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2020 State Senate Closing Arguments: Elijah Reichlin-Melnick

On June 23, New York is holding its primary elections. You can currently vote through mail-in ballot. Polls are open from 6a to 9p. Visit the Rockland County Board of Elections to learn where to vote.

by Elijah Reichlin-Melnick

I’m running for state senate because we need New York to work for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected. As a proud progressive, I believe government has a vital role to play in protecting our quality of life by ensuring safe neighborhoods, clean water, good roads and mass transit, and well-funded education for our kids.

I’ve been an elementary school teacher, a regional planner, a staffer to Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Congressman Eliot Engel as well as Former Orangetown Town Supervisor Andy Stewart. I’m currently an elected Village Trustee in Nyack and the Legislative Director for State Senator James Skoufis. Now, I’m stepping up to serve the people of the 38th District in Clarkstown, Orangetown, Ossining, and Ramapo as our next state senator.

In 2018 voters elected a progressive majority in the State Senate for the first time in decades, and in 2019 we saw the results: landmark action on climate change and reproductive health, making the property tax cap permanent, passage of the Child Victims Act, important gun safety reforms, decriminalization of marijuana, major election reforms, and more protections for LGBTQ New Yorkers. Now it’s time to continue on the path of bold change and ensure while keeping a focus on a full recovery from the public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19.

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Almost 25,000 lives have been lost due to COVID-19 in New York State, each one a person who was loved; a family member, a friend, a colleague. As we begin the reopening process, we must honor the lives lost by protecting our community from the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. We need bold, progressive action to help our residents and businesses cope with the public health and economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. I have proposed a robust plan to rebuild New York that includes free testing for all New Yorkers, increased funding for hospitals, expanded unemployment benefits, and zero-interest loans and grants to every small business that needs assistance. We must also hire thousands of public health workers to trace the contacts of those with the virus, in order to contain new outbreaks before they rage out of control. Only then will our economy have a chance to fully recover. You can read more about my COVID-19 recovery plan at The actions already taken in New York have dramatically reduced the number of new cases. Now we must stay vigilant or else we will follow in the path of states like Texas, Arizona, and Florida that relaxed their efforts to control the virus and are now seeing spikes in new cases.

Our campaign has built the broadest coalition of support of any of the candidates running for this position with endorsements from over 75 current and former elected officials, candidates, party and community leaders, labor organizations, and progressive groups. The endorsements span Rockland and Westchester Counties and include Westchester County Executive George Latimer, State Senator James Skoufis, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, three current and former town supervisors, seven current and former county legislators, six current and former mayors (including the mayors of Nyack, Upper Nyack, and Piermont) and dozens of current and former town councilmembers and village trustees. In addition, I have received endorsements from two of the four town Democratic committees in the district (Orangetown and Ossining) and major labor unions and progressive groups such as SEIU1199, SEIU32BJ, NYSUT, the New York League of Conservation Voters, Equality NY, Hudson Valley Stonewall Democrats, and True Blue NY. I encourage you to see the entire list at

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I love the Hudson Valley. It’s why I’ve chosen to make my home in Nyack, the village where I was born and raised. But while Rockland and Westchester remain wonderful places to live, our region faces many challenges. Property taxes are some of the highest in the nation. Rents are rising rapidly, and healthcare costs are an enormous burden on many families. Even before COVID hit we were struggling to retain businesses. School districts like East Ramapo and Ossining aren’t getting the education funding they deserve. Commuters in Rockland lack access to convenient mass transit.

State government can—and must—do more to help residents of Rockland and Westchester, and I am committed to leading that fight. I ask for your vote in the Democratic primary on June 23.

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