With the sun shining and temperatures hovering around the 30 degree mark, labor leaders, clergy members, anti-poverty activists and New Yorkers for fiscal fairness gathered for the 25th annual People’s State of the State at the steps of the State Capitol in Albany.
It was the day before Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address, and a tradition for political activists to publically air their concerns.
In front of several TV station cameras and reporters, PEF President Susan M. Kent said, “Tomorrow, in the governor’s state budget recommendations, we want to see money our members brought into the state and the services they provide be included in the budget.”
Kent echoed some of the concerns raised by other speakers.
“We need a $15 an hour minimum wage. People who are working and people who aspire to work need to have a livable wage,” Kent said. “We need single-payer health care for all New Yorkers.
“New York needs to be the state that leads the rest. And we need to have money in the executive budget to address poverty and education. I am calling on the governor and Legislature to make sure the final budget includes resources and vital services for all our citizens. We also need to make sure there is money in the final executive budget to provide quality services for the most vulnerable individuals in the state, health care for all and optimal education for every child of every economic background.”
The crowd of less than 50 people roared after Kent spoke, chanting “Raise the Wage.”
Kent added that the union, as in the past, would have a strong presence during the Legislative session and will continue to fight for fairness, and especially for the needed public services that every community deserves.
President Susan M. Kent’s speech: