Here in the State of New York - and particularly in our government - we honor our immigrant heritage and we celebrate our cultural diversity.
We know that moving our state and our nation toward lasting security, justice and prosperity for all citizens, requires that we embrace and utilize the ideas and the energy, the values and the work ethic of each and every community.
So, we are delighted that you are here participating in this legislative advocacy day.
Let me take a moment to acknowledge the bright and charismatic young leader who is primarily responsible for bringing about and organizing this special and important event.
Assembly Member Grace Meng of Flushing, Queens is the youngest Asian American New Yorker ever elected to serve in our State Legislature, and the only Asian American serving in this Legislature today.
In her brief tenure in state government, Assembly Member Meng has distinguished herself as a "bridge builder," as an influential advocate for fairness and equality, and as a true champion of children and families, women and seniors, as well as small business owners. In fact, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Grace Meng to his Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Team.
I know I speak for all of our colleagues in the Assembly who are gathered here today when I say, you could not have a better representative in our state government than you have in Assembly Member Grace Meng.
Let me also acknowledge all of the sponsors this Asian Pacific American Legislative Advocacy Day:
The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus and its Chair, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson;
The New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, and its Chair, Assembly Member Nick Perry;
The Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, and its Chair, Assembly Member Felix Ortiz;
As well as all of the organizations that are participating in this event.
To the Chinese American Planning Council, the Henry Street Settlement, and the Asian Americans for Equality, let me say how delighted I am to have friends and neighbors from my hometown here with us today.
What we work together to accomplish in Lower Manhattan, Grace Meng and I and all of our Assembly Majority colleagues are striving to realize here in Albany and across our state every day.
We have introduced legislation to reinstate "the millionaire's tax," so that this state can sufficiently fund education and fulfill our moral obligations to our most vulnerable citizens.
We believe that all New Yorkers should have the same access to our government, the same access to our health and education systems, no matter their ethnicity or the language they speak.
This is what Democracy is all about and achieving the "ideal" requires that we work together to educate and advocate to make it happen.
So again, I thank all of you for being here and for representing all of the members of the New York's Asian Pacific American community who could not be here today to speak for themselves.
Please make the most of this day in Albany that you have and know that you have real friends in the New York State Legislature. We are here to work for you.
Thank you. Enjoy the day.