Pat’s Record of Results

Investing in SUNY, CUNY, and Private Colleges. As a first-generation college graduate, Pat understands accessible higher education and workforce training are the bedrock of our state’s future, which is why she has fought to keep tuition affordable and match public funding with high-growth fields. Last year, as the Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, Pat secured a historic increase in state funding for SUNY and CUNY campuses. She is committed to unleashing the full power of student aid to build world-class public institutions of higher learning that center economic mobility and New York’s workforce needs.

Making College Affordable for the Middle Class. Pat is a tireless advocate for our students, faculty, colleges, and universities, and she is committed to ensuring that higher education in New York – the great social equalizer – remains affordable and accessible to students and families by launching the ‘Turn on the TAP’ campaign and is fighting to secure an update of New York’s 50-year-old Tuition Assistance Program.

Growing and Supporting our Healthcare Workforce. As Chair of the Higher Education Committee, Pat has prioritized legislation to recruit and retain healthcare workers in the midst of dire shortages of medical professionals across New York State. Wait times have skyrocketed at healthcare providers across New York, and Pat is working to address the healthcare professional shortage crisis to ensure that all of us can access reliable, timely, and quality care.

Making it Easier for Nurses to Enter the Field. To help address the nursing shortage, Pat introduced legislation to remove an unnecessary barrier to completing the requirements for practicing nursing in New York. Thanks to Pat’s bill, which was signed into law in 2023, New York has joined 31 other states in allowing the use of nursing simulation tools to partially fulfill the training requirement for nursing.

Addressing the Housing Crisis. Pat has been a staunch advocate for a state housing package that increases housing supply while also protecting tenants’ rights. She has introduced legislation to increase oversight of the short-term rental industry, which has driven up rents and taken livable apartments off the market – exacerbating the already-dire housing shortage. In addition, Pat co-sponsors legislation that would establish a statewide right to counsel in eviction proceedings, which would provide an essential protection to tenants facing eviction.

Fighting for our Communities. As a longtime resident of the Capital Region, Pat realizes how important it is for New York leaders to pay attention to the needs of residents in the Capitol’s backyard. That’s why she’s secured more than $80 million to close Albany’s structural budget deficit between 2016 and 2023. Pat has delivered for our communities by simplifying property taxes, promoting open space conservation in Guilderland and Bethlehem, and securing millions in funding for local governments and organizations that support the underserved in our region.

Growing the Earnings of Working New Yorkers. Pat fought to increase minimum wage to $15 per hour in Upstate New York, because she knows what it takes for working families to make ends meet. In 2020, Pat introduced legislation to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in order to put more money in the pockets of more working New Yorkers, boosting the earnings of already eligible families and expanding eligibility to more of our neighbors, like single adults and seniors. 

Promoting Small Businesses. Craft beverage production has grown exponentially in the Capital Region in just the last few years, and Pat has successfully passed legislation to support this multimillion-dollar industry – bringing jobs and development to local farms, cideries, distilleries, and more. Additionally, she carries legislation to create a small wholesaler’s license, which would allow new entrants into the liquor wholesaling market to compete with large multinational corporations.

Investing in Multi-use Trails. Pat has long fought to support and expand our multi-use trail system, which is a vital source of tourism and economic activity in New York. The Erie Canalway Trail alone has an estimated annual impact of $253 million. Last fall, Pat introduced the ‘Greenway Trails for a Green Future’ package of legislation, which would improve trail standards and provide new opportunities for expansion of our trail network.

Visionary for Albany‘s Waterfront: I-787 Study. Pat has been at the forefront of efforts to reimagine Albany’s access to its waterfront along the Hudson River. Pat secured more than $5 million to study the reimagining of Interstate 787 in downtown Albany, to ensure access to our historic waterfront, reconnect neighborhoods, and reverse decades of transportation planning to improve multi-modal transportation, mixed-use development, and more. While the study is underway, she has been assisting the Albany Riverfront Collaborative, a group dedicated to securing resources to begin the planning of a new waterfront future for Albany.

