A 50-bed detox and rehabilitation treatment facility grant was approved in Broome County, NY against all odds last night, after a two and a half hour Committee of the Whole meeting and vote. The roar of cheers, cries, and celebrations rocked the fifth floor of the County building at 60 Hawley St., in Binghamton, NY. Seven Republican Legislators crossed over the aisle in an important bipartisan agreement, that the drug treatment facility was necessary for an area, that by October 17, had already suffered from 55 drug-related deaths of young people.

82 percent of those were Heroine or Opioid-related.

Broome County Drug Treatment Facility approved by 11-4 bipartisan vote

The Broome County Drug Treatment Facility which was brazenly approved by a bipartisan vote of 11-4, will house 50 detox and rehabilitation beds and eventually 70 residential beds, for recovery. Phase one of this project, which was granted $2.7 million, will be developed by the Syracuse Behavioral Health Center out of Onondaga County. The treatment facility will employ 70 people as well after hundreds of employees lost their jobs or were relocated when the previous center for developmental and intellectual disabilities was shut down in March of 2016.

Soon after it shut down, Broome County Executive Jason T.

Garnar began a charge to turn the Broome Developmental Center into a drug rehabilitation center. Garnar was previously quoted as saying, "You'd have to have your head in the sand for the last five years to not realize we have a major crisis on our hands."

The 11-4 bipartisan vote came after approximately two hours of questions and answers between Legislators and CEO Jeremy Klemanski, as well as legal counsel Robert A.

Kent, of the State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASIS). The concerns voiced by Republican Legislators were over the cost of the facility to their constituents beyond the grant amount, and whether or not those treated would leave the county or stay. Two very weak arguments when you are considering the lives of young folks everywhere.

The four naysayers on the Republican side, who felt financial concerns were more important than saving lives were Cindy O'Brien, Michael Sopchak Jr., Majority Leader Stephen Flagg, and Chairman Dan J. Reynolds. Let it be known that money over lives is what concerned these four voters. The seven Republicans who whole-heartedly crossed the aisle to vote yes were Kelly Wildoner, Matthew J. Pasquale, Ronald J. Keibel, Ron Heebner, Scott D. Baker, Greg Baldwin and Jason Shaw. The four Democratic yea votes came from Mark Whalen, Mary Kaminsky, Dan D. Reynolds and Bob Weslar. The outcome was a shock to citizens and supporters.

Prior to the vote, Truth Pharm, a supporter in the race against drug dependence, announced that they would hold a major news conference after the previously expected no vote on the facility.

A leader of Binghamton's Truth Pharm, Alexis Pleus, was overjoyed at the change of events. In fact, you could almost hear the whole area of Broome County let out a huge cheer for a great bipartisan decision to save young lives in our area.

Legislators choose lives over money

So it was, without doubt, an amazing feat for those who have fought for this facility in our area. These crusaders for the treatment facility included parents who have lost loved ones because there was nowhere addicts could go before. We should applaud Broome County Executive Jason T. Garnar, Binghamton Mayor Rich David, and State Senator Fred Ashkar, the latter two of whom are Republican, for their great support of this direly needed facility in Broome County.

Some Republican leaders of Broome County listened to their constituents for once and reached deep into their hearts to pull out their yes votes, in support. One can only hope that such bipartisan votes can continue in Broome County and that we can be a prime example to Congress of how to run a government properly. Please help in making this article go viral so that our Congress and President can see how the health of American Citizens should be handled. Bravo to the Broome County Legislature for choosing to save young lives here. America is changing.

I read several opinions on Facebook last night after the vote. It was great to see the outpouring of support and tamed happiness for the yes vote.

However, there were still those reporting their disdain for the vote, and the fact that their taxes will go up, or that they don't want a treatment facility filled with drug addicts in Broome County. I ask those of you with this attitude, what if it were your child? Let that strike your heart, wherever it lay.

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