ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)--LAWMAKERS RETURN TO ALBANY TO KICKOFF THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW LEGISLATIVE YEAR. 

SOME LEGISLATIVE LEADERS HIGhlIGHted THE IMPORTANCE OF SERVING THE PUBLIC.

“As we embark on this legislative journey, we must remember why we’re here and it's been said over and over again. We are here to serve the people of New York,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-35th Senate District). 

LAWMAKERS IN both THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY SAid SOME OF THE TOP ISSUES TO ADDRESS THIS YEAR WILL BE HOUSING, PUBLIC SAFETY, AFFORdABILITY AND THE MIGRANT CRISIS.  

“We have to change the trajectory New York is on, we have to make it more affordable, we have to make it safer for our communities, and again we have to work with our federal colleagues to make sure we can solve this migrant crisis,” said Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Assembly District 120).

Some lawmakers said affordability should be the legislature's top priority. 

“Number one is affordability to stem the exodus of New Yorkers fleeing to other states because of the cost-of-living and the lack of opportunities here in New York State,” said Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats). 

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS SAid THERE ARE SOME COSTS OF LIVING OUTWEIGHING OTHERS THAT LAWMAKERS NEED TO ADDRESS IN ORDER TO IMPROVE AFFORDABILITY.  

The most significant cost burden facing our constituents today is housing. The soaring cost of living in New York threatens the very essence of our state's identity,” said Stewart-Cousins.