Jerry Kremer

The ups and downs of 2022


Yes, 2022 was quite a year. Politics were at their ugliest. The world was in turmoil. War raged in the Ukraine. Overall, it was a tumultuous year. Here are some thoughts on it.
The election had many surprises for New Yorkers. Kathy Hochul became the first elected woman governor in state history, but won her first full term by only 5 percentage points. Hochul ran a remote campaign, and failed to do local events. Her Republican opponent, Lee Zeldin, made it a closer contest than expected, using the issue of crime effectively.
Long Island made history by electing four Republican members of Congress, who helped their party cement its majority in the House. One of the winners, George Santos, turned out to have lied about his entire resume. Candidates sometimes exaggerate a chapter of their history, but not the entire story. At this writing, Santos was about to be investigated by the Nassau County district attorney. Even if he’s able to hang on to his job, he’ll definitely be a one-term member of Congress.
There were some other big local winners. Nassau Republican chair Joe Cairo’s candidates unseated two state senators, and his party now has seven out of nine Long Island senate seats. We can hope that the winning seven will find a way to work with the two Democrats whose party controls the senate. Cairo also produced a winning margin locally for Zeldin, which helped make the final results much closer.
Love him or not, President Biden had some big victories last year. Congress passed a bipartisan gun control bill, the first of its kind since the early 1990s. Of course, it took a number of major tragedies to spark a major defeat for the National Rifle Association, which had successfully blocked previous bills.

As well, new microchip legislation will pave the way for microchip factories in the United States. New York will get its own major chip facility upstate, which could bring thousands of jobs.
Another bipartisan win was the passage of a major bill that will fund the battle against climate change, a first in the country’s history. New York did its share by passing a $4 billion bond to combat global warming in the state. It will pay for badly needed repairs to water and sewer systems and provide dollars for new forms of clean energy. Considering the measure’s high cost, its approval by voters was a miracle.
Those voters also sent a clear message to the Albany establishment on the issue of bail reform. Whether or not crime rates are as high in your community as some claim, the State Legislature will have to clean up the current law, or Democrats will take a bigger beating in 2024 and possibly lose control of the Senate.
And 2022 was supposed to be the year when cannabis would be sold at retail dispensaries. Some permits were given to people who’d had marijuana-related convictions, but otherwise the program stalled. New York is far behind Massachusetts and Rhode Island when it comes to legalized pot sales.
Our battle against the coronavirus last winter was successful. The number of New Yorkers suffering from the disease dropped dramatically. Covid vaccines proved to be effective. While mandates to wear masks were finally lifted, wearing masks in 2023 in crowded places will still be effective in keeping the numbers down.
Last November’s election results were historic. Over the past 50-plus years, the president’s party has almost always lost seats in Congress, and has sometimes lost control of the House or Senate as well. But this time around, the Democrats, who some forecast would lose both houses, surprisingly kept control of the Senate, and almost retained control of the House.
So, 2022 was the year that prosecutors and the Jan. 6 committee painted a vivid picture of numerous wrongdoings by former President Donald Trump. He is facing grand jury deliberations, and even many of his staunchest supporters acknowledge that his reputation has taken a major hit. The failure of the candidates he endorsed in November didn’t help, either. This may be the year that he is called to account for his missteps.
The nation needs a cleansing from Trump’s grip on the Republican Party, which will help both political parties refocus on making government work — or at least they will try. This was quite a year. Hopefully, our leaders will learn from their mistakes, and produce some positive results for we the people.

Jerry Kremer was an Assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column?