Speaker Heastie on the Inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris

Today, the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris brings a sense of hope and relief that Americans have desperately needed, especially following nearly a year of immeasurable loss and suffering caused by this global pandemic.

We know the road ahead will be challenging, but my colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority look forward to working with our new partners in government to restore our position, both as a state and nation, as a global economic leader and a bastion of progressive values.

This pandemic and subsequent economic recession has devastated New York. As I have said before, we will do our part to raise much needed revenue, but we simply cannot do it alone. We are heartened by the fact that this new administration is proposing direct aid to states and local governments, and plans to move swiftly to issue critical executive orders to correct four years of destructive and regressive policies.

In 2019, my colleagues and I passed historic housing protections for New Yorkers, and we have continued to fight for eviction protections during this economic recession. I am confident that this administration will work to ensure Americans who are struggling to make ends meet during this challenging time will get the help they need. My colleagues and I look forward to New Yorkers and all Americans getting the eviction protections they so desperately need to remain in their homes, as well as relief from student loan interest accrual and payments.

The Assembly Majority strongly believes that hardworking immigrant families deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. In 2019, we passed the José Peralta New York State DREAM Act to ensure that our Dreamers have access to higher education so that they are able to fully participate in the state’s economy. We are pleased to learn that President Biden will propose legislation that would give millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States a pathway to citizenship and will allow current recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as Dreamers, to apply for permanent legal residency immediately.

My colleagues and I were shocked and appalled by the cruel and senseless policies that tore families apart at our border, and we are hopeful that this new administration will work to reunite these families. We also look forward to seeing an end to the xenophobic travel policies that have ostracized, targeted and hurt our immigrant friends and neighbors.

For years, the Assembly Majority has listened to scientists and fought to protect our precious natural resources and mitigate the effects of climate change. We are eager to see our nation reenter the Paris climate accord and protect our planet for generations to come.

Here in the People’s House we remain committed to putting New York families first, and we look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to support that goal.