Common Sense: Protecting first responders

Congressmembers Dan Donovan and Peter King recently joined with State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and many leaders of law enforcement organizations to call on Congress to reauthorize the Zadroga Act permanently. The law, which has expired, helps pay for medical coverage and other expenses incurred by 9/11 first responders who have since been diagnosed with a variety of 9/11 related illnesses.

Joe Zadroga, the father of Detective James Zadroga who passed 10 years ago, spoke eloquently of the financial burdens brought upon his son as his illness took over his life. There were other family members and victims also present.

It is estimated that there are 30,000-plus individuals with 9/11-related illnesses. Many have only been identified in the past four years and some could take as long as another eight years before they manifest themselves.

New York State has its own version of the Zadroga Act which was sponsored many years ago by Senator Golden, whom I serve as chief of staff. Unfortunately, without the renewal of the federal provision, some will not be covered and others inadequately covered.

Congress has until December 11 to renew the law. Let us hope it takes Congressmembers Donovan and King’s lead and does it.

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Senator Golden had another large and successful fundraiser at Gargiulo’s recently. Running as a Republican-Conservative in a district that is almost three to one Democratic is an expensive proposition, so it’s important that the popular senator is able to get his political message out. And that can be expensive. The senator is also known for sponsoring many community activities, ranging from concerts in the park to Halloween events and senior fairs. There is no taxpayer money involved in producing these events so the funds he raises at these events helps defray the costs of the community activities.

One strong political note was the senator’s introduction of the new Chairperson of the Brooklyn Republican Party Teddy Ghorra to the crowd. Teddy was joined by almost two dozen of his leaders from throughout Brooklyn, including many new party leaders from the Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights area.

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Speaking of the Republican Party, there was a major political announcement affecting a local party rising star, Assemblymember Malliotakis. The Republican-Conservative assemblymember was named the state chairperson of Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.

This is a very big deal and one might say she is no longer a rising star but rather a major player in New York State politics with this appointment. In fact, this is the first time a local party leader has been the state chair of a Republican presidential campaign since then-Assemblymember Dominick DiCarlo chaired Ronald Reagan’s New York State campaign in 1980.

Many political pundits believe that Rubio is the most likely nominee of the Republican Party at next summer’s convention in Cleveland.

I congratulate Nicole, compliment Marco Rubio on an excellent choice and wish them both luck.


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