The Herald endorses State Assemblywoman Judy Griffin in the race for the seat in the 21st District.
In her first term, Griffin has been a forceful advocate for her constituents in Albany, co-sponsoring bills that would bring meaningful, lasting change and, more specifically, more schools funding.
Griffin, a Democrat, co-sponsored a bill that was signed into law in June, which established a state disaster emergency loan program, to be administered by industrial development agencies, for small businesses and nonprofits as they recover from the coronavirus pandemic. In recent months her focus has been on offering her constituents support with a variety of challenges they face as the coronavirus crisis drags on. She hosted a series of small-business conferences on Zoom, in which experts offered residents guidance and fielded their questions on applying for financial assistance programs and loans like the Paycheck Protection Program.
Griffin is working to reduce red tape in the New York Forward Loan Fund program so that grants for small businesses are expedited, and exploring ways to support small businesses that are having difficulty paying rent. She also supports bills that would increase school tax relief, expand income eligibility for tax credits and exemptions and establish an age at which property taxes would freeze for Long Island seniors.
As local school districts struggled with their response to the pandemic and face likely future funding cuts, Griffin backed a bill that ensured state aid payments when school schedules fell below the required 180-day threshold. It, too, became law in June, and helped schools to get the funding they needed.
Griffin’s challenger, Republican Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick, brings fresh ideas to the table, especially in the area of economic development. She advocates the creation of Economic Development Zones, which would set zoning and governmental assistance parameters for entire neighborhoods or blocks, as opposed to a piecemeal approach of redeveloping individual parcels.
We wish Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick well, and hope to see her continue her community activism. But we feel that Griffin has been a stalwart advocate for Long Islanders in her first term, and urge voters to return her to Albany.