State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-C Rome, is sworn into office by Oneida City Court Judge Michael J. Misiaszek during a special ceremony in front of students, faculty and staff at Willard Prior Elementary School in Oneida. Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-C-New Hartford, was also sworn in at the ceremony.

Editor’s note: These press releases are arranged here in the order in which they were received.

Griffo and Miller sworn into office

Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-C-Rome, and Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-C-New Hartford, were sworn into office Jan. 6, 2023, in front of students, faculty and staff at Willard Prior Elementary School in Oneida.

Oneida City Court Judge Michael J. Misiaszek administered the oath of office to the state legislators. After they were sworn in, the legislators spoke to the children about their role in government.

“During my time in the Senate, I have held swearing-in ceremonies at local schools because I believe that civic engagement is an important value that should be instilled at a young age,” Griffo said. “By bringing this ceremony to Willard Prior Elementary School, students can see how the governmental process works and have the opportunity to ask questions about our job and how it impacts their lives. I appreciate Willard Prior Elementary School and the Oneida City School District for opening their doors to us for today’s event.”

“Allowing students to participate firsthand in swearing-in ceremonies allows them to bring civics to life,” Miller said. “Children should be exposed to and understand the responsibilities and privileges of civic involvement. This exposure can spark their own interests in the process of volunteerism, activism or government so that they are ready to become active participants in society. Thank you to the Willard Prior Elementary School and the Oneida City School District for hosting today’s event.”

In November, Griffo was reelected to the state Senate where he now represents Oneida, Madison and parts of Chenango and Herkimer counties in the 53rd Senate District.

Griffo also has been selected by his colleagues to continue to serve as Assistant Minority Leader for the Senate Republican Conference for the upcoming Legislative session.

“I appreciate that my colleagues have the confidence in me to continue in this leadership position,” Griffo said. “Many in our state are struggling due to rising costs and the flawed policies that the legislative majorities and governor have supported or put in place. I will continue to work to stop the exodus from our state, grow and strengthen our communities, make the state more affordable, enhance public safety and improve the lives of New Yorkers.”

Miller was reelected to the Assembly and represents parts of Oneida, Madison, Herkimer and Otsego counties in the 122nd Assembly District.

He has been reappointed by Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay to serve in the Conference’s leadership as vice chairman of the Steering Committee. Through this position, Miller will continue the responsibility of helping to lead the legislative policy agenda for the Assembly Minority Conference. Miller will also continue to be the lead voice for his conference on the Assembly Real Property Taxation Committee.

“I would like to thank Leader Barclay for reappointing me as vice chair of the Steering Committee and entrusting me with this leadership position,” Miller said. “I will continue to work to help shape the vision forward for our conference and the millions of New Yorkers we represent. Through strengthening public safety, reviving a thriving and affordable New York economy and building strong and vibrant communities, we can better the lives of New Yorkers.”

Madison County releases Community Health Improvement Plan

Mental health and substance use, along with chronic disease are the top health priorities in Madison County, as identified by the 2022-24 Community Health Assessment and Improvement Plan.

Every three years, Madison County Public Health, along with Oneida Health and Community Memorial hospitals, undergoes a comprehensive assessment to identify health issues most important to our residents.

“Health is a complex, multi-faceted topic,” said Public Health Director Eric Faisst. “It takes a community effort to assess and address health challenges effectively.”

As such, the health department and hospitals partnered with the Madison County Rural Health Council, Inc., to oversee the process. The lead agencies engaged additional community organizations to review assessment results, prioritize health issues and identify ways to address them moving forward.

Madison County residents experience higher rates of mental health and substance use outcomes compared to the state average, including deaths by suicide, opioids and motor vehicle accidents related to alcohol. The Community Health Improvement Plan builds on the work plan outlined by the Madison County Mental Health Task Force, such as school-based mental health services. Madison County Mental Health implemented satellite clinics in local school districts for the 2022-23 school year.

The MCRHC has expanded programming to include Mental Health First Aid training. This skills-based training teaches youth, family members, caregivers, school personnel and other professionals to recognize and help an individual who may be struggling with mental health and substance use.

“Mental Health First Aid training reduces stigma and raises awareness of substance use and mental health challenges,” said Christine Paul, executive director, MCRHC. “We’re currently working with nine school districts in Madison County and look forward to building upon these partnerships in the coming years.”

Furthermore, Oneida Health will continue to increase access to behavioral health services in the primary care setting through a collaborative care model.

“Each of our organizations must work strategically together with a singular vision in mind to address and improve the health disparities that exist within our communities,” said Oneida Health President and CEO Jonathan Schiller. “The Community Health Improvement Plan is designed to create the road map for us to achieve it moving forward.”

