Democratic candidate running for New York State Senate District 6

Priorities

This campaign is about fighting for the less fortunate, those without a voice and those who have given up hope in the system. Working families in District 6 need someone who will fight for true, New York values. In Albany, I will take that fight to Republicans in the Senate who are trying to turn the clock back on the progress of the past decade.

Education

It is our responsibility to ensure that all of our children receive a quality education. I understand that proper funding for our public schools is the first step to ensure universally accessible education. I will press New York State to deliver on its legal obligation to provide a sound, basic education to every child in New York by pushing the state to pay the nearly $200m in funding owed to our district. From buying classroom materials to compensating high-quality teachers, the money New York State owes us makes all the difference in our children’s futures.

Women’s Rights

As a strong advocate for women’s rights, I believe that women should receive equal pay and that no woman should be forced to sacrifice her career or earning potential in order to start a family.

I will fight to defend a woman’s right to choose. New York’s current law on women’s reproductive choice is outdated. Passed nearly fifty years ago, it fails to protect women whose pregnancies become unviable beyond 24 weeks. In the current political environment, it is more important than ever for New York to pass legislation that protects women’s access to safe abortions, reproductive health care, and contraception.

I support:

  • Reproductive Health Act: Decriminalizes abortion in New York and ensures that women whose health is at risk or whose fetus becomes unavailable late in a pregnancy may receive medically necessary abortions without fear of criminal prosecution
  • Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act: Broadens contraceptive coverage to include all forms of FDA-approved contraception and emergency contraception for men and women in New York. While the Governor has supported such coverage through executive actions, those actions can be rolled back in the future. Women deserve legislation protecting their rights.

Healthcare

Healthcare is a human right. No New Yorker should go without the care they need for fear of how they will pay their medical bills. I have seen firsthand how the rising cost of medical care has wreaked havoc on the lives of my friends and neighbors in District 6. This is why I support single-payer, universal health coverage.

Under the single-payer system, every New Yorker will have access to quality, affordable medical services. Be it primary and preventative care, mental health care, hospitalization, reproductive care, or prescription medications, a single-payer system would ensure no New Yorker must choose between supporting their family and getting the medical care they need.

Kevin supports the following healthcare legislation:

  • Safe Staffing for Hospitals Act: supports and protects healthcare workers by establishing minimum staffing levels in different facilities and prohibiting most mandatory overtime
  • NY Health Act: Provides comprehensive, universal health coverage for every New Yorker

Fighting the Opioid Crisis

Our community has been hard hit by a drug epidemic sweeping the country. The Heroin Task Force in the New York Senate promised to fight back against this epidemic. Instead, the number of opioid deaths in Long Island has skyrocketed. It’s time to hold our elected officials accountable.

I will ensure that not one more life is lost due to a preventable overdose. As a State Senator, I will hold companies and doctors who overprescribe opioids responsible for their role in this epidemic. I also support imposing a tax on opioid manufacturers in New York state and using the proceeds from such a tax to expand treatment centers in our community.

Taxes

Long Islanders pay some of the highest property taxes in the country, and the Republican tax plan has made that burden even worse. Taxpaying Long Islanders could once write off their property taxes by deducing much of their state and local taxes from their federal tax bills. But under the new Republican bill, these SALT deductions are capped at $10,000. This puts a tremendous strain on Long Islanders who have depended on these deductions to make ends meet.

In Albany, I will champion real property tax relief for his district by pushing for legislation that:

  • Allows those making less than $300,000 to take the full SALT deduction
  • Raise the Senior Citizen real property tax exemption and the Disabilities Real Property Tax exemption to $50,000
  • Cap real property taxes for senior citizens

Infrastructure

I will fight for infrastructure investment – fixing potholes, rebuilding bridges, improving the LIRR, and updating sewers – that will ensure our community can withstand the effects of climate change for our children’s generation

Protecting the Working Class

I am a proud supporter of the union members in our community. As a State Senator, I will fight to ensure that they get their fair share of the prosperity they have helped to secure for Long Island and the state of New York.

