By Steve Saland
I would like to take a moment and introduce myself to you. My name is Steve Saland and I am currently the New York state senator for most of Dutchess County and all of Columbia County. On Nov. 6, I will have the opportunity to appear on your ballot as the Republican and Independence party candidate. Before then, I hope to share with you my record over the past 22 years and my commitment to improving the quality of life in the Hudson Valley.
I understand the needs of our mid-Hudson region because I have lived here nearly all my life. I am a graduate of Poughkeepsie public schools, SUNY Buffalo and Rutgers Law School. My wife and I have been married for 47 years and live in Poughkeepsie where we raised our family. Three of our four children (as well as three of our grandchildren) live in the Hudson Valley.
During my service as senator, I have committed myself to the number-one priority of economic growth. If New York businesses have worked hard to stay in New York, New York must work harder to help them stay and grow, as well as attract new businesses. I believe that we should stimulate our private sector to create opportunities for job growth and retention.
In the past two years, we have enacted responsible on-time state budgets, addressed multibillion-dollar deficits without raising taxes or fees, and focused on new private-sector job growth. We reduced taxes on small businesses, established the NY Works Program to revitalize our infrastructure, and enacted a property tax cap. I have worked for years to develop local workforce development programs with Dutchess Community College that partners local businesses with the college.
These partnerships have resulted in a larger pool of qualified candidates for positions in the region — approximately 6,800 people trained or retrained at 230 businesses. I hope to continue that work and build on the tradition of making the Hudson Valley a premier center of economic development.
I take pride in the fact that last year we successfully reduced the onerous MTA payroll tax on 80 percent of businesses and self-employed New Yorkers. I look forward to passing legislation that I have proposed that will eliminate the MTA payroll tax and all supplemental fees. I believe that we have witnessed MTA bloat for too long, particularly in the Hudson Valley, and that we must continue to shine a light on its spending and control its abuses.
I am currently the chair of the New York State Standing Committee on Codes. In that capacity, I have been able to continue work on child protection and domestic violence legislation — issues that have been very important to me since I began my work in the Senate. In 1994, I authored landmark legislation that revolutionized the way that domestic violence was handled in the state, and this year I passed additional legislation that would build on that foundation and enhance penalties for persistent offenders. I was also proud to champion legislation that expanded the state’s criminal DNA database, curbed drug abuse, and protected children from cyberbullying.
I have a long history of effectively working with my colleagues in the Legislature, regardless of party affiliation, to do what is best for our community, and that was recognized most recently when Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached across the aisle to endorse me for reelection. I believe my record is one of accomplishment. Not only have I helped create jobs in my Senate District, but I have successfully authored and passed some 400 laws.
Those laws range from creating the Hudson Valley Greenway, to protecting children from pedophiles to, as noted above, reforming New York state’s domestic-violence laws. Although I did not sponsor the 2011 same sex marriage law, I was involved in its negotiation and was one of four Republican senators to support its passage.
I have enjoyed having the opportunity to serve members of my community, and I look forward to the opportunity to similarly serve you.