Long Island’s middle class suburban lifestyle was built on the promise of hard work and a solid education for our kids. Our hopes were pinned on the idea that the next generation would do even better than the present. That promise has become harder to fulfill in the past 20 years. Today, families need to spend more than 35% of their income for housing on Long Island. The gradual decline of private sector jobs on Long Island is making it even harder. The jobs that have been created pay less than before. Pay per employee is at a 10-year low on Long Island, down 3% since 2000. In the same period, average wages in the United States grew by 4%.
Our adult children are leaving Long Island to follow their dreams for better paying opportunities and a lower cost of living. In 2009, there were 15% fewer 25-to-34-year-olds than there were in 2000, a larger decline than in any other part of the New York metropolitan region and in contrast to a 5% gain for the nation.
In the 21st century demand for more assistance were reported by 32% of Long Island’s homeless shelters, 67% of our food pantries and 54% of the soup kitchens. More than half of the Island’s pantries had to turn people away.
Our economy is in trouble and we need to have representatives that understand what it is like to have your child choose between staying near family and friends or moving away. They need to feel the pain that a single mom goes through when choosing between putting food on the table or paying rent. This is the reality of the Long Island suburbia we live in today. We need a representative who will be the voice for the most vulnerable in society and those who have fallen on hard times and are holding on to the suburban dream by a thread. I will be that person for Long Island.