I take great pride in my accomplishment during my tenure as a State Senator. Since taking office, I have devoted my full attention to representing the people of our Queens communities. While I am a lawyer, I work full time as your Senator and only accept meritorious pro bono cases.
As a Senator, I have been a leading advocate not only for veterans throughout the state, but also for senior citizens and the middle class. I have been instrumental in the enactment of many significant initiatives on their behalf. I am the proud sponsor of 237 Maltese Laws.
Education is one of my top priorities and I fight hard to ensure that our children not only receive their fair share of state education aid, but exceed that and ensure that teacher education and reduced class size are chieved. State aid to New York City schools has increased 97% over the last ten years.
I support measures to increase school safety, foster programs to attract the best and brightest teachers, provide funding for school construction and smaller classes and establish standards that will meet the needs of all our children.
I have delivered record amounts of funding for Queens schools – more than $616 million in additional education funding in 2007 and an increase of $644 million for 2008. Over the last two years, I fought for and won an additional $628 million over Governor Spitzer's education aid proposals.
In addition, I have secured well over $2.8 million in local special legislative grant funding for classroom libraries, desk maps, globes, laptops, software, art supplies, mobile science labs for public schools throughout our communities.
I also believe higher education is critically important. I am the only New York City Majority member on the Senate Higher Education Committee. I have secured the largest single legislative grant in CUNY history – $55 million for LaGuardia Community College.
I work hard to ensure that our financial aid programs are protected and that our colleges and universities will receive the resources they need to continue to provide a quality education. I have successfully fought and won for our students millions of dollars in restored funds for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and stopped a move to increase tuition for the state's public universities and colleges.
As a former prosecutor in Queens County and Deputy Chief of the Homicide Bureau, I believe that we in the Senate are continuing to make great strides in combating crime and furthering the cause of crime prevention. I am proud to have sponsored many important pieces of legislation that empower victims and assist law enforcement and protect victims against sex perverts.
In particular, I am very proud to have fought and won greater protections for all senior citizens by sponsoring Granny's Law which will crack down on the vicious thugs who prey upon our elderly. The law was
sparked in part by last year's brutal beatings of 101-year-old Rose Morat and 85-year-old Solange Elizee of Queens. If an assailant is 10 years younger than a victim, the bill effectively increases penalties.
I also sponsored "Vasean's Law" which increases penalties for drivers who kill or seriously injure other people while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This law was named after eleven year old VaSean Alleyne, who was killed by a drunk driver while crossing in Kew Gardens Hills. At the time, the driver could not be charged with a felony because the current law was too lenient.
I believe ensuring that New Yorkers have health care coverage and that they have access to quality care is a basic, fundamental quality of life issue and it will continue to be a priority for me. Last year, the governor sought to cut funding for nursing homes in Queens by $53.1 million and cut $6.7 million in essential funding for our local hospitals. I fought against these cuts and won!
I believe we build a brighter future by investing in our communities. That is why I strive to secure economic development funding for Queens. Most recently, I was able to secure a $100,000 capital grant to help preserve St. Saviour's Church in Maspeth.
I also secured $1.2 million for the Eliot Avenue reconstruction in Middle Village and $2.9 million to help fund improvements to the Metropolitan Avenue Station in Middle Village.
I understand that you work hard. When it comes to spending your money, I know that spending less and spending better is vital. As your State Senator, I fought to cut government waste and reprioritize spending while ensuring that funding for important health, education and local assistance programs was provided. I pledge that I will continue to be a tough advocate for our hardworking taxpayers and help improve the quality of life in our communities in Queens.
Serphin R. Maltese was first elected to the New York State Senate in November of 1988. Born in Corona, Queens, Senator Maltese graduated from P.S. 63, JHS 64 and Stuyvesant High School. After his military service, he went to Manhattan College on a War Service Scholarship and the G.I. Bill, where he received a BA degree. He received his LL.B. and J.D. degrees from Fordham Law School. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1963 and admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senator Maltese is an Army Infantry Veteran of the Korean War, previously serving in the Marine Reserves. He is a life member of the American Legion, Catholic War Veterans, Korean War Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is currently a member of the American Legion's National Legislative Council.
Prior to his election, Senator Maltese served as Queens Assistant District Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Homicide Bureau.
He was a co-founder of the New York State Conservative Party in 1962. Senator Maltese became Executive Director of the State Party in 1971 and Chairman of the Queens County Party in 1972. He was elected State Chairman in 1986, a position in which he served until his election as Senator, when he voluntarily relinquished that post.
Senator Maltese is Chairman of the Senate Cities Committee which handles a wide variety of legislation impacting the six big cities and over fifty small cities throughout the state. He also serves on these important committees: Rules, Civil Service and Pensions; Codes; Higher Education; Finance; Judiciary and Veterans. He also serves in the Senate Leadership as Vice Chairman of the Majority Conference and Chairman of the Special Committee on Arts and Cultural Affairs.
The Senator is affiliated with many civic and community organizations, including Juniper Park Civic Association; Richmond Hill Block Association; Woodhaven Residents Block Association, Glendale Kiwanis; Queens Chamber of Commerce; Sons of Italy-Mario Lanza Lodge; Alpha Phi Delta; Americans of Italian Heritage; Belmonte-Mezzagno Benevolent Society; and previously served as counsel to the New York State Commission on the Deaf and Multiply Impaired. The Senator has served for over 15 years as an Executive Board Member of the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association, an Honorary Trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Oratorio Society of Queens and the Italian Charities of America. He has been serving as Chairman of the Board of Christ the King Regional High School since 1976.