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Sen. Gillibrand Raises Concerns Ahead Of SOTU

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Earlier today, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand previewed President Trump’s State of the Union Address.

Gillibrand, a Democrat, says she'd like to hear how Trump will make health care more affordable for Americans, and how he'll create more good-paying jobs.    "Too many hard-working Americans are still barely able to get by, no matter how hard they work and no matter how well the stock market's doing. Even as the Dow hit new highs over the last year, how many workers in New York saw their pay increase? We need to start rewarding work again, and that means paying workers enough so they can actually take care of their families, save for their kids' tuition and save for retirement."

Gillibrand would also like to know more about the president's plans for infrastructure:   "If we don't make major direct investments in our infrastructure, then our economy and our communities in New York and all across the country, are going to fall behind. Investments in infrastructure are an investment in America and in jobs that can't be outsourced, and are a key to a growing economy both in the short-run and decades into the future.”

Gillibrand says she is looking for specifics on how Trump would make education more affordable and accessible.  "Many businesses in New York have good job openings but too many people lack the skills and the training they need to fill those jobs."

Filling technology jobs has been difficult in the Capital Region. In both April 2016 and 2017, surveys conducted by Linium Recruiting found local employers having difficulty finding high-tech workers. Linium's Miriam Dushane:  "Yes there's lots going on, there's lots of things coming to this area or companies that are growing and expanding, but they are struggling still to find enough people to fill all of the roles in the demand that we have in the area. So it's just a matter of we gotta keep building the workforce or developing the workforce."

When it comes to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Gillibrand believes Congress and the president have the power to resolve the issue with the stroke of the pen, but doubts that they have "the will to do it."   "Our DREAMers should never be used as political pawns. They're actively serving in our military, our schools and our hospitals. They're our neighbors and our friends. And I hope President Trump commits tonight to helping some of those, without conditions."

In his recent "State of the County" speech, Democratic Albany County Executive Dan McCoy addressed undocumented immigrants.  "Over 800,000 DREAMers are at risk if Congress fails to act by March 5th to restore deportation protection and work permits. We can't let that happen! Here in Albany County we will continue to give a voice to those who want to be heard on immigration and who seek a pathway to citizenship."

Gillibrand recently announced new legislation to help Puerto Rico's massive rebuilding effort: she is bringing the mayor of San Juan as her guest to the State of the Union, and says she'll urge President Trump and Congress to act to address the economic and humanitarian disaster on the island.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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