As an elected State Senator, I will support:

  • Passing the Public Works Definition Act, which expands the definition of public works to ensure all construction workers helping to build our shared infrastructure and architecture are fairly compensated
  • Protecting the Prevailing Wage, to ensure construction careers are middle-class careers

Gun Control

There is nothing more important than protecting our communities from gun violence. I believe every child should feel safe in his/her classroom, every holiday shopper safe at his/her local mall, every senior safe at his/her community center. The best way to protect District 6 from gun violence is to pass legislation that prevents dangerous individuals from getting their hands on dangerous weapons. New York may have some of the stronger gun control laws in the country, but there is still important work to be done.

I support a bump-stock ban, which would prevent ordinary guns from being transformed into weapons capable of mass murder. I support the passage of the Red Flag Law, which would allow police and family to petition state courts to remove firearms from persons who present a danger to others or themselves. I plan to strengthen the SAFE Act, New York’s landmark gun control legislation, by requiring universal background checks, imposing tougher assault weapon bans, and creating a statewide ammunitions registry.

Immigration

As an Indian American who first emigrated to the United States as a 10-year-old, I believe every American immigrant should have the same opportunities I had. Under the current federal administration, it has never been more important to protect the rights of immigrants and ensure that all New Yorkers can pursue the promise of the American dream.

For me, this is personal. As a State Senator, I will fight to:

  • Pass the NY Liberty Act, which would protect our community from the repressive immigration enforcement and prevent cooperation between our state agencies and ICE
  • Pass the NY Dream Act, which would allow every New Yorker to get a quality college education, regardless of citizenship status

Protecting our Environment

I believe in science. Climate change is not only real, but a tangible threat to my friends, family, and community. On Long Island, runaway global climate change translates to more blizzards, flooding, and hurricanes. For some, climate change means lost property. For others, lives lost.

Our state legislature has the responsibility to protect all New Yorkers from the negative effects of climate change. As a State Senator, I will:

  • Pass the Climate and Communities Protection Act, which would require the state to enforce its climate commitments, including electricity from 50% clean, renewable energy sources by 2030
  • Keep our water clean by banning nitrogen pollutants in our Long Island aquifers
  • Ensure our community has a voice in environmental decision-making in Albany

Civil Rights

Our government’s job is to keep us safe and protect our rights, not strip us of them. I made a career out of protecting the rights of our most vulnerable. If elected, I will be taking that fight to the Senate floor.

We spend an exorbitant amount of money incarcerating New Yorkers who have not been convicted of a crime. When someone is arrested, they must post bail before going home to await their trial. But many simply cannot afford to pay bail. Instead, they must wait for their trial behind bars- sometimes for months. Cash bail is a burden on Long Island taxpayers and poses an enormous human cost. This is why I support eliminating cash bail in New York.

I also support legalizing marijuana. Twenty-one veterans in New York commit suicide each day due to mental illness. But in states where veterans can legally access medical marijuana, the suicide rate drops by nearly 25%. I believe it is our responsibility to do all we can to ensure the health and wellbeing of the brave men and women who serve our country. Legalizing marijuana will also lessen the impact of the opioid crisis on our community by providing legal access to alternative pain management. Not to mention, it will put money back in the pockets of hard-working Long Islanders by reducing the economic strain on our criminal justice system.

In Albany, I will also fight to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are afforded the same rights and protections as every other member of our community. I will vote to pass the Gender Equality Non-Discrimination Act, which will add gender identity and expression as a protected class in the state’s human rights and hate crimes laws.

Consumer Protection

I spent my career as an attorney protecting hard-working New Yorkers from deceitful, unfair business practices. I fought to hold bad lenders accountable and have gone toe-to-toe with mammoth student loan firms. Student debt is a crisis across the United States, but especially on Long Island. Young Long Islanders seeking a higher education need someone who will fight for student debt relief no matter a person’s living status. I plan to continue that fight in Albany.

In the State Senate, I will support passing:

  • S 8131, a law that will bring New York’s consumer protection laws up-to-date and in line with federal standards, protecting consumers across the state

 

Paid for by Friends of Kevin Thomas for Senate