North Country New York state Assemblyman D. Billy Jones was appointed to the General Government and Local Assistance Joint Budget Subcommittee during this year’s budget negotiations. His goal was to not allow local communities to get “lost in the shuffle” as money issues were hashed out. After final passage of the budget bill, Speaker Carl Heastie noted that he had to “hold his nose” about some of the provisions. Fellow Democrat Billy Jones tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley he agrees with the Assembly leader about the $175.5 billion plan.
“There’s certain parts of the budget that I don’t like but you know this was a tough budget there’s no doubt about it. My toughest budget since I’ve been here I agree. But I like to look at positives out of it. Things that have and programs that will benefit the North Country that I fought hard to secure funding for. I can look at you know for veterans’ services, agriculture, I think we did fairly well in to preserve programs that are needed in the North Country. Seniors. I was able to get funding for Older Americans Technology Service, Senior Planet. We also secured more money for Offices of the Aging to help seniors age in place, to help them, you know keep them in their homes which we want to do for seniors. And education we were able to provide more funding for foundation aid there, not as much as I wanted or many of my colleagues did, but you know there’s certainly some positives here. You know the ah as far as economic development able to secure funding for the North Country Chamber of Commerce to help with the Quebec-New York corridor programs. So you know there are positives here but certainly there were areas that we needed to better and we need to continue to do better and I will fight for that.”
New York state Assembly Democrat D. Billy Jones represents the 115th District, which includes Clinton and Franklin counties and four towns in eastern St. Lawrence County. He was elected in 2016 after serving as chair of the Franklin County Legislature. He is also a former corrections officer.