The Hudson Valley is home to thousands of first responders and medical professionals who are on the front line of our response to the coronavirus outbreak. Now starting our sixth week of the statewide shutdown, these dedicated public servants are placing themselves in harm’s way every day to help those afflicted with this virus across our region and beyond.
As the number of confirmed cases has continued to escalate, epicenters like New York have endured tremendous human and economic costs. I applaud President Trump for deploying the “full power of the federal government to defeat the virus.” From the expertise of the Centers for Disease Control to the $2.6 trillion in federal stimulus and COVID-19 relief, the Trump Administration has taken bold action to arrest this crisis.
President Trump said, “when we win our battle against this outbreak, we will emerge stronger and more united than ever before.” From greater emergency preparedness to an enhanced understanding of the steps we can take to harden our economy, both government and the private sector must learn from this experience and make the changes necessary to prevent our livelihoods and the normalcy of daily life from ever again being ground to a halt.
Not only has New York been hit the hardest, but we are being short-changed by sending $50 billion more every year in tax revenue to DC than is returned to our state. Our current NY Congressional leaders have done nothing to bring our tax dollars back, despite controlling the House, and chairing the Appropriations committee. They have shown themselves unable to work with the Trump administration to get NY’s fair share.
There is new momentum to enact a significant federal investment in our aging infrastructure. While we had been focused on our roads, bridges and mass transportation systems, I believe expanding access to broadband internet service and 5G wireless service should also be priorities. During the shutdown, online educational programs, telemedicine and working from home have become central to our daily activities. The need for these services and the benefits they provide have never been more apparent. The expansion of high-speed internet and wireless service to every corner of the Hudson Valley will create new opportunities for local residents as we move forward.
New York needs to begin the process of reopening safely. Our workers, farmers and small businesses are depending on it. More than one million have lost their jobs. Small businesses are a payday away from closing, and of the ones that do close, many won’t open again. As someone experienced in running a business, I am well-aware of how critically important reopening will be to the state of our economy. We need to find ways to implement social distancing and other necessary precautions while still getting small businesses back up and running before it’s too late. The sooner we can do this, the more jobs and businesses will be salvaged and the healthier our economy will be.
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