Starting his political career in the Ulster County Legislature, Assemblymember Cahill revolutionized the democratic party in Ulster County. Under his tenure as minority leader, Kevin Cahill worked hard with other Democratic representatives to bring new life to the party. Their efforts led to a Democratic takeover of the County Legislature in 2005. This experience led him to the State Assembly in 1992, where he has become a proven leader on civil rights, labor and women's issues and has been on the forefront in the struggle to provide New Yorkers with quality, affordable healthcare.
With his characteristic forward-looking approach, Kevin Cahill has resiliently fought to protect our environment and preserve the beauty and natural resources of New York State for future generations. In recognition of his efforts, he was named Legislator of the Year by the Environmental Planning Lobby in 2008.
Appointed to the position of Chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Energy in February of 2008, Assemblymember Cahill has made energy efficiency and independence a top priority and led the way on initiatives promoting renewable power generation, sustainable building practices and the development of a green workforce. Under his leadership, legislation has been passed to take proceeds from RGGI, the carbon emission cap and trade program, and direct the funding toward communities and small businesses to create a workface aimed at improving building energy efficiency. He has helped to increase investments in energy efficiency and renewable power, green the state's facilities and vehicle fleet, and make New York's net-metering law one of the most expansive in the country. These successes have set New York on the path to energy independence that will help to preserve our environment and insulate us from the economic uncertainty associated with the global energy markets.
Assemblymember Cahill believes in the value of providing a strong education to the youth of our state. He has actively sought alternative ways of financing our public education system and reforming our property tax structure. Recognizing the need to provide our children with a quality education while decreasing the crippling burden of property taxes, Kevin Cahill authored the Equity in Education Act, which calls for full state funding of education. In 1998, schools in Ulster County received $101 million in state aid. As a testament to Assemblymember Cahill's hard work on behalf of the schools in his district, this year they will receive $193 million.
In a further commitment to education, he had consistently campaigned for excellence and accessibility in our public university system. Over the course of his tenure in office, Assemblymember Cahill has been a staunch advocate for Ulster County Community College and SUNY New Paltz, securing over $100 million in funding dedicated to the modernization of the campuses.
When faced with the threat of State mandated closure for one or more hospitals in the region, the Assemblymember played an instrumental role in facilitating the affiliation of Benedictine, Kingston and Margaretville Hospitals. He successfully advocated for more than $47 million in state grants that were critical to the success of the merger, which has allowed the institutions to move together into the 21st Century and improve the standard of care and delivery of services in the Hudson Valley.
Assemblymember Cahill's dedication to the region is far-reaching and seemingly endless. He was successful in providing a wing of beds to the Darmstadt shelter to help families most in need. He has preserved the vibrancy and culture in our community with his unwavering support for local arts organizations. He encourages our children to develop a strong passion for literature through his annual summer reading program and collaborations with the Mid Hudson Library System.
Kevin Cahill is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and Albany Law School. He has worked as an attorney and director of a Medicare health plan and uses this experience to better serve the people of his district and all citizens of New York State. He keeps the best interests of his constituents in mind and is committed to fervently advocating on their behalf in the future.