Gazette Endorsement: Amedore leads on drug fight, business reform

Senator takes the lead on reform to help small businesses, address substance abuse
George Amedore is sworn in as a state senator on Dec. 31, 2014.
George Amedore is sworn in as a state senator on Dec. 31, 2014.

By working so hard to address the state’s substance abuse crisis, Sen. George Amedore is actually tackling several problems that affect the residents of the 46th Senate District.

Addiction. Social services. Law enforcement. Corrections. Education. The family structure.

That’s because the impact of alcohol abuse and other forms of substance abuse on society is far more pervasive than its impact on the individual abuser.

Fighting substance abuse is one way in which Amedore, seeking his third term, has been effective in Albany and why he’s earned another two years.

As the owner of a local, family-owned construction business, Amedore knows first-hand the difficulties that small-business owners have in dealing with New York state regulations that affect everything from hiring to the bottom line.

To that end, he chairs the Senate’s Workforce Development Task Force and has been pushing for changes in the way the state prepares its young people for jobs.

That includes support and funding for more career-based education in schools and community colleges.

To help reduce the cost of doing business in New York,  Amedore has sponsored legislation to ease the burden on companies for workers’ compensation benefits.

For instance, one bill (S4554/A6128) would set a 10-year limit on workers’ comp payments made to those with partial permanent disabilities who return to work. 

He also wants the state to help businesses better figure out how to navigate the state approval process to streamline the amount of time it takes a business to get up and running, and he wants the state to be less punitive to businesses when it appears the main purpose is to pad state coffers. 

These approaches by state government, he says, hurt business growth in New York state and limit the ability of businesses to operate effectively and profitably.

On the substance abuse crisis, Amedore chairs the Senate Standing Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and is co-chair of the bipartisan Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction.

He supports a multi-pronged approach to the drug problem that includes a preventative effort, continuing education for prescribers on the impact of their products, education in the classroom and alternatives to pain management other than opioids.

In September, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Amedore’s bill that allows patients suffering from acute pain access to medical marijuana.

He also helped secure more than $240 million in the state budget for opiate services and recovery efforts.

Amedore’s opponent, Patricia Strong, is also a small business owner with an extensive background in the environment and alternative energies.

She’s pushing for changes to the state’s approach to economic development and supports reasonable regulation to protect the environment while not killing business in the state.

But her experience and positions didn’t offer us enough to overcome Amedore’s.

Two years ago, when we endorsed Amedore’s opponent, we had no major issues with the job he was doing at the time, although we did say he could have done more on aid to school districts, and ethics and campaign finance reform.

Having been in office now for four years, Amedore has demonstrated tangible progress on addressing New York’s substance abuse issue and has established himself as a strong voice in the Senate for business, education and helping vulnerable citizens such as veterans.

He’s earned a third term.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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