JAMESTOWN – New York State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell discussed a gamut of issues with WNYNewsNow Wednesday, calling for solutions to the Catholic Church abuse cover up, bipartisan efforts, illegal immigration and improving Chautauqua Lake.
Goodell said he is a cosponsor of a bipartisan bill dealing with the child sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church and the subsequent cover up.
“I’m a cosponsor on a bipartisan bill to deal with the Catholic Church situation. It’s called the Child Protection Act and there are 10 Democrat cosponsors and 8 Republican cosponsors so it’s a good, solid bipartisan effort and that bill would expand mandatory reporting so the church can’t engage in a cover up and would have to report abuse to law enforcement officials,” Goodell said. “It expands, by five years, the civil statute of limitations, lifts the criminal statute of limitations and expands mandatory background checks with those who are working with children under the age of 18.”
He urged any abuse victims to come forward so they can get any help they need, but also to stop the predators from finding and abusing other innocent victims.
As for other bipartisan efforts in the State House, Goodell said he asks one question about any new bill before the Assembly.
“When I’m on the floor of the assembly, the question I ask is ‘Is this bill good for Chautauqua County or not?’ The question i don’t ask is “Is this a Republican or a Democrat bill?’ If it’s a Democrat bill and it helps Chautauqua County, I’m all in. If it’s a Republican bill, I’m all in. If it’s a bill that I think would be hurtful for the state or Chautauqua County, I help lead the debate,” Goodell said.
The issue of illegal immigration and sanctuary state status came up. Goodell left no doubt about his views on either matter.
“I believe that people should go through the legal process,” he said. The legal process is fair to all immigrants, allows for a criminal background check and involves vetting that prohibits immigrants from milking the welfare system, Goodell said.
He was very clear that criminal immigrants must be deported.
“If they are caught committing a crime, my position is real clear, they should be deported,” Goodell said. “It’s a little bit like inviting a guest over to your house for dinner. I love having guests, but if they steal your silverware, I’m not inviting them back, I’m asking them to leave.”
He vowed to continue fighting against sanctuary legislations, questioning how the state could consider making it illegal f to cooperate with ICE in deporting criminals.
In a shift of gears, Goodell discussed Chautauqua Lake.
He suggested limited use of herbicides in the lake’s southern basin, coupled with weed cutting in the northern basin would greatly improve the health and quality of Chautauqua Lake.
He said that based on a survey this spring and his conversations in travels throughout his district, residents seem most concerned with jobs and the economy.
Taxes are also a strong concern among residents, he said, explaining tax caps are a step toward lessening the demand on taxpayers’ pockets.
“In addition to listening to people everywhere I go, I also sent our a survey at the beginning of the year,” he said.
Linked with the tax problem is the cost of health care, much of which he blamed on “hidden taxes” within the health care system.
“I spoke on the floor of the Legislature to try to cut all the hidden taxes on health care,” he said, adding there are about $4.6 billion in hidden health care taxes, a nine percent sales tax on health care and a tax oon insurance as well.
In closing, he addressed welfare reform, which he said is always a top issue in the district.
He supports a bill which would require students to stay in school or lose their eligibility for welfare benefits.
“We know that you need a high school diploma to maximize your potential as a human being and to be successful in our economy,” he said, adding he doesn’t want to people dropping out of school and spending their days playing video games while collecting benefits.