Last week, Rochester Senator Joe Robach joined members of the Rochester chapter of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS to help launch a campaign to raise awareness about the impact of Hepatitis C in our community. The NLBCA’s campaign is seeking to improve testing and provide a better linkage to care for those who test positive.
The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA) is the oldest and largest non-profit organization of its kind in the United States. Our mission is to educate, mobilize, and empower black leaders to meet the challenge of fighting HIV/AIDS and other health disparities in their local communities. NBLCA works with a broad spectrum of community leaders, including clergy, public officials, medical practitioners, and those in business, civic, social policy, and the media to achieve its mission. NBLCA has established affiliates in cities throughout the United States where African American communities are hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including New York City, Nassau County, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Baltimore, Atlanta, Detroit, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.
According to NBLCA they:
• Create new funding and programs targeting African American and other communities of color and redirect existing funding and programs to those communities.
• The capacity to mobilize African American professionals from a variety of professions, including medicine, media, business, government, and clergy.
• Our regional affiliates are guided by and gain their credibility from the established clergy.
• The capacity to produce policy and research on a wide range of medical, religious, and legal issues related to HIV/AIDS and African American and other communities of color.
• Through our unique Leadership Mobilization Model (LMM), we deliver technical assistance and capacity building to community- and faith-based organizations and local health departments to empower them to deliver effective services.
For more information visit http://www.nblca.org/
This week, Rochester Senator Joe Robach joined with his colleagues in the New York State Senate passed 23 bills to address issues surrounding the increase in heroin and opioid abuse, addiction, and related crimes in Rochester and New York. The bills are part of a comprehensive legislative package proposed by the bipartisan New York State Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction in a report released in May.
The bill package passed begin the legislative response laid out in the report to prevent drug abuse and overdoses; increase the availability and efficacy of addiction treatment; and enhance the tools provided to law enforcement to keep heroin off the streets. The task force report released last month proposed a package of bills to target the prevention, treatment, and enforcement issues raised during extensive testimony provided by dozens of experts, parents, and concerned New Yorkers during 18 forums held throughout the state.
Rochester Senator Joe Robach sponsored, S. 7657, legislation that would create an A-I felony for the unlawful transportation or sale of an opioid that causes the death of another. This legislation was sponsored because heroin use is steadily on the rise. This law would hold drug dealers accountable for the true cost of their activities, significantly diminish the open availability of these dangerous drugs on the streets and give district attorneys-the necessary tools to work up the criminal chain to the ultimate supplier because facing life imprisonment for any amount of drugs that results in death is a profound disincentive to sell drugs within the state of New York.
This law seeks to punish those individuals involved in the illegal drug trade and is not intended to punish those individuals who are merely co-users. Therefore a co-user who shares the drugs with the victim still has an incentive to follow the current good Samaritan law and save the other person as he or she will be able to avoid prosecution for homicide by sale of an opiate controlled substance and instead admit to a lower felony because it still is a distribution.
This week, Rochester Senator Joe Robach visited the Rochester Childfirst Network and read “Goodnight Moon” to a group of their students. Rochester Childfirst Network has a long history of providing early education and child care to the Rochester community, and serves children from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Located on South Avenue, Rochester Childfirst Network was founded in 1856 to help to provide Christmas dinner to some of Rochester neediest children. By April of 1857, the organization was incorporated under New York State as the Industrial School of Rochester. In its first year the School served 264 girls and 272 boys.
According to its website,
Today, Rochester Childfirst Network is a multi-faceted agency. It continues as a leader in early education, child care, community outreach and national advocacy for children and their caregivers. The third oldest child care center in the United States, RCN has evolved with the changing needs of society and children into a highly regarded nonprofit early childhood agency, exemplifying excellence, innovation, and putting children first. It touches over 2,000 children and child care givers through accredited programs. Its professional staff of experts allows children to learn though a sense of play. With a focused leading-edge curriculum, its students thrive in a child-friendly nurturing setting surrounded by children of all abilities and cultures.
Senator Joe Robach is a longtime friend to and supporter of the Rochester Childfirst Network and likes to join the teachers and students at least once a year to read to the children. For more information about the Rochester Childfirst Network visit http://rcn4kids.org/
This week Rochester Senator Joe Robach announced with Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle that they had secured an additional six million dollars in state aid for the City of Rochester, bringing the total in this years’ budget to 94 million dollars.
