Assembly Speaker Heastie tours 103rd District with Kevin Cahill


Cahill, left, and Heastie, at the Hudson River Maritime Museum

KINGSTON – New York’s Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, visited the 103rd District with Assemblyman Kevin Cahill on Friday. The two visited SUNY New Paltz, the nearby Bruderhof community, and sites along the Rondout Creek, later wrapping up in Kingston with lunch with local community leaders.
It was the final run of a statewide tour of districts outside New York City made by the Bronx native, who gained his position last year after predecessor Sheldon Silver was indicted for corruption.
“This has been a fantastic opportunity to visit many parts of the state, some I’ve only been through, some I’ve never been to,” Heastie said. Whatever district I happen to be in, on that day is the best district,” Heastie joked.
“Far too often, there’s this perception that speakers from the City of New York don’t care about anything, unless it touches the City of New York,” Heastie explained. He assured New Yorkers that all constituents’ concerns will be as important to himself and the conference as the City of New York.  “It’s a large diverse state, with many points in between, but there’s many things we have in common than absolutely separate us.”
Cahill said the speaker will have a firsthand knowledge of his district going forward.
“He’s seen some of the resources we have, identified some of the situations that we face around here,” Cahill said.  “The speaker now has first-hand familiarity; it’s not going to be something in the abstract. When I talk to him about the hospital, he’s going to know what the community looks like that it serves, when I talk to him about the bridge, the college, etc.”
On the question of immigration of Syrian refugees into New York, Heastie said that is a federal issue.
“We have to be careful not to discriminate or paint broad strokes. I don’t think that’s what America is about, and I certainly don’t think that’s what New York State is about.”  Heastie said there needs to be a balance and to make sure people in this country are safe, “but we shouldn’t totally discriminate against an entire population.”
Heastie and Cahill both support pay raises for assembly member. Outside income disclosure and per diem reform were enacted earlier this year, in the wake of Silver’s arrest. “At some point, you can’t legislate morality, it’s still up to individuals to do the right thing,” the speaker said.
So far, Heastie said he only had preliminary conversations on the State’s 2016 budget, focusing on education, transportation and infrastructure.