On the Issues

ON THE ISSUES

★ Creating Jobs

 Public Safety

 Protecting Our Most Vulnerable

 Protection of Our Constitutional Freedoms

 Agriculture

Creating Jobs

 

Each year, tens of thousands of residents are leaving New York. Even as a state that takes in so many immigrants and newcomers from across the U.S., New York has the unfortunate designation of leading the nation in out-migration. Over 1,379,210 residents have left our state in the last decade, and a net migration of -180,649 in 2019 alone. They aren’t just leaving because of the weather. They are searching for job opportunities, and a more affordable lifestyle than New York has to offer. 


One major reason for this drastic net out-migration is New York State’s notoriously dreadful business climate. New York continues to rank near last in business friendliness. The businesses that are here and have been in our communities for decades, especially in Upstate and Western New York, can’t survive. 


In recent years, New York has made a habit of picking winners and losers through tax incentives and government funding, but unfortunately, it has not worked. New York shells out tax dollars on everything from the Buffalo Billions to $420 million each year to elite Hollywood film studios. We should be focused on loosening burdensome regulations and cutting taxes for the local small businesses that employ the majority of our community’s workforce. Passing legislation that makes it easier, not harder, for entrepreneurs to start up and grow their local small businesses is vital. 


Legislation like the red-tape reduction act will help ensure that no more burdensome regulations are placed on our business owners. An expanded tax credit for small businesses and farms will help our local businesses and farms are able to attract and grow their workforce. Developing broadband will deliver a 21st-century necessity to a struggling economy. 


Small business is the economic engine of our state, and creating an environment where small businesses can flourish will keep residents from fleeing for job opportunities elsewhere.

Public Safety

 

Albany and New York City Democrats want to defund the police. I want to DEFEND the police. 


If there was any doubt how the Democrat Party feels about law and order, or those who wish to commit crimes, the advent of 2019 put those questions to rest. 


Last year, Democrats rammed through criminal justice “reforms” that all but neutered law enforcement and our justice system. They made crimes like 2nd-degree manslaughter, resisting arrest, tampering with a juror, and criminal anarchy all eligible for non-bail. Like we saw with riots earlier this year: individuals destroyed property, assaulted law enforcement, and looted small businesses only to be arrested, handed an appearance ticket, and released.
Thanks to the Democrat one-party control in Albany, we have more criminals walking our streets now than ever before. 


Police departments have been defunded. Officers’ ability to do their jobs has been stripped. Community heroes have been subjected to harassment. It’s no wonder we’ve seen massive spikes in violent crimes like shootings. It’s no wonder that civil order is falling apart in many cities. 


We must put an end to this trend – and Democrat control – and truly protect our communities. 

 

Protecting Our Most Vulnerable
 

Over my time in the State Senate, I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many individuals from the disability community. They have told me and shown me the struggles they face every day. As the former chair of the Senate Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, I worked with individuals, families, and advocacy groups from across our state to deliver historical funding and strengthen our workforce. This helped ensure that they are able to live their lives fully and independently. 


I also have had the experience to give back to a community that I hold close to my heart. As a former Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, the mental health and wellbeing of our veterans remain a priority. 22 a day; that is how many veterans succumb to suicide due to the invisible effects of post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injuries. These unseen scars linger with those who have already given so much to our nation, and we must support them when they return home as we do while they are serving our country abroad. 


While serving in the state senate, one of my proudest achievements was introducing and expanding the Joseph P. Dwyer Program across Western New York. This program provides peer-to-peer support for veterans facing the challenges of post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and reintegration into civilian life.


Lastly, the heroin and opioid epidemic that our nation has recently faced, and still faces to this day devastated families across our country and significantly impacted families here in New York State. In 2010, 5.4.1/100,000 individuals passed due to heroin and opioid overdoses, a number that rose sharply in 2017, with 16.1/100,000 individuals dying from an overdose. Because of this rapid increase in overdose deaths, our state took the initiative and conducted statewide hearings to tackle this significant issue. I was proud to serve on the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, where we worked with residents who turned tragic personal losses into selfless service to help others. 


While the numbers of death related to these overdoses have decreased slightly, there is still much work to be done to remove this epidemic from our communities. That is why we must continue to empower and fund local recovery programs that work firsthand with those affected by this fatal addiction.

 

Protection of Our Constitutional Freedoms
 

Residents in New York State are prime targets to the countless ongoing threats to our constitutional freedoms. New York is infamously home to the dreaded NY SAFE Act. Passed under the guise of public safety and signed in the dead of night without any public input, this unconstitutional law was a direct infringement on our Second Amendment rights. Overnight, it turned law-abiding New Yorkers into felons and did nothing to improve public safety. 


Because of this politically-driven and ill-advised policy, I crafted and currently sponsor several repeal bills for the NY SAFE Act. Not only has this legislation negatively impacted communities where gun manufacturers like Remington Arms in Utica are located, but they have created criminals out of individuals who only wish to protect their loved ones and their property. I will continue to stand up for hunters, sportsmen, and gun owners because this is a legal, legislative, and personal fight that we cannot lose.

Agriculture

 

When people across our country (and sadly many in Albany) think of New York, they think of Wall Street, Times Square, and Broadway. I am always happy to inform them that New York’s economy extends across our entire state. Agriculture accounts for billions of dollars in revenue annually and is responsible for approximately 200,000 jobs per year. We lead the nation yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream production, with apples, dairy, and grape production, also ranking as top crops.


Home to over 33,000 farms, New York is an agricultural powerhouse. Unfortunately, over the last few years, the number of family-owned farms has shrunk at an alarming rate. Between 2012 and 2019, the number of farms in New York decreased by 9 percent, nearly triple the national average. 


While some of this has to do with the fixed cost of dairy prices in the U.S. and a shift away from dairy in the American diet, much of it is a result of rising costs in New York State. Policies like the Farmworker Unionization Act, which allows seasonal migrant laborers the right to collective bargain, will vastly increase the cost of business for these already struggling small family-owned farms. Wage mandates and regulatory burdens have a severe effect on farms’, workers’, and consumers’ bottom lines. 


We must stand with our farmers and those in our agriculture industry to protect the economic viability of many small communities across our state. Without them, many Upstate and Western New York communities will decline, and the availability of fresh, affordable food will vanish for all New Yorkers.

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Paid for by Rob Ortt for New York

PO Box 1279 North Tonawanda, NY 14120