“In a continued effort to meet the needs of our constituents, while working with local government and our Mayor, we’re happy to deliver more resources for the City of Rochester. Our ability to successfully rebuild Upstate New York is inextricably linked to the need to make essential investments in our cities. That is why throughout the budget process we have remained committed to ensuring the needs of the City of Rochester are met by securing funding that is essential to its fiscal stability.
“We are pleased to announce that the City will be receiving $6 million in state aid in addition to the $88 million already allocated in Aid and Incentives for Municipalities funding in the original budget proposal. This appropriation is being made available in direct response to the City’s need for additional funding to combat its chronically high poverty rate.”
“This action is a step in the right direction toward resolving the historic disparities within the AIM funding formula and will greatly assist the City in addressing this year’s fiscal challenges. Looking forward we remain committed to providing the City with the tools it needs to ensure its long-term success.”
Rochester Senator Joe Robach announced today that the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators is now accepting applications for four $2,000 scholarships, which will be awarded on June 9th at their Annual Legislative Conference Day.
“Given the high costs of college, every opportunity must be made by students and their families to meet their required expenses with scholarships, student loans, financial aid and personal contributions,” said Senator Joe Robach. “Our conference is very proud of our role in promoting higher education and assisting students in reaching their academic goals and full potential for future success.”
This year, the Italian-American State Legislators Conference will be awarding four $2,000 scholarships to four current or future college students from New York State. Eligibility will be based upon the student’s grade point average, interest in pursuing a higher education, involvement in the local community as well as individual financial need.
The Conference is a bipartisan organization of New York State Assembly and Senate members who are actively involved in promoting and celebrating the state’s Italian-American community. The Conference mission is to work hard to elevate and highlight Italian-American contributions to the State of New York and beyond, in all aspects of society, including literature, the arts, architecture and politics. The conference also tries to dispel negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans.
Students may request an application by contacting Senator Joe Robach at his office at (585) 225-3650 or Robach@nysenate.gov.
This week, Rochester Senator Joe Robach joined Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald to hold an open house and public hearing in Rochester regarding plans for improving passenger and freight rail service on the Empire Corridor between New York City and Niagara Falls. The High Speed Rail event included an informational open house, followed by a public hearing. The sessions will provide opportunities for the public to comment on the proposals, either privately or during the open hearing forum.
The meeting, one of six being held this month across the state, will focus on the High Speed Rail Empire Corridor Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which has been approved by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Updates about ongoing passenger rail projects also were provided. Project managers and technical experts were available to answer questions throughout each session. The meetings are sponsored by NYSDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration, which are conducting the environmental review.The DEIS examines the feasibility of higher speed passenger rail service alternatives along the 463-mile Empire Corridor, looking at how five potential alternatives would impact mobility, the environment and economic growth across New York State.
Also at the public hearing, the broad design and features of Rochester’s new train station were unveiled. With funds secured by Congresswoman Slaughter and supported by Senator Joe Robach, the new train station will be ADA compliant and along with allowing for easier access for individuals traveling to and from the city. Congresswoman Slaughter stated her pleasure and pride that Rochester Senator Joe Robach was named Chairman of the NYS Senate Transportation Committee and eagerly looks forward to working with him.
This week, Rochester Senator Joe Robach was named as the new Chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Transportation. Previously the Vice Chair of the Transportation Committee and Chairman of the Committee on Infrastructure, the new chairmanship will allow Senator Joe Robach to act upon the importance of infrastructure, roads, airports, railroad systems, not only for safe travel of all New York State citizens, but the correlation with economic development across New York, Upstate and in Rochester. Senator Joe Robach was the senior member of the Transportation Committee and a long time advocate of transportation issues in Rochester and Monroe County.
With this move, both the Chairmen of the Senate and Assembly Transportation committee’s call Rochester home. The transportation committees develop legislation on road safety and infrastructure policy and oversee what bills move to the floor of their respective houses for a vote. Typically, the committee chairmen team up on legislation. Majority Leader of the Senate, Dean Skelos said that “it’s a very important committee. Joe will do a great job at it.”
Senator Robach stated after the announcement that he was looking forward to work with all his colleagues in the Legislature, including members of the Senate and the Assembly to focus on the best way to improve transportation for all of New York State; as well as working locally to ensure continued improvements of 390 and 490 in Rochester.
This week Rochester Senator Joe Robach joined with his Senate colleagues, Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco and Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan to state their opposition to the Mayor of New York City saying that children in his city need universal pre-K more than Upstate municipalities such as Rochester.
