The middle class has fallen behind in New York and Andrew Falk said he intends to fix it.
Falk, a Patterson resident, is running for State Senate in the 40th District on the Democratic ticket. Falk faces Ali Boak in a Tuesday, Sept. 13 primary, with the winner facing Sen. Terrence Murphy. Falk already has the backing of the Working Families Party.
"The new Tappan Zee Bridge will be completed before Putnam County gets a $12.50/hour minimum wage," Falk said. "That's not right. I am a strong supporter of the labor movement, and our labor movement keeps taking hit after hit. I don't see people willing to stand up and support it."
The Patterson resident, who has run previously for Patterson Town Supervisor and twice for an assemblyman in the 94th district, criticized Murphy for his time serving on the senate committee on ethics.
"They haven't met in in nine years," Falk said. "When Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was arrested, the first thing Terrence Murphy said was that Skelos was a true gentleman. He should be our ethics watchdog, but he is not."
Falk also criticized Murphy over claims that Murphy's Yorktown restaurant, Murphy's owed $117,000 in back taxes and that Murphy hid ownership of the restaurant in financial disclosure forms. Murphy apologized for the mistake, saying he listed the information in the wrong section and that he has no day-to-day involvement in the restaurant, which is owned by his family. Murphy is in the process of divesting himself from the restaurant.
"He should step down from the state ethics committee," Falk said.
The Senate Republican Campaign Committee criticized Falk for failing to properly fill out his ethics form. They said Falk did not indicate he is a licensed lawyer and did not report any clients of his law firm. Falk said that is because he doesn't currently have any clients.
"I'm glad they brought it up," Falk said. "I filled out the form ethically and honesty. Since I announced I was running for office, I've stopped taking clients. If I am elected, I will be a full time senator. I won't be for sale. I will devote myself 100 percent to my constituents."
Falk criticized Boak for not being there when her school district, the Bedford Central School District, was trying to override the tax cap for its 2016-2017 budget. The measure failed.
"I was out with the community rallying to get people to vote to override the cap," Falk said. "I was out on the street an working with the teachers. Fifty two people lost their jobs and it's going to affect the district for years to come. I did not see my opponent lift a finger. It's easy to say you're going to fight for someone, but she wasn't there."
Boak said she has served on the Bedford Central School District Budget Advisory Committee and is a member of Advocates for Bedford Central.
"For years, I have fought for great public schools while doing everything possible to protect taxpayers," Boak said. "I worked extensively to elect pro-public education candidates for school board. As an educator myself, I have been involved and worked to ensure that all children have a top-notch education, one of my highest priorities."
Falk said he is excited that a resident of his district, Hillary Clinton, will be running at the top of the Democratic ticket.
"If she wins, we are all her constituents, but she will be my constituent," Falk said. "It's a great year to be involved. It makes the campaign that much more exciting."
The 40th Senate District includes Beekman and Pawling in Dutchess County, Carmel, Patterson and Southeast and Brewster in Putnam County, and Peekskill, Cortlandt, Lewisboro, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers, Yorktown, Mount Kisco, Briarcliff Manor, Buchanan, Croton-on-Hudson, Pleasantville and Sleepy Hollow in Westchester.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.