an equitable system includes expanding home and community-based services for our most vulnerable residents, supporting health care workers in all settings, eliminating medical debt so people don’t lose everything when illness strikes, and supporting rural clinics and hospitals as basic infrastructure for our communities. Long-term, Lea will promote efforts to help more people of color enter the medical profession.

  What Lea has done on the issue of health and healthcare:  

  • Collaborated with partners while on Binghamton City Council to bring a farmers market and fresh foods to a food desert in her community.

  • Championed programs to remove lead from Binghamton homes.

  • Organized a pediatric clinic for underserved individuals in the community of Binghamton with help from the office of Congressman Maurice Hinchey.

  • Worked with community groups to build support for the ACA and passage of the NYHA, joining lobby efforts in Albany and traveling to other districts to support candidates running on these issues. 

  What Lea will do in the NY State Senate:  

  • Support state funding so that counties can provide robust mental health and public health services. 

  • Push for the adoption of the NYHA, which now includes long-term care as well as dental, vision, hearing and mental health care, and prescriptions, with no deductibles, premiums or exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

  • Respond to unions’ concerns and involve them in improving and implementing the NYHA. Lea believes that if labor no longer has to negotiate for health care coverage, they can concentrate on demands for higher pay and better working conditions. They will also be able to retain their health insurance if their job circumstances change.

Jobs/Economy
The last couple of years has upended what we think we know about the economy, the labor force, how families meet their needs, and the nature of work itself. In Central New York and the Southern Tier, we have the basics for economic growth – an enviable quality of life and abundant natural resources. But we need a little help from New York State to fully realize our potential: investments in job training, childcare, broadband, and capital for new and expanding businesses and industries.

  What Lea did while on the Binghamton City Council:  

  • Worked with the Broome Tioga NAACP to establish an employment preparation program for our youth, so that they are ready to work and develop their careers.

  • Supported small businesses through the Binghamton Local Development Corporation, which provided grants and loans to start-up and expand businesses.

  • Helped increase investment in Binghamton by attracting major residential development projects through the Commission on Downtown Binghamton Development.

  • Spearheaded a Re-entry Task Force, which created a re-entry program including job training for residents returning home from jail or prison.

  What Lea will do in the State Senate:  

  • Support initiatives such as the Green Workforce Corridor, linking Binghamton and Ithaca with Elmira, Syracuse, and Rochester, to train workers at all levels for green jobs of the future.

  • Fight for capital funds to expand childcare options, as well as for ongoing support to increase worker wages and cut families’ costs. Our “childcare deserts” keep us from realizing our potential.

  • Push for high-speed broadband and quality cell service in every community of the Southern Tier and Central New York. Work with local municipalities to correctly identify the gaps, and fill them.

  • Expand programs such as Restore New York, which help create vital downtowns with thriving local businesses and housing people can afford.

  • Work with the great higher educational institutions in our district, supporting cutting-edge research that leads to new industries, and increasing access for all New Yorkers who want to pursue education beyond high school.