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October 7, 2014

Rep. Tonko, Senator Seward are Preferred Source Champions

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:19 pm

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and NYS Senator James Seward (R-51) have been named the 2014 Preferred Source Champion Award co-recipients for their ongoing support for New Yorkers with disabilities.

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), co-recipient of the 2014 Preferred Source Champion Award

They received the award during NYSID’s Annual Meeting at The Saratoga Hilton in Saratoga Springs; nearly 250 people attended the event, which kicked off the year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of NYSID’s founding.

During 2002, relentless advocacy efforts by NYSID and its member agencies ensured ongoing employment opportunities for people with disabilities in New York State. NYSID’s campaign to make the Preferred Source Law permanent culminated that summer when the Legislature and the Governor agreed to eliminate the “sunset” provision of the law, which required legislative renewal every five years.

NYSID’s solid support for the sunset’s repeal was led by then-New York State Assemblyman Tonko and New York State Senator Seward (R-Oneonta). In June 2002, the permanentizer legislation passed the Senate unanimously followed by the Assembly. The final milestone was reached on August 20, when Governor George Pataki added his signature to enact Chapter 426 of the Laws of 2002.

The efforts of then-Assemblyman Tonko and Senator Seward were critical to the Preferred Source Law becoming permanent in New York State. NYSID remains forever grateful to these visionary legislators for their ongoing support of job opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities, particularly as NYSID celebrates “40 Years of Looking Forward” during this upcoming anniversary year.

Although Congressman Tonko was unable to attend the Annual Meeting, he appeared in a video, speaking highly of NYSID and expressing his gratitude to NYSID for bestowing the Preferred Source Champion Award upon him.

“For years now, upon decades, NYSID has empowered people and given them a profound sense of hope,” Tonko said. “NYSID is an important bit of mission. It enables people a sense of dignity, a sense of being able to go to that workplace and earn that paycheck. I was pleased to carry out this important legislation that speaks to the core essence of NYSID –– the dignity of work. With this measure, we made permanent the opportunity for many in our state to express their abilities.”

View the video featuring Congressman Tonko.

Sean Shortell, Congressman Tonko’s district director, accepted the Preferred Source Champion Award on his behalf.

Tonko is a third term member of the United States House of Representatives. He currently represents New York’s 20th Congressional District, including the cities of Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Amsterdam. Before that, Tonko served in the New York State Assembly for 25 years.

Thanks to everyone who joined us in recognizing the importance of a diverse New York workforce which includes Preferred Source workers at NYSID member agencies. Join us in celebration of “40 Years of Looking Forward” during this upcoming anniversary year!



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