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ISSUES

Standing up for women’s rights and reproductive health isn’t political for me. It’s part of my life, and who I am. From the boardrooms of NARAL and Planned Parenthood, to passing the Reproductive Health Act and adding the right to choose to our state constitution, I’ll never take our rights for granted.

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Protecting the Right to Choose

Didi is a strong believer that everyone should have the legal freedom to make decisions regarding their own reproductive health.

DIDI HAS:

Expanded reproductive health services and pushed initiatives to support New Yorkers’ reproductive rights as a board member of Planned Parenthood NYC and NARAL.

 

Codified women’s reproductive rights into law through the 2019 Reproductive Health Act , advanced the Equal Rights Amendment and supported the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act to ensure birth control is covered by health insurance (Ch. 1 of 2019, A.1283 of 2023, Ch. 25 of 2019).

 

Passed groundbreaking laws to provide legal protections for abortion service providers in response to the radical Supreme Court’s dismantling of Roe v. Wade (2022 Reproductive Health Package).

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We are at a critical moment in time for our planet and we need to do all that we can to protect it before it’s too late. The Hudson Valley is our home and I’ll always do everything I can to preserve it for future generations.

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A Greener Hudson Valley

Didi is a statewide leader on environmental advocacy in New York. She helped pass the nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to set aggressive carbon emissions goals, and sponsored the constitutional amendment to ensure our right to clean air, water and a healthful environment as well as the $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act that is funding climate projects statewide.

GREEN JOBS AND CLEAN ENERGY INITIATIVES

Helped create the Climate Action Fund, ensuring money from corporate polluters goes toward environmental cleanup efforts and green energy incentivization like consumer and small-business rebates (SFY 2023-24 Budget).

 

​Wrote and passed the SITED Act, making it easier for NY communities to identify areas suitable for clean-energy sites (Ch. 759 of 2023).

 

​Wrote and helped pass legislation to create a regenerative agriculture project to allow farmers to begin sequestering carbon in their soil, taking harmful greenhouse gasses out of the local air while aiding soil resiliency and productivity to their farms (Chapter 54 of 2019).

 

​Supports the proposed Climate Change Superfund Act, designed to generate much-needed revenue for infrastructure, climate resilience and job training while holding accountable those who created our climate crisis (A.3351-A of 2023).

STOPPING CORPORATE POLLUTION

Made New York one of the first states to ban the dangerous and destructive practice of hydraulic fracking (SFY 2020-21 Budget). 

Helped lead the effort to hold GE accountable for decades of Hudson River pollution.

 

Passed landmark legislation to protect the Hudson River from a federal proposal to create more than 40 anchorages for petroleum carrying barges, effectively thwarting a plan that would convert the iconic river into a fossil fuel highway (Ch. 351 of 2017).

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Didi is also proud to have helped make New York a leader in home energy efficiency by creating the Empower+ Program, providing free energy-efficient home improvements to help lower energy bills and reduce our environmental impact at home.

The Hudson Valley is an extraordinary place to live, and people from all over are realizing that. Our local towns are booming. We love our new neighbors, but we need to ensure that the growing population doesn’t continue to drive costs up. It’s absolutely vital that the Hudson Valley is an affordable place to live.

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Making Life More Affordable

Making the Hudson Valley an affordable place to live for everyone is absolutely vital to our future. Didi has worked tirelessly to provide financial relief to families and bring more New Yorkers up into the middle class.

Passed historic legislation to end wage discrimination in New York (Ch 362 of 2015).

 

Boosted the minimum wage to $15 while tying future increases to inflation so no New Yorker is left behind (A.2204-A of 2023).

 

Accelerated middle-class tax cuts (SFY 2021-22 Budget).

 

Voted to prevent tenant evictions in the heart of the pandemic and suspended gas taxes during post-pandemic inflation and supply issue price spikes (Ch. 381 of 2020, SFY 2022-23 Budget).

 

Invested $7 billion to expand child care eligibility for thousands of working families (SFY 2022-23 Budget).

 

Helped pass one of the strongest paid family leave programs in the nation to allow New York workers to care for sick family members without worrying about missing paychecks (A.3870-A of 2015).

 

Helped create the Excelsior Scholarship, which makes tuition free for low-income and middle-class New York State residents at any SUNY, CUNY or community college (SFY-2018-19 Budget).

