Her Republican colleagues in the lower chamber might not agree, but Assemblywoman Judy Griffin remains devoted to her social reform agenda.
As she prepares for what she hopes will be a third term, the Democrat already has outlined several key priorities. Those include criminal justice reform, improving education systems, dealing with the opioid epidemic, bringing in new small businesses, opening up more affordable housing, increasing funding in mental health services, and making roads like the Southern State Parkway less dangerous.
Yet, with bail reform remaining a hot topic on the campaign trail, Griffin believes Republicans are simply unaware about what transforming a criminal system to not just favor the wealthy means.
“I think what we often hear from the other side is that it’s kind of a uniformed position where the GOP is always rallying against bail reform,” Griffin told reporters at a recent Herald Roundtable session. “They continue to say they’re going to get elected and repeal bail reform. But, if you take a look at 2021, they did not repeal bail reform.”
And if it’s not the claims of higher crime based on not incarcerating those charged — but not convicted — of crimes, then it’s guns.
“We just had this summer bill where if you were accused of domestic violence, you won’t be allowed to have a gun,” Griffin said. “That’s pretty easy, and I think that’s a good measure. But (Republicans) all voted no.”
Griffin says she’s confused as to what Republicans believe safety to be, but she adds “people like me work really hard on safety policies, and the work involves huge negotiations.”
One safety measure in particular is road safety. Griffin says she’s concerned with seeing flowers from memorials along the Southern State Parkway as she is truly worried about how dangerous that road is. She is actively working and involved in making that particular highway safer.
“I’ve lived in Nassau for over 30 years, so I’m used to the curves on the Southern State,” she said. “But you get some people that come here and never driven on this road before. They’re driving it like it’s a straight road — like an expressway — and you can’t do that.”
Griffin talked at length with Suffolk County assistant district attorney Maureen McCormick to get insight into bills she authored intended to help police crack down on drugged driving.
“She regularly speaks with lots of people on Long Island that lost a loved one due to drunk driving,” Griffin said. “So it would be really important to implement these road safety bills this year.”
Bills like that will become more important, especially as more people move onto Long Island.
“Going back to Baldwin, there’s people there that would love for their kids to move out of their house and live somewhere right there in Baldwin,” Griffin said.
But all education requires a top-to-bottom focus from legislators.
“We got record funding for universal pre-K on Long Island,” Griffin said.
Griffin isn’t worried about a “red wave,” saying her record speaks for itself.
“I work with the police, which is why I have their endorsement,” the Assemblywoman said. “I have the endorsement of all these labor unions, Planned Parenthood because I believe in the woman’s right to choose. I have a wide tent of endorsements because I really am on all those issues.”