Issues and Solutions
Protecting Our Schools
Public schools must be made as strong as possible -- our children deserve no less. We need to find state-level solutions that help make all of our schools exceptional. The COVID-19 pandemic has strained our tax base and our schools, exposing harmful inequities as students struggle, in too many cases, to get their educations delivered at home. Meanwhile, schools face the strain of reopening with new protocols and the expenses that come with them. Locally, I will offer my leadership to find efficiencies that will improve educational quality and delivery. In Albany, I will fight for resources that ensure fair taxation in our community. I also promise to fight to protect our schools against the threat of charter schools and testing mandates that siphon money away from our children and their classrooms.
Protecting Our Environment
Environmental concerns are immediate concerns for the people living in our district. I will make addressing our concerns about water and green space a top priority. Drinking from the faucet in our district will introduce harmful contaminants to your body. Industrial waste has entered our ground water, and we are moving too slowly to clean it. Meanwhile, we live on an island that regularly experiences beach closures because of harmful runoff and algae blooms. Leaders who have refused to protect our community leave the door wide open for careless development. I will fight to protect these resources by crafting state law and enlisting state resources to address these threats to our health and economy.
Protecting Our Communities
Police are law enforcement professionals. As professionals, they deserve the highest level of support to ensure all of our citizens remain safe and are treated fairly. I spent 28-years as a New York State Trooper, and I saw daily the dedication to serve the community by police in the field. Police work hard. They care. They sacrifice. That’s why everyone in law enforcement deserves colleagues who are carefully recruited from the best available, who are screened, and who are regularly trained. Top recruitment and training are what we expect in every profession. Police deserve no less.
When we call the police, no matter who we are or where we live, we must have confidence that those who answer the call are among the best around. When I get to Albany, I will use my experience as a state trooper to advocate for exceptional policing. I will work to pass legislation that will improve police recruiting and screening, to make certain that police prospects are prepared to face all the challenges in the field. I will also fight to make New York State provide ongoing professional training to maintain the proficiencies and skills necessary to serve and protect all New Yorkers.
Protecting Our Health
Healthcare is a national issue, a statewide issue, and a local issue. It affects everyone. Finding ways to improve the healthcare system in New York will be a priority of mine. The healthcare industry has filled Albany with lobbyists, including former legislators, who fight to protect their industry. But who is fighting for you? Whether you are uninsured and just hoping you don't get sick or hurt, or lucky enough to have a so-called "Cadillac" insurance plan, you are likely familiar with the absurdities of healthcare delivery. Hospitals won't disclose the cost of procedures until AFTER you have them. Sometimes, "out-of-network" surgical teams working at "in-network" hospitals surprise you with bills for thousands of dollars that you can't afford. Worse, if you don't have insurance, or are poorly covered, you may delay medical attention until it is too late. I will fight to find ways to improve healthcare quality and access for all New Yorkers.
Mike Siderakis for NYS Senate SD-2 Stony Brook University Army CORP
February 28th 2020
The Governor wants to add changes to last years criminal justice reforms within the State budget. That is a bad idea. Last year’s criminal justice reforms voted on as part of the budget got us to this situation. Bills of such importance to the public should never be put in the budget, rather proposed as standalone bills and voted on their merit. Doing it this way ensures that the public has an opportunity for input and the legislature can come up with a compromise based on the publics input. Changes are absolutely necessary to last year’s criminal justice reforms. Cash bail should be eliminated and Judges should be allowed to judge on the rare occasions whether an alleged criminal is a threat to themselves or the public, and should be incarcerated pre-trial. In addition, the new discovery timelines enacted should have been discussed with the criminal justice system to have ensured the staffing and infrastructure was adequate to comply with the new law which took effect on January 1st 2020, or should have been phased in to handle the new timelines. The sixth amendment of our constitution to a speedy trial is the foundation of our bill of rights, thus legislation this important must be introduced, debated and voted on as a standalone bill by the legislature, not tossed into the budget vote.