Wadsworth State Health Sciences Labs. Pat has been a staunch advocate for the consolidation and upgrade of the Wadsworth public health and life sciences labs. She helped secure a $600 million state investment in the labs as part of a $1.7 billion revitalization project that will anchor the Capital Region’s emergence as a science and technology hub.

Funding our Schools. As the former President of the City of Albany School District Board of Education, Pat has long been a champion for our public schools, a mission that helped launch her into elected office. Pat has been an outspoken advocate for increasing K-12 school foundation aid and closing the Gap Elimination Aid (GEA) by supporting several successful multibillion-dollar increases in state education funding, including the full funding of foundation aid in 2023.

Expanding Afterschool Programming. Pat recognizes that participation in afterschool activities boosts academic outcomes for students. As a leading Assembly proponent for afterschool programming, Pat fought for an increase in state funding, which helped the Albany Schools to obtain a $1.4 million grant to increase afterschool activities in 2017.

Supporting Local Libraries. Pat has long supported New York public libraries, which serve as vibrant centers of local communities.  In 2017, she successfully advocated for a $4 million increase in funding for library building infrastructure, which allowed libraries to leverage grants for renovation and revitalization.

Preserving our Environment.  Pat is an outspoken advocate in the New York Assembly for protecting the environment. She has consistently received a 100% rating from the New York League of Conservation Voters and Environmental Advocates of New York. Pat was a strong advocate for the inclusion of an additional $300 million in New York’s Environmental Protection Fund in 2017, which supports the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, the NYS Preservation League, parks, land conservation, and numerous other local environmental programs. Pat is a founding member of the NYS Environmental Legislators Caucus.

Protecting Open Space. In 2022, Pat successfully passed legislation with Senator Todd Kaminsky that would make it an official strategic goal of New York State to preserve 30% of its land, oceans, and waterways by the year 2030. Already, the federal government and State of California have adopted 30×30 goals, and scientists warn that we must preserve 30% of our environment to prevent mass extinction of biodiverse species and ecosystems. Locally, Pat has been a dedicated defender of preserving open space in our communities, sponsoring legislation to enable the Towns of Bethlehem and Guilderland to provide property tax exemptions for landowners who agree to conserve open space for 15 years or longer.

Working for Energy Transportation Safety.  Pat has spearheaded efforts to protect our community from oil train disasters in New York. Pat introduced legislation to require oil trains to carry sufficient insurance to pay for cleanup costs should a derailment disaster occur. This bill has passed overwhelmingly in the NYS Assembly with strong bipartisan support for the last few years but has failed to move in the Senate. In 2021, Pat introduced legislation that would require that applicants for new gas pipeline permits disclose their insurance information to the public before project approval.

Leader on Toxic Chemical Safety. Pat led the charge in the Assembly to ban harmful, carcinogenic PFAS chemicals from food packaging and clothing. Pat has been a national leader in eliminating PFAS contamination from drinking water and consumer products and remains committed to combatting emerging contaminants.

Fighting Plastic Pollution. Pat has introduced a package of legislation to roll back the growing tide of plastic pollution. The package would require single-use plastic water bottles to be made of 100% recycled content by 2025, empower consumers to use reusable containers at food service establishments, and ban single-use plastic water bottles from state parks.

Improving our Justice System & Indigent Legal Services. Ensuring the fundamental principles of justice, and equal treatment under the law is a bedrock value of our society. Pat successfully passed legislation to reform and fully fund New York’s public defense system with solid bipartisan support. The bill, which was adopted in the 2017 budget, was praised by the NYCLU as “the most important criminal justice reform legislation in memory.” After a multi-year effort, the law now reduces caseloads for public defenders, requires the state to provide funding to all 62 counties to meet the standards for public defense services required by law, and helps ensure that anyone accused of a crime in New York has access to quality legal representation.

Social Media Accountability. To boost the accountability of social media networks, Pat sponsored legislation that requires social media networks to provide a accessible mechanism for users to report hateful content online and imposes fines on companies that refuse to comply. This bill was signed into law by Governor Hochul on June 6, 2022.