Chronic diseases account for four of the five leading causes of early death among Madison County residents. Healthy behaviors, regular health visits and screenings are key to preventing chronic diseases.

“Many individuals avoided routine visits with their primary care providers during the pandemic,” said Community Memorial President and CEO Jeffery Coakley. “We have been working with all of our patients to schedule these important appointments to ensure their healthcare is on track. Maintaining care for preventable diseases with routine primary and specialty care visits is an important step in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

The Community Health Improvement Plan will serve as a blueprint for how organizations will work together to make Madison County a healthier community. To see the full report, visit

Miller to governor: Outmigration will take a multifaceted approach
Statement from Assemblyman Brian Miller (R,C-New Hartford) on Gov. Hochul’s State of the State

“While I appreciate Governor Hochul’s focus on making New York a safer and more affordable place to live, I encourage her to take actionable steps to realize positive change for residents in our state. However, is she willing to really go after the changes needed to make our communities safe again, like meaningful changes to bail reform? Out-migration is also a real issue as people can’t afford to live here anymore, in part due to the burdensome regulations and taxes that are imposed on New Yorkers. I look forward to the implementation of practical steps to achieve these goals.”

Video of the Assemblyman’s reaction to the State of the State can be downloaded HERE.

Griffo statement on governor’s State of the State Address

New York State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-C-Rome, released the following statement regarding the governor’s State of the State Address:

“The governor unveiled her broad perspective for New York State and the approach that she would like to take to undertake this objective. I am prepared to work with the governor and will consider and examine what she has proposed with an open mind as this year’s legislative session gets underway and work on the state budget begins.

While I am pleased that the governor has proposed addressing the flawed changes made to the state’s bail law and providing more support for our neglected mental health system, I question if she will actually push for rather than merely propose the common-sense changes that need to be made to address the issues affecting our state.

Initially, I am concerned with the governor’s housing proposals because, much like what was done with the siting of energy projects in communities, local control will be stifled and restricted. New York has always been a home rule state. We should respect and not restrict local input and authority. Additionally, many of the policies that the governor has offered relative to energy are being proposed in an unrealistic and unreasonable construct and time period.

I understand that there is still much work ahead of us, and I recognize that many New Yorkers, regardless of their political persuasion or beliefs, are facing challenges. We see and hear about it every day. People and families continue to flee the state because they can’t afford to live here, they don’t feel safe, and they don’t feel there is opportunity here. Businesses are being crushed by stifling regulations. Our infrastructure is crumbling, and local governments are forced to deal with costly and burdensome mandates from the state.

It doesn’t have to be this way. New York can have a brighter, stronger and more prosperous future. Practical, comprehensive and common-sense approaches and solutions to address the issues affecting our state must be our priority, as I have regularly advocated. I will continue to submit and advance constructive proposals and ideas for consideration that can help to stop the exodus from our state.”

Griffo and Senate Republicans unveil ‘Rescue New York’ 2023 legislative agenda

State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-C Rome, and the state Senate Republican Conference today announced its “Rescue New York” 2023 legislative agenda.

The agenda includes a broad range of policies to reverse the consequences of one-party rule, including public safety, a depleted workforce, high taxes, business-crippling regulations, record inflation and increased costs of goods and nation-leading population loss; it is a comprehensive plan to improve public safety, ease the financial burden on middle-class families and small business owners and restore the quality of life in communities throughout the state.

Components of the Rescue New York plan focus on:

A safer New York

  • Restore common sense to our criminal justice system to prevent crime and protect New Yorkers;
  • increase efforts and investments to end the opioid and mental health epidemics; and
  • support and protect our seniors.

A stronger New York

  • Expand economic opportunity and strengthen our workforce;
  • invest in infrastructure for the 21st century; and
  • help our veterans and military families thrive.

A more affordable New York

  • Cut the Empire State’s highest-in-the-nation tax burden and control government spending;
  • reduce the cost of living for families and all residents;
  • improve New York’s business climate; and
  • enact climate policies that ensure access to affordable, reliable and clean energy.

A freer New York

  • Provide a high-quality education to all students;
  • uphold the rights of New Yorkers; and
  • restore accountability in state government.

For more details on the state Senate Republicans’ Rescue New York 2023 agenda click here.

“New Yorkers continue to flee the state because of the damaging policies that have been put in place by the legislative majorities and governor,” Griffo said. “It is imperative that we take action – as I have supported and advocated – to stop this exodus and help New Yorkers by providing for significant tax relief, improving the state’s economic and business climate, enhancing public safety and undertaking other critical and important measures that will benefit those living and doing business here.

“Our plan will do this. It offers real, common-sense solutions, approaches and ideas that will make New York safer, stronger and more affordable, while also restoring much-needed balance to state government.”

By martha

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