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OPINION: New York Needs Leadership, Cooperation to Weather the Storm

By Will Barclay


The New York Assembly recently reconvened to begin the 2021 legislative session. While the halls of the Capitol were dramatically different due to COVID restrictions, we begin our work with a sense of optimism and purpose. After a great deal of tumult in 2020, here in New York we must set an example for the rest of the nation by coming together and working cooperatively to address our many obstacles. There is much work to be done.

 As the state continues to grapple with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Assembly Minority Conference has a number of priorities we hope to see addressed in the coming months. We are calling for immediate action to protect taxpayers, stimulate recovery, and assist small-business owners who are facing extreme challenges related to the inability to conduct business normally due to state-imposed restrictions.

New Yorkers are facing ongoing difficulties as a surge in COVID threatens additional lockdowns, and financial uncertainty continues to plague the state and nation. Now, more than ever, we must ensure each dollar spent is allocated efficiently and, in a manner consistent with the massive economic recovery we are facing. Taxpayers are under mounting financial pressures, and we cannot afford to pass our budgetary shortfalls onto them. With a years-long recovery in store, we must do everything in our power to ensure residents and business owners are provided with the support they need now and in the future.

Other legislative priorities on our agenda include returning the legislature to a co-equal branch of government; cleaning up wasteful spending in Albany; strengthening the state’s fiscal resilience ahead of future crises; and addressing ancillary problems exacerbated by the pandemic, like the spike in violent crimes we have seen in communities across the state, as well as New York’s worsening affordability and out-migration crisis.

While the toll of the coronavirus has been substantial, the ripple effect it has created has also proved extremely challenging. We entered 2021 with a broad, complex set of problems, and it’s going to take a lot of planning, work, and collaboration to deal with these many issues. I am certain our conference is up to the task, and I am eager to overcome these issues alongside them and all my colleagues in the legislature.        

William (Will) A. Barclay, Republican, is the New York Assembly Minority Leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County. Contact Barclay at 

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