BINGHAMTON, NY – Some observers in Albany feel that New York City is the primary focus when drafting policy for the State, ignoring the needs of Upstate.
A new initiative has a State Senator visiting the larger cities in Upstate New York to hear about their needs.
NewsChannel 34’s Jackie Gillis is here with more on the tour.
Thanks Jim. Democratic State Senator Jeremy Cooney from Rochester is the chair of the Cities 2 Committee and he kicked off his “Regener8” Tour a couple days ago.
He’s calling it the “Regener-8” tour because he’ll be visiting 8 cities, Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Syracuse, Plattsburgh, Rochester, Utica and Yonkers.
Senator Cooney came to Binghamton today holding a round table discussing with local stakeholders.
Attendees included Senator Fred Akshar, Binghamton Mayor Rich David, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar, as well as business, non-profit, and education leaders.
The objective of this bi-partisan tour is to identify new and innovative policy solutions to systemic issues that face families.
Cooney says our biggest threat when it comes to Upstate Cities is we always talk about where we were and that’s why he wants to change the conversation.
“If we do our jobs as state legislators, then we can help Mayors and all of the great partners that we spoke to today in Binghamton, re-design and revision Upstate New York, not just for today, but for our children and their children thereafter,” he said.
Cooney says that’s the opportunity he now has by doing this listening tour.
Mayor David says while he could’ve given Senator Cooney a laundry list of what he’d like to see change in Binghamton, he wanted to focus on the bigger picture, how do we keep our communities safe, how do we bring in good paying jobs, and how do we address the tax issues.
“When we can address those and other issues, your whole city rises and you create the atmosphere or environment that is conducive and attractive for job creators, investors who want to come and locate their companies in the city of Binghamton, those who want to expand, where you have a workforce that can support that sort of expansion,” he says.
David believes these are the things that collectively will improve the state.
As Cooney continues this tour, he believes common issues between the cities will include workforce development, infrastructure, and revitalizing downtowns.
Senator Cooney is stopping in Utica tonight.
In November, he will hold a formal hearing and then next year bring these issues back to Albany with a plan for change.