Western, New York , United States
May 02, 2005 12:33am
|Info||Senator Raymond A. Meier's two decades of public service have been guided by a simple philosophy to which he has steadfastly adhered: to give people the freedom to make a better life for themselves and liberate their creative capacity to build the New York State economy by cutting taxes and reducing regulation. |
Now serving his fourth term in the New York State Senate, Senator Meier is a recognized leader in promoting economic development initiatives and job growth opportunities throughout the 47th Senate District which he represents. Knowing a job provides freedom, independence and the ability to support oneself and one's family, Senator Meier is continuously involved in efforts to create new jobs, save existing jobs and expand opportunities for all.
In 1997, Senator Meier served on a Senate-Assembly Energy Conference Committee which developed an agreement to provide low-cost power to employers in New York State. Senator Meier recognizes energy costs are a major factor when businesses, especially manufacturers, are deciding where to locate jobs and commerce, and he strongly advocates the deregulation of the electric utility industry in New York State.
Senator Meier was an early and avid supporter of the STAR School Tax Relief program which became law in 1997, and was accelerated in 1998 to provide more savings faster for most seniors. Currently, STAR saves all homeowners hundreds of dollars each year in property taxes, the tax Senator Meier considers to be the most onerous and burdensome. Senator Meier sponsored the landmark "innocent spouse" law which took effect January 1, 1999, to protect honest citizens from liability for tax bills incurred by an unscrupulous spouse.
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, Senator Meier passed legislation giving Veterans groups more freedom in spending money they raise, and sponsored a 1997 constitutional amendment to give active duty military personnel veterans credits on civil service exams. The amendment was approved by voters in a statewide referendum. Senator Meier also played an essential role in the passage of the veteran's buyback bill which permits public employees to obtain up to three years of service credit in the public retirement system for their military service during periods of conflict. This legislation has since become Chapter 548 of the Laws of 2000.
In 1999, Senator Meier was appointed Chairman of the Senate Committee on Social Services. This, coupled with his role on the Human Services Budget Conference Committee, has allowed Senator Meier to pursue his interest in reforming welfare and utilize his vast experience and knowledge of the social services system. He has been instrumental in increasing services for those transitioning off of welfare including transportation, child care and health care, as well as expanding the earned income tax credit and child care tax credit which provide relief to working poor families. Using TANF funds, Senator Meier was able to work with his colleagues on the Human Services Budget Subcommittee to create much needed Child Care and Health Care Worker Recruitment and Retention Programs. Recognizing the importance that education plays in bringing families out of poverty, Senator Meier also supported two demonstration projects in the state which provide necessary supports to low-income parents pursuing a higher education.
In October of 2001 Senator Meier was appointed to the position of Co-chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures' newly created TANF Reauthorization Task Force. Senator Meier also served as Chairman of the organization's Human Services Committee. He served in this capacity for the 2001-2002 cycle, testifying before Congress on TANF Reauthorization in April of 2002. Senator Meier will serve as an At-Large Member of NCSL's Executive Committee in 2002-2003.
The 47th District Senator Meier represents encompasses most of Oneida County, all of Lewis County and parts of St. Lawrence County. A native of Rome and a lifelong resident of Oneida County, Meier was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and took office January 1, 1997.
Meier was Oneida County Executive from 1991 to 1996, during which time he proposed six straight balanced budgets, eliminating a $9 million deficit and building a $13 million fund balance.
As County Executive, Meier also gained statewide recognition for his welfare reform initiatives which saved millions of taxpayer dollars, including a program requiring able-bodied public assistance applicants to aggressively seek employment before being issued cash welfare payments. This program cut Oneida County Home Relief cases by 40 percent to a 20-year low, and was copied by other counties and used as a blueprint for statewide reform. Economic development was also a cornerstone of Meier's county administration. He was part of a team which saved Rome Laboratory from closure and began development of the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome.
Meier served on Governor Pataki's Transition Team in 1994, and while County Executive was a member of the board of directors and first vice president of the New York State Association of Counties.
Meier was an Oneida County Legislator from 1986 to 1991; Corporation Counsel for the City of Rome from 1980 to 1983; legislative counsel to his political mentor, the late Senator James H. Donovan, from 1978 to 1980; and Deputy Onondaga County Attorney from 1977 to 1978.
Meier is of counsel with the Utica law firm of Saunders, Kahler and Locke. He was a partner in the Rome law firm of McMahon and Grow from 1985 to 1991, and an associate in the law offices of Paul A. Worlock from 1977 to 1983.
Meier was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves in 1974 and served until 1985.
Meier holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University. He is a graduate of Rome Free Academy. He was born October 23, 1952, in Rome, son of Alfred and Irene Meier.
Senator Meier is married to Kimberly Davis Meier. They reside in the town of Western. They have two children.