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By Douglas Sciorra

NYS Senator Tom O’Mara: Approaching the New Year with a renewal of hope

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Tom O’Mara represents the 58th Senate District

Above all else this week, I hope that this column will find you and your families, friends, and neighbors well and doing your best to have a memorable and meaningful holiday season. 

Approaching the start of another new year in New York State government, we could focus on looking ahead to the debates that always await the governor and legislators in ordinary times — traditionally difficult challenges on education, economic development, environmental protection, fiscal policies, infrastructure, public safety and security, and so many more. 

But these remain far from ordinary times. Consequently, the beginning of 2023 will arrive during what continues to be an incredibly long and hard road back to community and economic renewal. As always, this hoped-for revitalization will continue to hinge on strong regional teamwork on the goals and the priorities we share across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. The experience we have gained and the bonds we have cemented over the past few difficult, unexpected, unprecedented years will continue to serve us well in 2023. This teamwork will remain fundamental to our success throughout the year ahead. We need to keep pushing forward. We need to get more and more sectors of local economies moving again. We need to keep getting more and more workers back on the job as soon as possible. 

And we need a state government that’s focused on addressing the right priorities. 

At the start of the New Year, I look forward to beginning my representation of the newly redefined (as a result of redistricting) 58th Senate District. This redefined district continues to include the core of the district I have represented since 2011 – Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates counties – with the addition of Seneca and Tioga counties, and a part of Allegany County. It is one of New York’s geographically largest legislative districts. Nevertheless, the communities and citizens comprising the 58th District harbor common strengths and share fundamental goals, and I look forward to working with all of you to be a strong voice in Albany – and to keep fighting to secure our priorities for stronger and safer communities. 

On the economic front of this ongoing battle to reclaim solid ground across our region and within individual communities, we will need the Hochul administration to better recognize that our regional revitalization can and must move forward with greater clarity, common sense, and fairness. Many of us across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions — government officials, business owners, and workers and families alike – continue to believe this revitalization can and should be accomplished more effectively and rapidly. 

In 2023, we will need to redouble our emphasis on the need for fairness. I’ve had this discussion with many local leaders and citizens. We will continue pushing the administration to recognize specific regional concerns and suggestions — and the need for sensible compromises and effective, safe resolutions. 

There is enormous work facing us to fix what’s broken and keep providing fundamental assistance. On the legislative front, we must continue to hear the voices of small business, farming, tourism, manufacturing, and other foundations of local economies. Moving forward, these ongoing discussions, on a bipartisan basis, will become increasingly critical. As I have said repeatedly, one way we stay together is by staying informed. 

Finally, as we continue this week that has traditionally had as its centerpiece a reflection on the year past, we still focus on this: Thank You. 

Thank you to everyone throughout the public and private sectors providing diligent public outreach and service. Because of these incredible and inspiring efforts, local citizens and communities have been able to persevere, stay together, remain hopeful, move forward, and keep planning for better days. Let’s all keep doing our part. These will remain the rays of hope at the beginning of the New Year, the silver lining of strength that has and will keep seeing us through. 

Happy New Year. 

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