Cathy Young oath

State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, began her seventh full term representing the Southern Tier and Livingston County last week. She was named chair of the committees for elections and ethics in the Senate.

Despite a loss in her bid to become Senate minority leader, state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, has been named to a high ranking leadership post in Senate Republican Conference.

The 57th District senator has also been designated as the ranking Republican member of the Elections Committee and Ethics and Internal Governance Committee.

“I am enthusiastic about continuing my leadership efforts as assistant minority leader for Conference Operations. In this new political environment where all three branches of government are now controlled by New York City interests, assuring the strength and voice of upstate has never been more important,” Young said in a prepared statement.

She lost her bid to become minority leader in November to then-Majority Leader John Flanagan of Long Island. Last year she was Finance Committee chairman, having served earlier as Education Committee chairman.

“As the ranking Republican member on the Elections and Ethics committees, I look forward to tackling difficult issues that are vital to ensuring the integrity of our electoral system and our political leaders and processes,” Young said.

“The public should be able to have trust in their government and elected officials. Yet, polls show that public confidence is at an all-time low. We clearly have our work cut out for us,” she added.

Young said the Elections committee should be “one of the most active” in the new session with issues such as early voting and campaign finance reform being repeatedly cited by New York City Democratic leaders as top priorities.

“Working to safeguard New Yorkers from proposals like these as well as advancing new initiatives aimed at improving and strengthening New York’s election laws will be key goals,” she said.

The Olean senator said more remains to be done to follow up on passage last year of New York’s comprehensive sexual harassment law. A proposal she submitted became the framework for the new law following the revelations of the #MeToo movement.

“There is clearly more that can and should be done in this area and as the ranking member on the Ethics Committee, I look forward to working in partnership with my colleagues to build on the foundation we laid last year,” Young said.

“Ethics and public accountability are front and center in the public dialogue right now and they should be,” Young said.

The senator wasted no time this week in announcing her opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for a taxpayer-funded campaign finance system in the state.

Public-funded campaign financing in New York City “has become a cauldron of corruption,” Young said.

The state is looking at a $500 million budget deficit this year, she said. Democrats have proposed public financing legislation that would cost taxpayers $200 million.

Young recalled when Democrats last controlled both chambers in 2009-10, they raised taxes and spending by $14 billion.

“The Democrats’ plan is deja vu all over again,” Young said. “We have a projected budget deficit for next year and a slowing stock market that will only make the deficit worse.”

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)