 

Blocked tuition increases at SUNY colleges (SFY 2023-24 Budget).

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In 2014, Didi provided $1.5 billion in property tax relief to homeowners, establishing a real property tax freeze credit program which reimbursed New York homeowners. In 2019, Didi voted to make the property tax cap permanent to protect homeowners from excessive property tax increases, and in 2022, Didi was able to secure property tax rebate checks to help provide relief to families. (SFY 2014-15 Budget, SFY 2019-20 Budget, SFY 2021-22 Budget).

All Hudson Valley families should feel safe in their homes and communities. I’m committed to ensuring our brave men and women in law enforcement have the support, training and resources to do their jobs safely and that our criminal justice system is fair and just.

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Safe and Strong Communities

The health and promise of every community begins with public safety. Didi has worked tirelessly to pass “smart on crime” policies. Didi knows that we need strong laws to keep our families safe, including measures to keep illegal guns out of our communities, resources for local law enforcement to be able to do their jobs and a criminal justice system that works for all New Yorkers.

PREVENTING GUN VIOLENCE

Didi believes we’ve witnessed too much tragic gun violence in this country. She has fought to take action to keep guns out of the wrong hands. This includes:

Passing the nation-leading SAFE Act that keeps guns out of the hands of convicted felons and potentially dangerous mental health patients, and banned high capacity magazines and assault weapons (Ch. 1 of 2013).

 

Creating and continuing to strengthen New York’s “Red Flag law” to keep guns away from those who pose a threat to themselves or others (Ch. 19 of 2019, Ch. 19 of 2019, Ch. 586 of 2021, Ch. 208 of 2022).

 

Backing legislation criminalizing the sale of ghost guns (Ch. 520 of 2021).

 

Prohibiting the possession and sale of unfinished frames and receivers to stop illegal, untraceable guns from being built and transported without a normal background check (Ch. 519 of 2021).

 

Banning “disguised guns” that can look like a common toy gun (Ch. 518 of 2021).

 

Helping pass a “bump stock” ban to stop guns from being converted to rapid fire (Ch. 130 of 2019).

 

Raising the age to purchase a semiautomatic weapon to 21 and require a license (Ch. 212 of 2022).

 

Restricting the possession of high-capacity magazines (Ch. 209 of 2022).

 

Prohibiting the average person from possessing body armor (Ch. 210 of 2022).

 

Designating sensitive places where concealed firearms are not permitted (Ch. 371 of 2022).

 

Calling on the Federal government to reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 (K.1028 of 2022).

 

Requiring background checks for ammunition (Ch. 371 of 2022).

In 2023, Didi also delivered over $110 million for anti-gun violence programs (SFY Budget 2023-24).

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SUPPORTING LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT

Didi knows in order to keep our communities safe we must ensure our criminal justice system - including judges, lawyers, law enforcement and emergency services have the tools they need to do their jobs. She passed legislation to give judges more discretion to keep dangerous and repeat offenders behind bars and secured funding to help District Attorneys and Public Defenders best do their jobs (SFY 2023-24 Budget).

She has delivered local funding, including:

$15,000 for the Hudson City Police Department and $10,000 to the Village of Millbrook police,

$10,000 Village of Philmont for body cameras,

$15,000 to Dutchess Community College to help recruit women and minority students into criminal justice programs,

$15,000 for Columbia Greene community college for a public safety training simulator, and 

$30,000 for the City of Hudson for crisis intervention training regarding mental health issues and drug arrests in the presence of children.

Didi has also fought to support victims of crime as they work to recover physically and mentally. She supported the Child Victims Act and Adult Survivors Act to help survivors seek justice(Ch. 11 of 2019, Ch. 203 of 2021).

 

She also recognizes that formerly incarcerated people who have served their time and have stayed out of trouble deserve a fresh start to succeed. That’s why she helped pass the Clean Slate Act, the next step in the effort to put more New Yorkers on track to the middle class by tackling patterns of housing and job discrimination across the state (Ch. 631 of 2023).

Farming is an essential part of our upstate way of life, but many farmers are struggling to make ends meet. I’ll never stop fighting to expand rural broadband to ensure farmers have the resources, support and access to the technology they need to operate in the 21st century.

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Standing up for Local Farmers

As a vocal and active member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, Didi has been a prominent voice for our local farmers and their families.

