“Nothing Off the Table” for Skoufis and Anagnostakis
By Edie Johnson
In an exclusive interview with the Orange County Post, Senator James Skoufis made it clear that there are some big ticket items his Investigatory Committee is planning to tackle, and said loudly and clearly “Nothing is off the table.” While he and Legislator Mike Anagnostakis, who is now also Skoufis’ Senior Advisor, plan to begin on what they feel are some obvious and reachable topics of investigation, in order to prove their mettle in terms of proceeding in a non-biased and thorough way, but neither will he be bullied into shying away from any issues, including if they are related to Governor Andrew Cuomo himself. That was offered, as he said “to emphasize that I will NOT be bullied”. The investigative committee he said has been essentially inactive during recent years.
Skoufis said that this portion of the state, and particularly New Windsor and Blooming Grove have been too often “left out of the stream of grants” and he will fight “to keep our area from continuing to be treated as the poor stepchild”.
On accepting the key appointment as Chair of the Investigative Committee, which brings subpoena powers with it, Skoufis received somewhat of a Cuomo warning suggestive that he’d better watch who he tackles since Cuomo holds the purse strings to funding that might or might not come toward the district (#39) that Skoufis now heads. Anagnostakis echoed the Skoufis commitment saying that “We have both now been threatened by both the most powerful man in the county legislature and the most powerful man in the state. Anagnostakis, who is known for his fight to keep Valley View, the county’s nursing home, in county hands was recently removed from his appointment as Chair of the county’s important Health and Mental Health Committee. Anagnostakis has a reputation for not only bucking party line and insisting on bipartisan cooperation, he is also respected as an astute financial analyst.
Starting off running, a surprising number of Skoufis state agenda items have already been passed, including Gun Restrictions, Reproductive Rights in Women’s Health, a Child Victims Act, and removal of standardized test scores from teacher evaluations. Albany papers went as far as to call him New York’s “New Corruption Sheriff.”
Next he, with the help of Mike Anagnostakis and several other Orange County leaders who represent us in Albany intend to fight for our fair share of MTA funding, and to stop paying a disproportionately high amount for services we do not receive. A key element in this push is to increase cross-river traffic, and especially ferry service, to the many extraordinary events that happen in Newburgh, such as Illuminate Newburgh, as well as the other festivals, historical sites and environmental offerings in the eastern portion of Orange County.
What will the Skoufis-Anagnostakis team tackle next? Check out details of the first investigative committee topic he plans to pursue, Pharmacy Company Monopoly, in next week’s Orange County Post.
(Photo by Edie Johnson)