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Rockland Legislators Express Gratitude To Governor

A majority of Rockland County legislators have expressed gratitude to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his leadership efforts during the pandemic – and they've been joined in a letter of support by 69 elected officials representing numerous towns and villages around Rockland.

"I believe the Governor has done an outstanding job in managing this crisis and done so in a responsible and transparent manner," Legislative Chairman Alden H. Wolfe said. "When we feared we would not have enough ventilators, he worked to get as many as possible, as he did for masks, gowns, gloves, and other vital equipment needed by the healthcare workers on the frontline of this fight against the virus."

Legislator Wolfe pointed out that since March 2, despite the best efforts of many, more than 17,000 people in New York State have lost their lives to the virus, and nearly 300,000 have tested positive.

In Rockland, 481 people have died, and more than 11,000 have tested positive.

"Without the Governor's executive orders, we know that many more people – family members, friends, co-workers – would have gotten sick and possibly died," Legislator Wolfe said.

Also signing the April 24 letter were Legislators Harriet Cornell, Toney L. Earl, Michael Grant, Jay Hood, Aney Paul, Phil Soskin, Aron Wieder, and Itamar Yeger.

Also, Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco III, County Clerk Paul Piperato, District Attorney Thomas Walsh, Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann, Haverstraw Town Supervisor Howard Phillips, Ramapo Town Supervisor Michael Specht, Airmont Mayor Nathan Bubel, Chestnut Ridge Mayor Rosario Presti Jr., Haverstraw Mayor Michael Kohut, Hillburn Mayor Joseph P. Tursi, Kaser Mayor Allie Pinkasovits, Montebello Mayor Lance N. Millman, New Hempstead Mayor Avrohom Sicker, New Square Mayor Israel Spitzer, Nyack Mayor Don Hammond, Suffern Deputy Mayor Steven P. Alpert, Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Zach Clerina, Upper Nyack Mayor Karen A. Tarapata, Wesley Hills Mayor Marshall F. Katz, West Haverstraw Mayor Robert R. D'Amelio, and dozens of additional elected officials.

Legislator Wieder said the situation is constantly evolving, and there will be many areas that will need further review, including nursing homes, which preliminary statistics show to be hard hit by the virus.

"We know that we are going to see areas where more needs to be done to fight the impacts of COVID-19," Legislator Wieder said. "I'm pleased to see that the Governor has already announced that the State Health Department and the State Attorney General's Office will work to investigate nursing homes and how they are reporting incidents and deaths to family members, as well as the steps they are taking to protect the residents.

"The Governor is taking this necessary action because not only are we still dealing with the virus currently, but the experts are telling us we should be prepared for a second wave in the fall," Legislator Wieder said.

Legislator Yeger said the Governor has carefully guided the response to the pandemic and is now looking toward reopening the economy and society in general with the same care.

"We all want to see parks, schools, stores, and businesses reopened," Legislator Yeger said. "Unlike other states, which haven't even seen their cases peak yet, Gov. Cuomo is only allowing New York State to reopen in a methodical, responsible way. If we don't do it that way, we will have wasted the time we have already put into fighting the spread of the virus, and we will see a resurgence in the number of cases, once again threatening to overwhelm our hospitals."

In the letter, they wrote:

"While the fight is by no means over, we are beginning to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. We all mourn those who have died, yet we see hope in the declining number of daily deaths, hospitalizations, and intubations.

"This did not happen without the calm and capable leadership from you, your Commissioner of Health, and your entire dedicated staff. Your firm hand guided the state in developing the resources it needed to turn the corner in the fight. At the same time, daily press conferences have been a lifeline for so many. You have provided total transparency, clear information, personal empathy, and hope in the face of so much terrible news. Your recognition of local issues that had to be promptly dealt with, and your swift response, gave many the only sense of comfort throughout these difficult times.

"This pandemic will end at some point. We support you in your dedication to the safety and well-being of all New York residents and your firm commitment to reopen only in a way that does not endanger the public. We hope, as you do that we can learn from this terrible experience and 'build back better' so something positive can emerge, and we are prepared if, God forbid, we are faced with such a situation again. We, and our constituents, will never forget the human compassion and true leadership you have shown during this troubling time."

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