Ensured Hudson Valley farmers would play a key role in shaping New York’s green future by kicking off the first-ever regenerative agriculture pilot program in the state (Chapter 54 of 2019). 

 

Passed the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant Program (Ch. 158 of 2018).

 

Supported the legalization of marijuana in New York State (Ch. 92 of 2021) and legislation to protect legal hemp growers (Ch. 1 of 2020).

 

Helped pass legislation allowing BOCES and local municipalities to purchase more locally grown food (Ch. 90 of 2017).

 

Secured support for New York’s agritourism industry by limiting the cost of liability insurance for local farms (Ch. 338 of 2017).

 

Championed a bill to keep costly city tolls from taking money out of Hudson Valley farmers’ pockets with the Farm Vehicle Tax Credit (A.7347-A of 2013).

 

Continually votes to fund Nourish NY and helped establish the Farm to Food Bank Tax Credit to support farmers who sell to food banks (SFY 2017-18 Budget).

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Too many of our neighbors are struggling every day to find and stay in housing they can afford. From groundbreaking protections for tenants to breaking down barriers to securing affordable housing, we’re making meaningful progress, but there is still so much to accomplish.

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Housing Affordability

Ensuring adequate affordable housing in the Hudson Valley and across New York remains one of the state’s most pressing issues. 

 

Didi has worked to take a balanced approach to the state’s housing issues. She continues working with local housing groups to pass legislation that empowers tenants and mom and pop landlords while fighting for more affordable housing options for homebuyers as well as renters. As part of these efforts, in 2023 Didi secured $3 million for Columbia County Habitat for Humanity and Dutchess County-based Hudson River Housing. In 2022, she also secured $300 million to construct affordable senior housing in the Hudson Valley.

 

Other results delivered by Didi:

Backed the new First-Time Homebuyers Program that allocates $100 million to support down payment and closing costs for low-and moderate-income homebuyers (A.2549 of 2023).

 

Passed the state’s strongest rent regulation law ever, the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, placing strong limits on landlords’ ability to raise rent or evict residents in manufactured home parks, and substantially broadening those covered by the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (Ch. 36 of 2019).

 

Funded the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Landlord Rental Assistance Program to assist renters as well as small mom and pop landlords  (SFY 2023-24 Budget).

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New Yorkers deserve to retire with dignity, and I’ve fought hard to make that a reality for seniors in the Hudson Valley.

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Supporting Our Seniors

Didi is focused on ensuring that seniors have the tools and support they need to age in place in the communities they call home. This means access to food, transportation, social life, medical care and much more.

Helped pass New York’s Paid Family Leave Act, which allows caretakers to receive paid time off from work to care for a family member, including an ailing parent (A.3870-A of 2015).

Supports Meals on Wheels as well as the Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income people, many of them seniors with fixed incomes, heat their homes  (A.8612 of 2023).

 

Secured $300 million to construct affordable senior housing in the Hudson Valley (SFY 2022-23 Budget).

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The opioid epidemic continues to have a devastating effect on communities across our state. I know this is not an issue that can be solved by short term solutions, which is why I’ve worked with my colleagues to  address the root causes of the epidemic and prevent any further heartbreak.

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Tackling the Opioid Epidemic

Didi knows that families in the Hudson Valley are suffering from the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic and insufficient mental health care. Didi has been a long-time advocate for increased parity between physical and mental health services to better treat New Yorkers suffering from addiction. 

 

Didi’s efforts to help communities deeply affected by the opioid epidemic:

Worked to create the Opioid Settlement Fund and advisory board to invest over $2 billion from state-won opioid settlement agreements into initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic in New York state (Ch. 171 of 2022). The OASAS advisory board has created initiatives that will directly affect Hudson Valley communities including:

  

  • $2 million in aid to addiction service providers in the fight against the opioid crisis through the creation of Mobile Medication Units to reach parts of New York without easy access to addiction treatment services.

   

  • $8.6 million for innovative addiction outpatient programs.

 

  • $1.4 million to SUNY to train and expand New York’s addiction workforce.

 

  • $3.2 million to support housing providing addiction treatment care.

 

  • Additional resources earmarked for grants to local municipalities to establish regional initiatives to combat the epidemic.

Working with the Council on Addiction Prevention and Education (CAPE) of Dutchess County to develop a “recovery high school” in Dutchess County. Recovery high schools foster the rehabilitation of students diagnosed with substance use disorder and have been used with great success in other states (SFY 2022-23 Budget).

