by Robert Kesten

Individualism is as American as apple pie, but so is barn-raising and bringing food to a neighbor in need. Giving everyone a fair and equal opportunity is as much appreciated in this generous nation of ours as is the likes of a Bill Gates, who built a multibillion-dollar enterprise and changed the world.

This is what the 2018 election is about, this is what is best about our nation: that unique combination of community and individualism. In New York we must work together to strengthen our communities and our state, addressing local issues while solving the crises that impact us all.

We prize our shared values, respect our institutions, and understand the importance of standing together in good times and bad. Over recent years, however, we have been divided, encouraged to fear our neighbors and distrust our government, taught to shy away from positive change and dismiss the opportunities afforded our nation as a world leader. We find ourselves seeing Us vs. Them. There is no future for us in that way of thinking.

The 2018 election is about righting this great ship and putting us back on course as the leader of the free world, a nation of risk takers who care for those in need while building the renewable and clean engine of tomorrow. This election, at every level of government, is about doing what is right for all Americans—from New York and Alaska to Florida and Idaho.

Breaking New Ground, Not Protecting the Status Quo

The New York State Assembly has passed thoughtful, commonsense gun safety legislation— legislation focused on making us a safer society, while the Assemby’s Republican counterparts in the NY Senate have proposed bills that make our schools and communities into fortresses, making us virtual prisoners in our own homes.

The Assembly has passed universal healthcare, which independent studies find will save our state multiple billions of dollars a year, while the Senate has supported the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act.

On voting reform, the environment and women’s health, the Assembly has pursued legislation that makes New York a leader in human and civil rights, while the State Senate returns us to centuries past. It is time to elect a Democratic State Senate and let New York be New York again. Leading, not following. Breaking new ground, not protecting the status quo. Living up to our reputation as the center of the world.

Throwing Money at Problems Isn’t the Solution

It might sound good that our state will spend more money than ever before in fighting opioid addiction in 2018, but really it indicates that the opioid problem has grown worse.

It sounds good that our state will find additional funding to repave roads, but that is because we have not done more with mass transit and technology so that more people are able to get where they need to go faster, cheaper, and cleaner than before, and our roads last longer.

Forward thinking like that will bring more economic development to our communities, while keeping the air and water cleaner and the economy growing.

Throwing money at problems isn’t the solution. Addressing the root causes of our problems is the only way to solve them. Gun proliferation, drugs and alcohol addiction, domestic abuse, and child victimization are symptoms of some very serious problems. We need multi-pronged approaches to solving them.

Electing forward thinking problem-solvers to our state and federal legislatures in 2018 will make the difference we need.

Join me in turning the NYS Senate Democratic. Do it for your children and grandchildren, do it for yourself, do it for New York.

Hear more from me about these issues at our District 40 Town Halls »

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