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Lowey, White Plains Leaders Urge Passing Jobs Act

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A week after protesters rallied for U.S. Congresswoman Nita Lowey to vote for the American Jobs Act, Lowey (D-Harrison) joined White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach and public safety officers from across Westchester in urging national lawmakers to pass a jobs package that would support 18,000 education and first responder positions in New York by injecting $1.8 billion into the state.

“Congress must put partisanship aside, roll up our sleeves, protect and create good jobs, ensure our communities are safe, provide our children with the first rate education they deserve, and the President’s act does all of this without adding a single penny to the deficit,” said Lowey. “We know we need to create jobs.”

Last week the Republican-dominated Senate voted not to consider President Barack Obama’s $447 billion American Jobs Act.

Lowey said the nine percent unemployment rate was a sign that both parties in Washington D.C. must come together to pass components of the job package, such as the Teachers and First Responders Act. She made the comment at the foot of the White Plains Public Safety Headquarters Thursday.

“The House Republican majority refuses to even consider it, but that won’t stop us from fighting for individual portions of this vital legislations,” Lowey said.

Roach said passing the American Jobs Act was critical for White Plains and other New York municipalities who are now subject to a two percent tax levy cap.

“At this level of government, we have no place to go. We’re thin. People say, ‘Cut. Cut what? There’s not much left,” said Roach. “Every dollar from the federal government that comes to us goes right out to the street whether it’s [for] a firefighter or police officer or vehicle.”

Dozens of Yonkers and White Plains firefighters, police officers, and union leaders, such as White Plains Firefighters Association President Joseph Carrier, came out to support legislation they say will help them retain their jobs.

“We believe it’s a no-brainer. This will put firefighters back in the rigs. The key ingredients to fighting fire are manpower and response time,” said Carrier. Nine Fire Department employees were laid off a little over a year ago. However, Carrier said seven were re-hired after White Plains received a safer grant from the federal government.

“I’m hoping the bill will pass and that public safety will take advantage of it and not just rehire two firefighters, but staff the firefighters we should have: 169.”

Public Safety Commissioner David Chong said he was grateful that Lowey was pushing for the jobs package.

“Any job stimulus should be truly bipartisan because it helps support a good education and a good public safety team, which ensure the quality of life we enjoy,” said Chong.

The police department had 12 layoffs last spring.

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