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With the start of the next legislative session right around the corner, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz is looking forward to continuing the successful agenda that has enhanced the quality of life for his diverse constituency. There is no greater friend to Brooklyn’s Sephardic community than Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, who has demonstrated an understanding of their unique needs through his abiding advocacy and voting record.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz always makes sure that the needs of the Sephardic community are well represented. Whether vigorously fighting for couples undergoing infertility treatments so they can have greater easier access to affordable prescription medications, or working with Agudath Israel of America and the Sephardic Community Federation to ease the MTA payroll tax’s unfair financial burden on our yeshivahs, the community knows it can count on Assemblyman Cymbrowitz to have their voices heard.

There is no question that children are our future’s greatest asset, and Assemblyman Cymbrowitz knows that the needs of students come first. He has arranged for one-on-one meetings between the Assembly Speaker and Sephardic community leaders so that vital issues that are relevant to the community could be discussed face-to-face.

He will continue fighting for the rights of private schools, including yeshivahs, during the new legislative session by helping to provide them with crucial funding increases, desperately-needed tax relief, and reimbursement programs. By forging ties with the Governor, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz tirelessly and successfully fought for the allocation of $20 million in funds to reimburse the state’s private schools for the cost of implementing mandatory services such as standardized testing, attendance-taking, and immunization programs.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz has been an unwavering supporter of the rights and well-being of the seniors of this community. When it’s time to formulate the budget, during these troubled economic times, seniors in this community know he’s a resolute supporter. As the son of elderly parents, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz recognizes the vital role that senior centers play in adding to a greater quality of life for older generations. He was instrumental in restoring much-needed funds so that seniors at more than 100 senior centers, like the Sephardic Community Center and Ahi Ezer Ocean Parkway Senior Citizen Center, can continue participating in the vibrant activities that these essential refuges offer. These centers provide so much more than just a place for residents to dance and play cards. For many, they are a lifeline, providing seniors with meals, a means of socializing with others, and activities to help keep them healthy and sharp.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz visits these centers regularly, always taking the time to chat with residents about various issues that concern them, including the rising costs of caring for an ailing spouse, as well as the soaring price of their prescription medications. Understanding the financial hardships that seniors on fixed incomes often have to face, he helped restore $34.3 million for seniors to maintain the right for spousal refusal, ensuring that those who have ailing spouses in need of long-term care services are protected against losing assetsincluding their homesthat are so critical to their well-being. He also fought to restore the Elder Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage for 2013, allocating $30.6 million in much-needed funds, so the community’s seniors would not have to worry about how they were going to pay for their prescription medications.

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The Assemblyman, in his capacity as Chairman of the Assembly’s Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee, allocated $120,000 to SAFE, a worthwhile organization, which provides hope in the Sephardic community to those struggling with addiction. He also allocated $100,000 in Capital dollars to Sephardic Bikur Holim, a non-profit organization that provides for the poor, sick, elderly, and unemployed through an ever-expanding spectrum of services, programs and resources.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz cosponsored a bill to exclude religious schools from the “Dignity for All Students Act.” The law which requires schools to teach acceptance of alternative lifestyles. Cymbrowitz’ legislation, however, would absolve yeshivahs from being obligated to teach students about lifestyles that are contradictory to the Torah values that Jewish parents entrust their teachers to instill in their children. When the NYS Senate failed to consider his legislation, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz convinced the state’s highest education body, the Board of Regents, to officially exempt yeshivahs from having to comply with certain provisions of the Dignity for All Students Act. Furthermore, whenever the issue was brought to the floor of the Assembly, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, who not only understands, but respects the traditional family values of the Jewish community, has voted against the legal recognition of same-gender marriage.

With the recession taking a toll on shopkeepers’ bottom line, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz has not only fought to keep local mom and pop establishments open, but he also understands the need to make the community’s commercial strips more viable and attractive in order to encourage local shopping. He secured $228,000 for the Kings Highway Beautification Association to install 22 antique light poles along Kings Highway between Ocean Parkway and McDonald Avenue, beautifying an oft-ignored stretch of businesses. The new light poles replaced all of the existing street and traffic lights.

As Assemblyman Cymbrowitz prepares for the upcoming legislative session, he welcomes the active participation of residents to assure that their views and ideas are heard. Feel free to contact him by phone at (718) 743-4078 or stop by his district office at 1800 Sheepshead Bay Road, Monday through Thursday between 9:30 am and 5:30 pm and Friday from 9:30 am to 5 pm. You may also email Assemblyman Cymbrowitz at cymbros@assembly.state.ny.us.

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