By Nicholas M. Zacchea
Mr. Zacchea, Ph.D., CFE, CGFM, is a candidate for New York State Assembly District 22 in Long Island. He is challenging incumbent Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages in . 3 election.
In 1995, while an Assistant Director with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, I spent several months in Haiti from the spring into the early fall. I was to act as the eyes and ears of the Special Representative of the United Nations , identifying ways to improve Mission activities for the citizens of Haiti.
I traveled around by car and helicopter to Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, Hinche, Jacmel, Jeremie Les Cayes, among other places. What I saw was wholesale deforestation that had resulted from the sale of timber to unscrupulous overseas brokers. I saw an underfunded and undertrained police department. I saw the lack of clean water and dependable power, and an unworkable sewage system. I saw intestinal parasites and malaria and was a dengue fever victim.
I also saw hardworking, resilient people struggling to survive, eager for a life without constant struggle. And I saw a reason to double my efforts to make a difference, however small, in the lives of the Haitians I met.
Since my time in Haiti, I have been able to better understand why Haitians are eager to come to the United States. It’s to escape conditions that make life so difficult and render the future of their children uncertain. These are the same reasons why my grandparents came to this country and why my parents stayed here.
My grandparents and parents didn’t want their adopted country to change, and neither do I. And neither does anyone who comes to this country for a better life.
But the country in which my grandparents sought a better life is under siege. My opponents want to eliminate the police, tell us where our children can go to school, and have the government control every aspect of our lives. They want to be able to snuff out the life of a baby being born. These are the dangerous ideas my grandparents were fleeing. None of us want chaos or to be denied the right to live freely and be rewarded for hard work.
My opponents continue to tempt us with free food, free housing, free everything, robbing us of the dignity that comes from knowing that we are independent and capable of supporting ourselves and our children. I don’t want my opponents to defile our hallowed sanctuary of promise and opportunity. I will fight to make sure that the country our forefathers chose for us continues to allow us to freely partake of its boundless opportunities.