The necessary ingredients for securing strong environmental protections include the active and sustained involvement of New Yorkers from all walks of life and a champion who fights for what is right and does not back down or shy away from the challenges inside the Capitol. While our environment and public health have many allies, champions who are ready to act, elevate issues, and get the job done are significantly fewer.
When it comes to standing up to big polluters and their allies in Albany who seek to weaken, block or delay protections, or thwart progress, New Yorkers have a new champion in Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan).
In just his first year as the ranking member of the environment committee, Senator Hoylman has established himself as a force to be reckoned with. He came to each committee meeting thoroughly prepared, he debated the provisions of bills and he typically led the discussion on the merits and how real people would be helped or hurt by legislation. He raised numerous floor amendments to bills including one to block Governor Cuomo’s $41 million raid of climate pollution reduction funds. He also led fl oor debates that exposed the majority’s denial of climate change and its position that diesel exhaust does not cause health impacts like asthma attacks and premature deaths. He convened the State Senate’s first ever forum on climate change to hear from those who are suffering from the impacts of our changing climate. That forum gave a voice to people like Rachel Rivera, a mom who lost her home during Superstorm Sandy, who implored Senate leaders to act on climate.
Senator Hoylman did everything a member in the minority could to bring the Child Safe Products Act, a bill that enjoyed the support of nearly two-thirds of all of his colleagues, up for a vote. His impact is being felt outside of the Capitol, too, as the Senator has placed an emphasis on using his social media and communication platforms to educate and inform the public about environmental policies and ways we can make better decisions in our own lives. New York’s environment would be very well served if more legislators came to the Capitol each day with the passion and conviction demonstrated this year by Senator Hoylman. New Yorkers can be grateful for his efforts and hopeful that more of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both houses will join him in 2016.