Local Candidates Share Ideas to Improve Lives of Women & Children

Photo Credit: Donovan Berthoud/Herald
Just over a week ago, I had the pleasure of participating in the first and only political debate between two of the three women vying for the newly created New York State Assembly - District 22.  Pat Maher did not appear and did not respond to my invitation to participate in this blog post.  The new district includes all of Valley Stream, Elmont, Floral Park, South Floral Park, and some parts of Franklin Square.  

After visiting the White House twice this year to listen in on various forums targeting women/mothers, I find it very important to select a political representative who has the needs of children, women, and families high on their political agenda.  Here are two questions I asked on your behalf.  Please read them carefully, read through their bios/websites and you can even listen in on parts of the debate.   Then decide who to vote for THIS Thursday, September 13th.

Question #1
When it comes to the youth living in the district in which you are seeking to represent, what are the problems that you see facing its youth, specifically birth to age 18, and what do you plan to do about it?
 Milagros Vicente

As a mother of three children, a 5 year old girl, a 14 year old boy, and a 23 year old man with a disability, I see the problems that face our youth. First, I see that there is not much for our kids to do. Too often our kids get into trouble because there is no constructive place for them to go when not in school.  They need to be involved in something. Second, there is a lack of resources available for new mothers and we can no longer rely on Nassau County which continues to cut funding and services. If elected, I would work together with other local and state officials as well as private organizations and groups on numerous projects aimed at getting our youth off the couches and street corners and engaged in activities that increase their self esteem, develop skills, discipline and responsibility. I will seek to bring in public and private funds to help existing youth programs as well as help create new ones. I will fight for jobs for our teenagers and young adults. I will advocate for appropriate and substantial toddler, Pre-K, and head start programs in the communities in the district.

Michaelle Solages  

There are many problems facing our youth in these difficult times.  A primary concern is education.  Making sure that our children learn so that they can compete in this global economy, while allowing them to have youthful endeavors, is certainly a challenge.  I will ensure that the testing is done with more accuracy by making the company that administers the exams more accountable.  We cannot expect our teachers and students to be evaluated on tests that have errors or omissions.  I will also make sure that our schools follow through with a strong physical education program.  While we are looking in many areas for the reason that so many of our children are so overweight, we cannot ignore the fact that physical education in schools is not as rigorous as it used to be.  Our children must get the proper exercise that will enable them to be healthier and hopefully develop in them the drive to maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.  Having parks where they can play in a safe environment is as important as the school programs.  In addition to state aid, I propose a business and parks partnership similar to what the State has done with our highways.  A healthy and prosperous park system will enable our children to have a safe environment for exercise and play.  Our children must be able to grow up without fearing predators.  Strong laws incarcerating those who endanger our children should be enforced.  We owe it to our children.  

Question #2
If elected, what will your office do to advance the voice of women/mothers in the community and state of New York?

Michaelle Solages

If elected, my office would promote a sound educational policy as well as a forward looking energy policy to advance the voice of women/mothers in the community.  Both of these initiatives impact on our children's future and our pocketbooks.  

As a member of the Assembly, I would be in a position to influence educational policy.  We are moving in the right direction with our new Core Curriculum but we must make sure that our children can do the basic reading and math functions to compete in the real world with an accurate testing procedure.  At the high school level, we should reconsider our grading policies by changing from a 'scaled' score to a scoring procedure based on 100% as we did many years ago.  We must examine the unfunded mandates that we impose on our schools.  A sound educational system does a good job educating our children while making it affordable for our homeowners.  I believe we should return to developing vocations for our students at the high school level.  Many of our students can benefit from a co-op program with local contractors to develop future electricians, plumbers, and carpenters.  This measure would enable our children to become productive taxpaying citizens.  Our children can still go to college, but as we have realized college is not for everyone and it is not fair to give our children only one choice.  Moreover, we can make available tax credits for those contractors who take on our high school students as apprentices.

Secondly, the voice of women/mothers can advance our energy policy.  As women, we want our homes to be a safe place for our children, but can also envision and influence making our world a safe and productive place for our children as well.  Our country has never developed a long term energy policy.  I will champion a long term policy which includes safely using the natural resources available to us and at the same time using some of the proceeds from this to install solar panels in each and every public building in the State; imagine have our schools generating electricity while they are empty over the summer.  Think of the tax savings over the years. We must integrate all types of energy producing avenues, choosing one over the other does not make any sense and has cost us as consumers and taxpayers over the years.  

As a board member of the Sparkle Empowerment for Girls, a youth program affiliated with Talented Youth Development, I feel there is a great need to advance the voice of women in our community, our state and nation. If elected, my office would work to coordinate a plethora of events and activities to educate and inform the women and girls of our community on a variety of topics and issues. I will promote more girl empowerment  driven inititiaves. I will use my position as a mother and elected official as a tool to encourage our girls to take on more leadership roles and for more women and mothers to run for political positions.  More importantly, I will openly advocate for better services for women’s health and victims of domestic violence. On the state level, I will remain vigilant and conscience on any vote I make and its effect on the women of New York. I am a firm believer that our politicians should have no say on what we as women should do with our bodies.

*Note: The women above are running for a place on the Democratic line/ballot. There is no primary for Republicans this month.

If you're a registered Democrat or member of the Working Families Party, you will need to vote in the primary THIS Thursday, September 13th.  Republican Sean Wright, Republican, will be on the ballot in November.  Register to vote here.  If you're new to the area, voter registrations must be postmarked no later than October 12th in order to vote in the General Election which includes all elections on the Federal (Presidential, Senate, and Congressional levels), and state elections which includes State Senate and State Assembly.  

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