Rookie Lawmaker Liked New York’s State of State Address, But Wants Details

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TOMPKINS COUNTY, NY (WSKG) – Freshman New York State Assemblymember Anna Kelles was pleased with most of what she heard in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speeches this week.

The speech occurs every year at the beginning of the legislative session and lays out the governor’s legislative priorities. This year, the speech was virtual, and divided into four parts. The parts were delivered by Cuomo Monday through Thursday.

Anna Kelles represents the 125th Assembly seat in New York. (screen capture, Celia Clarke/WSKG)

Kelles is a Democrat who ran on a progressive agenda. She said she cheered the governor’s outline for the environment and a green economy. It includes building a green infrastructure with domestic manufacturing, creating a green workforce and improving the state’s transmission lines.

“That’s beautiful. That does cover the whole thing. It’s the details that are important and those are still to be determined. What I’m concerned about is the lack of explicit investments in all of those things in the Southern Tier.”

Kelles said she heard nothing that will prompt her to change her priorities.

“I run campaigns and prioritize a platform based on the things that I see we need,” she said. “So, those things are still things that I see we need. Universal healthcare, universal child care are fundamental. A focus on education, a focus on housing. Those things are still there and I’m working on those issues with coalitions.”

Kelles predicts the New York Health Act will pass this year. It would guarantee healthcare for all New Yorkers.

Kelles represents the 125th Assembly district which includes Tompkins and part of Cortland counties. Kelles is from Ithaca and a former county legislator.

The district was represented by Barbara Lifton, who retired at the end of 2020.