October 6, 2019
When a 3-year-old died after falling through a grease trap at a University Avenue restaurant last month, local New York State Assembly Member Jamie Romeo responded quickly.
“I am filled with a profound sense of sadness and anger,” she said.
Within days, Romeo and fellow Assembly Member Harry Bronson pushed to strengthen a bill that would prevent such tragedies from happening again.
But, when it comes to the tens of thousands of Rochester city students tragically falling into another kind of trap — a lifetime of poverty and the multitude of ills, sometimes deadly, that come with it — Romeo’s sadness and anger appear absent.
No action in Albany
Bronson has expressed concern over the dire lives these children lead. But only once, as far as we can recall.
“As elected leaders, we have a responsibility to fight for our children’s future …,” he declared while introducing a bill that merely tinkered with the status quo.
Though Bronson has been in Albany for nearly a decade, this was the first time he sponsored legislation aimed at reforming Rochester schools. The bill’s sole supporter appeared to be Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski.
Bronson and Romeo are not alone in their lack of real action on this issue. Except for Assembly Member David Gantt, none of our local state legislators have made any move to reform a badly broken system that has been failing our children and our community for decades.
Spend. Fail. Repeat.
Yet, state budget after state budget, they approve sending millions of our tax dollars to the city school district, which is already millions in the red this year. They follow that up with press releases, patting themselves on the back for voting to increase school funding. They never mention their lack of positive and measurable results.
They spend. They fail. They repeat. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs off on it, year after year.
Our leaders profound and ongoing lack of sadness, anger, urgency and accountability is staggering.
As state lawmakers, they are in a unique position of power. Only they can introduce legislation and policy changes to begin making the structural and systemic changes our children need.
When they return to Albany in January, they must be ready to take on this issue with unprecedented boldness and ingenuity. And only we, their constituents, can hold them accountable for doing that.
Contact your state legislators today and tell them to get started now.
Assembly Member Harry Bronson 585-244-5255
Sen. Rich Funke 585-223-1800
Assembly Member David Gantt 585-454-3670
Sen. Joe Robach 585-225-3650
Assembly Member Jamie Romeo 585-467-0410
Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer 585-454-0322
Gov. Andrew Cuomo 518-474-8390