Local business leaders had an opportunity to meet with state lawmakers today and discuss their priorities for the current legislative session in Albany.

The Greater Binghamton Chamber and its partner organization Unshackle Upstate held its Legislative Agenda Rollout and Local Lobby Day at the Holiday Inn in Binghamton.

Unshackle, which lobbies on behalf of Upstate business interests, has an advocacy agenda that includes 40 proposed reforms to state government.

Its 5 key areas of focus are continued fiscal responsibility, a permanent tax cap, opposing a prevailing wage expansion, rejecting a single payer healthcare system and investing in workforce development.

Michael Kracker is the Executive Director of Unshackle Upstate, which has long had a close relationship with Republicans who used to control the State Senate.

Kracker says that now that Democrats are in charge of both legislative bodies, Upstate interests need to build new relationships. “The population in the New York City area is growing while unfortunately in Upstate New York, we’ve been on the decline.  I think we need to make sure that we’re educating everybody about our problems so that we can get that trend turned around.  There’s still just a little under half of the state’s population up here.  We should make sure that our issues are being addressed in the capital  and it doesn’t become a New York City focused body.”

Kracker identified Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo as a veteran Democrat who can be relied on to advocate for Upstate issues.

Lupardo was joined by Republican Assemblyman Cliff Crouch and Republican Senator Fred Akshar in answering questions from the group.