In a recent media interview, a reporter asked me what would be my primary goal as a NYS Assemblywoman.

It was a tough question, as I have spent the last three months learning about the wide range of issues and concerns affecting my constituents and determining the resultant ways in which I will serve them.  YetI have not really had time to give serious thought to any personal goals related to the job, over and above constituent service.

So right then and there I stopped and thought about that reporter’s question for a minute, with a fast forward display of possibilities racing through my mind.  And suddenly, there it was.  The one goal that I immediately knew was the most central to any success I will have as the 147th Assembly Representative.

I want to encourage people to come away from their walls.

It seems to me that these days we  are standing as far apart from each other as we can, with our backs up against our individual walls of beliefs pushing hard to keep those walls solid and inpenetrable.  And no matter what may be offered to entice us to take a step or two away from our walls into the open space of possibility and compromise, we would rather stay with our backs firmly entrenched—our communities and our nation divided.

In the days since that interview, I have found myself thinking a lot about America’s founding fathers and the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.  It took more than two years to create those great documents—to bring “we the people” far enough off their walls of individual rights and concerns to compromise on issues important to our nation’s greater good.

It happened over 200 years ago and it can happen today.  As a nation, as a state, as communities, as individuals—we can make the changes needed to strengthen our American way of life.  All it takes is a willingness to take that first step away from the wall.