Before I relay some details regarding the upcoming N.Y.S. Highway & Public Works Expo, I want to pass along my kudos to the Suffolk County legislature for having the courage Sept. 19 to pass a bill that would crack down on the hiring of illegal immigrants.
The legislation, passed by a 15-3 vote, is expected to be signed into law and will apply to approximately 6,000 companies and agencies that have county contracts. Penalties will include fines and potential jail time. Repeat offenders could forfeit their contracts.
National scrutiny has made this issue a political hot potato, which is why it takes courage to address it, regardless of what side people find themselves on. Critics of the Suffolk County’s legislation will argue that it’s anti-immigration or worse, racist. Maybe in some proponents’ minds it is, but at the same time it also is about fairness, which when practiced faithfully, is absent of superficial things such as color. America needs to be a team, especially at this moment in history, and treating people the same way we did during the Ellis Island days is essential to fostering teamwork and respect for all the people who immigrated here legally. Sure, economics plays into hiring illegals, too, but money should never trump the rule of law, and most important — equality.
Now on to the show. As many of you are probably aware, this year’s expo will be held Oct. 18 in the Verizon Center of Progress Building on the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Please see page 60 in this issue for a comprehensive list of all the exhibitors who will be participating. As with last year’s show, door prizes will be raffled off every 15 minutes, and beginning at 2:15 p.m., we will raffle off two grand prizes — two grandstand NASCAR tickets (including two pit road passes) to a Watkins Glen race in August 2007 and two tickets to see the Buffalo Bills take on the Tennessee Titans Dec. 24 in Buffalo.
Of course, there’ll also be the annual Snowplow Roadeo. Can anyone stop a threepeat? Attend to find out!
Looking forward to seeing you there.