We owe an unpayable debt to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect and serve our country.

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Benefits for Veterans

Nearly 20,000 veterans live and work here in Columbia and Dutchess counties. Didi believes we must do a better job of supporting those who served by ensuring they and their families have every opportunity to succeed when they return home to our communities.

 

During her tenure as chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Didi authored a law to ensure assessors across New York recognize all operations associated with the global War on Terror, including Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Inherent Resolve (A.2368-A of 2015). Didi was also instrumental in her efforts to create the Department of Veterans’ Services  - elevating the cause and resources for New York’s veterans.

DID ALSO:

Secured $250,000 for the Veteran’s Farmer Grant Fund. The grants provide a unique opportunity for veterans to develop farming skills and continue their local leadership service (SFY 2016-17 Budget).

Authored the “Outdoor Rx” law, which would create a program promoting the therapeutic benefits of outdoor recreation to benefit veterans to ensure successful reentry to civilian life, Secured $7.7 million in 2022 to expand the Joseph P. Dwyer program statewide, guaranteeing mental health counseling to veterans across the state (Ch. 282 of 2020, SFY 2022-23 Budget).

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In the Hudson Valley, we're facing a stark reality – our region is a hotspot for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. To protect our communities, we must continue to invest boldly in education, awareness, and prevention. I’ve worked tirelessly on this from day one in office, and I’m not about to stop now.

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Combating Tick-Borne Diseases

The Hudson Valley is the epicenter of a Lyme disease public health crisis that affects many people - residents and visitors alike - each year. In fact, Dutchess and Columbia counties report the highest incidence of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in the state. 

 

Assemblymember Barrett is fighting Lyme disease with effective policy changes and public awareness. That includes creating the #GetTickedOff advocacy and outreach campaign - an effort that includes public forums featuring local experts in the Lyme community and a social media presence that aims to share tick and Lyme disease news, provide tick prevention tips, and raise public awareness about the epidemic here and across the country. 

 

Didi has sponsored the following bipartisan legislation to fight Lyme and other tick-borne diseases:

Authored a law requiring warning signage at all State Parks and campgrounds (Ch. 354 of 2018).

 

Authored a law prohibiting the investigation of any claim of medical professional misconduct based solely on treatment that is not universally accepted by the medical profession including certain treatments for lyme and other tick borne diseases (Ch. 532 of 2014).

 

Authored a law requiring the commissioners of the Departments of Education, Health, and Environmental Conservation to develop Lyme disease-related instructional tools and resources for school districts and libraries to assist in education and awareness for children. These resources were just released and will be ready for the new school year (Ch. 109 of 2016).

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To learn more and get involved, you can like, follow, and share the #GetTickedOff Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GetTickedOff/.

As a mother of two, I know there is nothing more important to a parent than the health and well-being of their children. Our schools play such an important role in raising the next generations of the Hudson Valley – that’s why I’ve worked to bring millions in funding to local school districts to ensure our teachers and students have all the resources they need to thrive.

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Investing In Our Students, Schools, And Libraries

Assemblymember Barrett, who represents 15 school districts, has helped our public schools secure millions of dollars in state aid to reduce the tax burden and modernize school infrastructure. In 2023, Didi helped deliver an historic investment in our schools - finally fully funding foundation aid for the first time since the school aid formula was created. Over the years, she has also secured millions in discretionary funding for our local schools, ensuring they receive the necessary resources to support teachers, students and parents.

Assemblymember Barrett is the former chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Libraries and Education Technology. She is a longtime supporter of libraries and she is outspoken about making state leaders aware of the important and often pioneering role they play in local communities.

Pushed for and secured significant increases in funding for library construction grants to help local libraries make much-needed facility upgrades and enhance services (SFY-2018-19 Budget).

 

Spearheaded the Historic Trades Initiative, partnering with local institutions like Dutchess BOCES, Dutchess Community College, and the national not-for-profit HistoriCorps to train the next generation of local tradesmen and women to rehabilitate historic structures. 

 

Wrote legislation enacted in the 2022-23 Budget directing the state to conduct a statewide study of New York’s museums, for the purpose of creating a clear and viable funding structure for those entities.. 

 

Secured $1 million for Columbia Greene Community College to build an expanded technology center.

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