WE THE PEOPLE: Week of April 12

Governor Cuomo has changed the environment in Albany but he must remain open-minded to new strategies needed for continued improvement. Success can produce more success but it can also be an intoxicating elixir which dulls the senses.

Our governor must be open to discussion and change even if he has been successful. Every day is an opportunity to do good. We must reach out and donate time or money to help a worthy cause or a stranger in need.

We are beset with personal and societal challenges, but with courage, hard work and love we can overcome any challenge. We walk beside heroes and heroines in our everyday life. When you remember the people who influenced your life the most, it is usually family members, good neighbors, police officers, firefighters or a teacher.

We fixate upon rock stars and celebrities but we live life with regular people. A wonderful mentor taught me about biology and how life on earth exists in a cycle. Plants and animals live, grow and die to make room for new life on earth.

Brother Patrick Hogan, a Marist brother who dedicated more than 50 years of his life to nurturing young minds and serving society, taught about biology and life. He gave good advice when he said a person must find a path which will lead to a productive life which, in turn, enriches the world while giving a meaning to existence.

It is with courage, hard work and love that we will be able to address the problems facing New York. We need to rededicate ourselves to being the best that we can be and enriching the lives of other people every day. This would leave less time to complain, talk about sports, play video games or watch television, but that is not a bad thing.

New York must wrestle with health care, education, hydro-fracking, and its expanding debt. Although Albany trimmed its budget by one percent to $132.6 billion, it increased spending by more than $1 billion.

The MTA capital building budget is based solely on borrowing so that the cost of debt service or loan interest payment will increase to $3.1 billion in 2018! Our state assets have been quietly mortgaged to the hilt because this allows our representatives to increase spending while honestly claiming taxes have not been raised.

It may make the next generation of New York citizens live a life of indentured servitude. The budget increased school assistance by $800 million but money without accountability for student behavior and student effort is money wasted.

The future can be as bright as we are willing to make it. It will take hard work, however the improvements, great and small, that we make in our personal lives and public careers will be worth the effort because it will create an energy of change throughout society.

New York must trim its debt, including debt that is hidden in its governmental authorities. We need continued innovation and invigoration for our economy. We should develop collaborative centers for innovation to develop young designers and engineers along with private sector partners like The Pratt Institute and Parsons School for Design.

A happy and joyful Easter and blessed Pesach to all.

Brian Kieran is an attorney who works as a Principal Law Clerk in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Kings County and is a Democrat.

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