Making our Communities Safer from Gun Violence.  In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in October 2017 in Las Vegas – the deadliest in American history – Pat introduced rare bipartisan legislation to close a legal loophole and ban bump stock devices designed to make assault weapons more deadly. This legislation, signed into law in 2019, criminalizes possession of trigger cranks, bump fire devices, or any other device that is designed to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle. In addition, legislation Pat sponsored with Senator Zellnor Myrie, which became law in 2021, allows victims of gun violence to have their day in court when the actions of gun dealers or manufacturers contributed to an act of gun violence.

Protecting our Kids. Pat passed legislation in 2013 increasing penalties for those who engage in public lewdness. The law specifically targets repeat offenders and those who target or commit public lewdness in front of children. In 2016, in response to the tragic killing of 5-year-old Kenneth White, Pat successfully passed a law improving access to state child abuse registry for state and local law enforcement in missing child cases.

Ensuring an Affordable, Planned Transition to Clean Energy. Pat is a leader in the Assembly advocating for an orderly transition to renewable energy sources that prioritizes affordability for ordinary New Yorkers. Her New York Home Energy Affordable Transition Act (NY HEAT) would end the ‘100-foot-rule’, which requires New York ratepayers to subsidize an increasingly expensive, unaffordable, and shrinking gas-powered energy grid to the tune of $200M a year. NY HEAT also limits utility costs for ratepayers, a win-win for the climate and New Yorkers’ pocketbooks.

Investing in Clean Water and Flood Mitigation. In 2017, Pat successfully fought to double the maximum grant funding available for municipalities to fund water and sewer upgrades. The Capital Region benefited from Pat’s efforts, with a record $10 million awarded to the Albany Pool Communities and $2.4 million to the Town of Guilderland. In addition, Pat successfully directed a $1.25 million capital grant to address the systemic flooding that has been an ongoing serious issue for decades for residents in Guilderland’s McKownville neighborhood.

Building Clean Transportation Infrastructure. As a founding member of the Assembly’s Upstate Caucus, she helped secure an unprecedented increase of more than $100 million in Upstate Transit capital funding over four years in 2016, which has led to critically needed expansions in CDTA services. In 2019, Pat passed legislation to help electrify New York’s transportation sector by mapping electric vehicle infrastructure and giving condo owners the “right to charge,” empowering them to bypass unreasonable restrictions on electric vehicle charger installations. Pat also sponsors legislation that would facilitate the purchase of electric school buses by school districts by removing restrictions on state aid.

Championing Energy Efficiency. Legislation Pat sponsored in 2019 will require the New York Department of State to set and enforce energy efficiency standards for fourteen categories of commercial and consumer products. In 2021, Pat introduced the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act which will align the State’s building and energy efficiency code with the ambitious climate goals in the Community and Climate Protection Act (CLCPA.)

Protecting New Yorker’s Right to Repair.  In 2021, Pat introduced the Digital Fair Repair Act, which protects consumers who want to repair their own electronic devices from ‘repair monopolies,’ which corral consumers into limited repair options mostly controlled by the original device manufacturers. The legislation, signed into law in 2022, enables consumers to get a longer service life out of electronics, thereby keeping them in service and out of landfills.

Award Highlights:

New York School Boards Association Freshman of the Year
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood Advocate for Choice
Albany City Councils of PTAs Selena Sloane Butler Award
Capital District Susu Women’s Club Leadership Award
American Labor Studies Center Kate Mullaney Award
Albany Boys and Girls Community Impact Award
New York Defender Association Service of Justice Award
New Yorkers for Better Libraries Library Champion
American Irish Legislators Society of NYS Charles Stewart Parnell Award
2021 New York League of Conservation Voters Environmental Champion
2021 Environmental Advocates of New York Environmental Champion Award
Capital Women
Albany High School Hall of Fame
National Federation of Democratic Women
Whitney Young Living the Legacy Award
St. Rose Community of Excellence Award

Pat’s legislative accomplishments have received coverage in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters, Nikkei Asia, New York Times, Times Union, Associated Press, State Watch, City and State, Governing Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Gizmodo, The Hill, Fox News, Fast Company, China Daily, Bloomberg Law Journal, the New York Daily News, ABC News, CBS News, CBC Radio and more.