Governor Cuomo delivered the first of four parts of his state of the state address Monday, most of which revolves around fighting and recovering from the impact of COVID-19.
Details will come in the days ahead, but Cuomo says the first two steps of his seven point plan are clear:
"First, we must defeat COVID, and beat back the assault as the virus rages these next few months. It will not be easy. Second, the vaccine will end the COVID crisis. We must vaccinate 70 to 90 percent of our 20 million New Yorkers, and we must do it quickly, safely, and fairly."
Cuomo emphasized that residents bear a great part of the responsibility to keep the virus from spreading. The third part of his plan is to address the short term economic crisis and the $15 billion deficit facing the state. Senator John Mannion just took his seat in Albany, and says the poor and middle class shouldn’t be asked to fill the gap.
"The citizens of the 50th senate district...the people who do the work and the kids who sit in classrooms...we cannot put this budget deficit on their backs."
Mannion, like Cuomo, says the state’s wealthiest residents are in a better position to shoulder more of the burden. In the meantime, Cuomo says the state will focus on rebuilding its economy through infrastructure projects, New Deal style.
"We will commence the most aggressive construction and transportation development program in the nation. New air, road, and rail systems Upstate and downstate, more affordable housing, more economic development to create jobs jobs and more jobs."
Cuomo wants many of those jobs to be in the green energy sector. The governor also talked about healing the state’s social infrastructure after 2020 exposed tensions between the community and police more than ever.
"Does every 911 call require an armed police officer to respond? What role should mental health and domestic violence professionals play in public safety? What is the transparency and disciplinary policy? What is the use of force policy?"
Cuomo has asked the state's 500 police departments to come up with a reform plan by April 1st if they want to receive state funding.
Senator John Mannion says progress is being made.
"Those conversations are happening to get this right, to have greater transparency and accountability. These law enforcement jobs are important and dangerous. We should make sure all community voices are heard. What has happened over the last year has highlighted the fact that we have areas where we need to improve."
Governor Cuomo is expected to reveal more details of his agenda in the coming days.