A lifelong resident of Staten Island, Michael J. Cusick came to the New York State Assembly with valuable experience at all levels of government. Prior to his election, Cusick served as Director of Constituent Services for U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. His duties included serving as Senator Schumer’s liaison to New York State elected officials, as well as various federal agencies. In addition, he managed the day-to-day operation of the senator’s New York City office.
Previously, Cusick served as the Chief of Staff to former Staten Island Assemblyman Eric N. Vitaliano, managing staff and overseeing the assemblyman’s Albany and Staten Island offices.
Shortly after graduating Villanova University in 1991, Cusick began his career in public service as a Special Assistant to the President of the City Council. He served as the office representative for the Borough of Staten Island.
Assemblyman Cusick has earned a reputation as a dedicated and thoughtful public servant tirelessly advocating on behalf of his community. With over two decades of work in government, he now brings his expertise to the table as the senior member of the Staten Island delegation coordinating important Island-wide issues amongst his colleagues.
An active member of many civic organizations, Assemblyman Cusick has served on the Staten Island Board of Directors of the Catholic Youth Organization and the Boy Scouts of America. He was the Staten Island Chapter President of the Villanova Alumni Association, and is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, John D. Kearney Division 3, as well as the Staten Island Athletic Club. Cusick sits on the Board of Directors of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation whose mission is to honor the legacy
of Stephen Siller, a firefighter who laid down his life on September 11th. In addition, Cusick chairs the Handicapped Parking Task Force on Staten Island, which he established shortly after his election. The Task Force works with community groups to address the parking concerns faced by disabled individuals.
Since his election to the New York State Assembly in the fall of 2002, Cusick has worked to improve the quality of life for all Staten Islanders. In 2003, he authored a law creating a moratorium on building that made the Mid-Island Blue Belt a reality. In an effort to curb runaway development, Cusick authored legislation requiring notice to neighborhood landowners of an application to build on wetland areas.
A tireless activist for his hometown, Cusick labored on behalf of Pouch Camp, a New York City Boy Scout sanctuary. He continues his efforts for this venerable Staten Island institution. In 2012, the New York City administration proposed the re-opening of the former Fresh Kills Landfill as a site for a waste-to-energy facility. Cusick took the realm fiercely advocating against the plan and cited the state law he helped to craft in 1996, which closed the former landfill to the receipt and processing of garbage
forever. Standing firm, Cusick and his colleagues won the battle and the administration backed off of the proposal.
In 2011 Assemblyman Cusick developed a local program in conjunction with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce known as the Veteran’s Discount Program. Under this initiative, veterans receive a card that gives them discounts at many local businesses. The overwhelming response of both veterans and participating businesses continues to grow – a tribute to our veterans.
An outspoken advocate for children, Assemblyman Cusick created a program in 2008 called the “Total Fitness Challenge” which encourages Staten Island students Island-wide from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade to read and exercise during their summer break. An unflagging voice against childhood obesity, he challenges children to keep track of their activities and turn their score cards in upon returning to school. An award ceremony follows where the children are congratulated for their achievements. This program is a huge success and grows in enrollment each year.
Twice a year, Assemblyman Cusick teams up with the Project Renewal to station the SCANVAN outside of his district office. The “Scan Van” Program provides mammograms for uninsured women 40 and older. This community service along with the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in which “Team Cusick” participates helps increase awareness about the disease and provides support for survivors.
On the legislative front, Cusick is a strong voice on behalf of his constituents and has sponsored numerous bills which have become law. In 2007 Legislation sponsored by Cusick became law, creating the 13th Judicial District for Richmond County. Staten Island long sought its own Judicial District and now the Island is part of the process for selecting justices in the New York State Supreme Court.
Assemblyman Cusick also authored laws in 2006 to protect family and friends of veteran’s at the most solemn time. In response to funeral protests that were taking place at military funerals across our country, the first law counters protestors at funeral services through the creation of a 100-foot “buffer-zone.” As these protests continue, Cusick passed two more pieces of legislation in 2011 to further strengthen this law. Those laws increase the buffer zone to 300 feet around a religious service, funeral, burial or memorial service and require a permit process for such demonstrations.
In this age of instant communications via internet and texting, Cusick sponsors a bill that requires age appropriate dating violence education in the annual school curriculum for students in grades seven through twelve and age appropriate respect education and self-esteem education for students in grades kindergarten through six. This legislation aims to create guidelines to educate our children about the negative effects certain actions may lead to.
In an effort to combat a rapid growing epidemic on Staten Island, Assemblyman Cusick was the architect of a law to establish a real time prescription drug monitoring program that requires medical professionals and pharmacists to report and track prescriptions of controlled substances. This law, enacted in the 2012 Legislative Session, makes New York State a national leader by being one of the first states to require a real-time database for tracking prescription drugs.
An Island-wide accomplishment in 2012, Assemblyman Cusick authored legislation signed into law restoring Yellow School Buses. This law brought back school bus service for Staten Island’s seventh and eighth grade students. The New York City Department of education had revoked this service in 2009 jeopardizing the safety of these children who had limited mass transit options to travel to school.
Assemblyman Cusick has been a member of the American Irish Legislators Society of New York State since 2003, his first year serving in Legislature. He was elected President of the organization in 2009, a position he continues to hold. In 2011, he was elected Chair of the Assembly Election Law Committee. He also sits on the Higher Education, Mental Health, Transportation, Veterans’ Affairs, Steering, and Ways and Means Committees. In addition, Cusick chairs the Legislative Task Force on People with