In their statement, Senator’s Joe Robach, DeFrancisco and Flanagan stated:
As members of the New York State Senate, we are deeply offended (the) recent assertion that the children in New York City are more deserving and more in need of early childhood education than the 4 and 5-year-olds in the communities we represent.
We know Mayor DeBlasio has a lot on his plate, but he may be interested in learning a few facts about the rest of the state. All four of the big city school districts, including Rochester Syracuse and Buffalo, are poorer than New York City, and 70 percent (471) of the school districts across the state – – serving more than 1.2 million students – – are less wealthy than the one he represents.
In addition, 20 percent of the school districts in New York State have a greater percentage of students with higher needs than New York City, and many of those districts are worse off than the worst parts of New York City. Meanwhile, the City of Rochester has the fifth highest poverty rate among all U.S. cities. In fact, during legislative budget hearings we heard testimony from many Upstate mayors about the difficulties their cities are facing.
We have a responsibility to provide every student in this state with the same opportunity to learn and to succeed, not just the students in New York City.
In addition to fighting for better education for Rochester youth, Senator Joe Robach is fighting to bring the Rochester economy out of the dire situation it is in along with making it a great place for people from all walks of life to live, work and raise a family. For more information on Senator Joe Robach work on the issue of education, please visit www.joerobacheducation.com
Rochester Senator Joe Robach joined my Rochester area colleagues in the New York State Legislature this week for the Rochester Community Coalition’s presentation of their 2014 priorities. Hosted by the Rochester Business Alliance, Joe Robach and other members of the Senate and Assembly met to discuss the important issues for business in our area.
According to the Rochester Business Alliance, the Rochester Community Coalition identified the top local priorities for New York State investment and attention in its 2014 Community Agenda. The Community Coalition, a group of leaders representing business, local government, education, labor, and nonprofits convened by Rochester Business Alliance, delivered the agenda to the local state legislature delegation at a meeting at RBA headquarters.
Rochester Business Alliance President and CEO Sandra Parker said, “The Community Coalition represents diverse interests and views within our community. These leaders have come together to create the Community Agenda for a greater Rochester. We urge state lawmakers and Governor Cuomo to support the priorities that our coalition believes will promote job creation and strengthen our region.”
The 2014 Community Agenda identifies six areas of importance, including:
Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) Funding
Graduate Medical Education
Child Care Funding
Centers of Excellence
Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Priority Projects
The Rochester Community Coalition traces its roots to 2006 as the Rochester Fair Share Coalition, an organization that lobbied state government for a much-needed boost in aid for the City of Rochester. Given the success of that campaign, the group opted to adopt a broader agenda of annual items deemed most important to the greater Rochester region. Senator Joe Robach has been a long champion of the City of Rochester and helped to ensure that the City has representative dedicated to the fighting for the region.
This week, Rochester Senator Joe Robach was on hand to welcome Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden to the Rochester area and Monroe Community College’s Applied Technologies Center to address workforce development and education. The visit came the morning after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union. Senator Joe Robach greeted the Vice President after his speech to thank him for visiting the Rochester area.
“The Vice President and his wife, spoke after they got a brief tour of the precision machining lab at the Applied Technologies Center in Brighton. They were accompanied by Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. Donning safety glasses, the Vice President greeted about a dozen students, some of whom were embarking on second careers and were in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The equipment in the room give a sense of what “middle-skill” training entails. Computer numerical control machines filled the room where MCC students learn basic manual machine processes and conversational programming. Vice President Biden spoke of his time at Syracuse University, where he attended law school and said many of his classmates were from Rochester.”
“The Vice President noted in the speech that followed his tour, times have changed.As a result, the kind of partnerships for jobs-driven training that the Obama administration has been seeking have become a priority at MCC. MCC, which opened its doors in 1962, has always had close ties to the workforce. That connection deepened three years ago with the establishment of an Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Services division at MCC. With the help of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, MCC has established a business and industry database, which now has the names of about 2,400 businesses. The database creates an information pipeline between local businesses and MCC. MCC has created a Corporate College, based in a rented building across from MCC’s main campus in Brighton. About 40 courses were recently added to this newly established program. Most of the courses are not for credit, with many focusing on training and professional development. In all, more than 100 courses are offered under Corporate College’s umbrella, including partnerships with businesses to train workers in skilled labor, such as welding.” Joe Robach is a long time supporter of MCC and always willing to assist the college and President Kress in all their endeavors.