Senator Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, today announced his committee assignments for the 2013 legislative session. Kennedy will retain his position as the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business. He also earned a post on the Senate Finance Committee, which will give the Senator a larger influence on legislation that carries fiscal implications for the state.
These high-ranking committee assignments follow Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins recent move to make Kennedy a part of her leadership team.
“The 2013 legislative session is off to a fast start, and there’s more work to be done,” Kennedy said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my work as the ranking member on the Economic Development Committee. It’s a position I’ve used to help make sure that Western New York is at the center of the conversation about state policy for job creation and economic growth. With the new responsibilities on the Finance Committee and as part of the Senate Democrats’ leadership team, I intend to ensure my colleagues always keep the concerns of hardworking Western New York families at the forefront when it comes to decisions on funding allocations and legislative initiatives.
“In the past, our region has not gotten its fair share of funding from Albany,” Kennedy added. “As a member of the Finance Committee, I will have the unique opportunity to go after more state dollars for important projects in our community.”
In addition to the Economic Development and Finance Committees, Kennedy has been assigned committee posts on Transportation, Energy, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Insurance and Higher Education.
“There are priorities that I intend to focus on with each of my committee assignments,” Kennedy said. “As a member of the Transportation Committee, I’ll keep working to make sure that Western New York gets its fair share of infrastructure investment. I’m also going to keep up the push to get the DOT to tear down the Skyway, which will open up Buffalo’s waterfront for further development.
“On the Energy Committee, the focus remains on ensuring Western New York gets to capitalize on the low-cost power produced here locally, as well as encouraging the growth of green-energy industries,” Kennedy added. “With the post on the Higher Education Committee, we’ll work to foster further progress with the UB 2020 initiative, while ensuring a college education remains affordable and accessible to all.”
Kennedy plans to make raising the state’s minimum wage a priority for the Economic Development Committee. He cited a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago that found when the minimum wage increases by a dollar, it results in about $3,000 in new spending by minimum-wage households over the following year. This new spending serves as an economic stimulus for local businesses, he said.