Tag Archives: 14th Congressional District

‘Thank you and God bless you for your unimaginable courage’: Veterans Day essay winner


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kezia Dickson

One Corona student has stood out from the rest for an essay that came from the heart.

Kezia Dickson, an eighth-grader at I.S. 61, won the inaugural Veterans Day essay competition for students in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

Dickson was recognized on Nov. 5 by U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley for placing first with her 500-word essay out of more than 800 students who participated in the competition. The contest was open to students in grades five through eight. The top essays from each grade were also given congressional recognition.

“Our Veterans Day essay contest was a wonderful opportunity to encourage our youth to reflect upon our nation’s history and salute the members of our armed forces for all their sacrifices,” Crowley said. “Kezia’s essay perfectly captures what it means to commemorate the holiday and underscores the importance of paying tribute to the men and women who protect the freedoms we’ve fought so hard for. “

Dickson, who hopes to one day work in politics, said that when she was writing the article, she wasn’t thinking about winning the contest, but about her uncles and cousins in the armed forces.

“First, I thought it was a joke because when I first wrote the essay I wasn’t doing it for the contest. Veterans Day is something that is really important to me. When I wrote it, that was right from the heart,” she said. “It really meant a lot because I know a lot of people don’t know what Veterans Day is so when I saw that someone took what I wrote to heart and took it seriously it made me feel like I was saying something that really meant a lot.”

The congressman awarded Dickson with an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol and also presented her with a statement that will be entered into the Congressional Record in honor of her essay.

Veterans Day to Me
By Kezia Dickson

Each day millions of people in the armed forces risk their lives in order to protect us. They put losing their family, friends, and life behind just so that they can protect us. These people show unexplainable bravery and courage. I can’t even imagine putting my life on the line to fight in a war where I may possibly die. When I sit down and think about what these people are doing it blows my mind. I find it so honorable and breath-taking that someone would put themselves in such danger for strangers. That is why when Veterans Day comes along I make sure to do something for those members of the armed forces. This holiday is just a chance for me to say, “Thank you and God bless you for your unimaginable courage and kindness.” I can’t even go on to think about the struggle and pain some of these family members may feel each day as they don’t know if their husband or wife, son or daughter, mother or father is still alive. Just let alone going to sleep without having that type of awareness is hard. Sometimes us Americans take things for granted, especially, our freedom. Most people fail to understand that the freedom we have doesn’t come for free. Sacrifices are made and people end up dying in the process. Veterans Day is very important to me. For some it’s a day where you don’t have to go to work or school. For me it’s a time of reflection and renewal. To know that somebody’s husband/wife, son/daughter, father/mother is dying just so, that I can have my freedom makes me take a step back. It makes me think twice about the actions I’m taking and the things I’m doing right now. I just begin to say to myself, “Is the things I’m doing now worth someone’s life being lost?” I appreciate these members of the armed forces with the deepest gratitude. They’ve helped save my life and protect other millions of Americans. In my family, I have uncles and cousins who have served and are serving now. I understand what they do is very hard and it takes mental, emotional, and physical strength to go through with it. They go through so many obstacles but, they seem to never give up. They make me proud to call myself an American. It is their bravery and audacity that keeps America living. What they do is just unbelievable. Basically, Veterans Day my time to say, “Thank you for saving my life and thank you for your service.”                  

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Congressmember Crowley kicks of re-election campaign


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Dominick Totino Photography

Congressmember Joseph Crowley has launched his re-election campaign.

Crowley, who was first elected to Congress in 1998, was voted in last year to represent sections of Queens and the Bronx in the 14th Congressional District.

He officially kicked off his campaign for re-election on Sunday, March 9, in Sunnyside, though no opponents have declared their candidacies as of yet.

“It has been my privilege to represent the people of one of the most diverse districts in the country, and I am excited to announce I’ll be seeking re-election to continue to focus on the issues that matter most,” Crowley said.

The announcement came as the Woodside native gathered with other elected officials and supporters during his fifth annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Sidetracks Restaurant.

“Too many families are still struggling to get by and we need to break the gridlock in Congress to get our country moving forward again,” he said. “Using my position in the elected leadership of the House Democratic Caucus, I am fully committed to making a real difference in people’s lives. That means putting New Yorkers back to work, raising the minimum wage, protecting social services that are vital to our most vulnerable communities, and fighting hard to make immigration reform a reality.”

Recently, Crowley introduced the On-The-Job Training Act that would guarantee American workers are able to gain new skills to both compete and succeed in the job market.

 

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Op-ed: Making Silent Skies a reality


| oped@queenscourier.com

CONGRESSMEMBER JOSEPH CROWLEY

Anyone who lives here in Queens can tell you just how loud and disruptive the noise of airplanes can be. Millions of Americans throughout the country, including those who live in the communities surrounding LaGuardia and JFK Airports are impacted by constant, thunderous engine noise all day long. The sound isn’t merely a nuisance – it disrupts sleep, distracts students in our community’s schools and drowns out the joys of daily life.

The problem of excessive noise from airplanes flying over our communities has always been a hard nut to crack. Planes usually have a limited number of options for approaching and departing from runways. These flight paths can change based on many varying conditions in weather, winds and congestion. Especially in the crowded skies over our densely-populated city, there are precious few places airplanes can fly where they won’t be heard by some community.

But there’s one way to resolve this problem to the benefit of all our communities: make airplanes quieter.

In 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued regulations requiring all new aircraft designs to meet Stage 4 noise standards, which is a considerably lower decibel level than those currently in use. While these new rules were a significant step toward improving the quality of life for those who live near airports, they did not go far enough. The FAA did nothing to make sure airlines would begin to phase out older, louder airplanes or retrofit them with quieter engines.

Last week, I introduced legislation to fix that.

My bill, the Silent Skies Act, will require airlines to begin stocking their fleets with newer, quieter aircraft. In order to introduce quieter planes into the market, the bill mandates that the FAA issue regulations by the end of 2015 forcing airlines to begin updating their fleets to meet Stage 4 noise standards. Fleets will have to be updated at a rate of 25 percent every five years, so that all commercial airplanes meet these quieter standards by no later than 2035.

But, we can’t stop there. We can’t just phase out today’s noisy planes and call it quits. We must push the envelope and try to develop technologies that make airplanes even quieter.

That’s why the Silent Skies Act will also create a fund to encourage research and development into these technologies. It will allow the FAA issue up to $10 million in grants for developing better ways to help meet or exceed Stage 4 noise standards. In return, companies that benefit from the program will be asked to pay the money back, using the profits they made on their new engines.

When talking with my constituents about aircraft noise pollution in our communities, I always say our airports will never be perfect neighbors, but we can certainly make them better ones. The truth is our airports are only getting busier. New York will continue to be a destination for more and more people. And that’s a good thing for our local economy. But, that doesn’t mean our communities need to sacrifice their quality of life.

The Silent Skies Act is just the kind of approach we can take to make life better not just for the residents of Queens, but also for so many other communities near airports around the country.

Crowley represents New York’s 14th Congressional District, stretching from Pelham Bay to Elmhurst.

 

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