Thomas F. O'Mara's Blog entries

ECONOMIC ENGINES

Great news this week.

The Southern Tier region was awarded a total of $80.8 million and the Finger Lakes region $80.7 million through the fourth round of funding for the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) initiative.

In fact, both the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes regions are among the five regions recognized as a “Top Performer” in this year’s competition.  

So the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions continue to stand out this year.  

December 12, 2014
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BEWARE 'CYBER MONDAY'

Talk about change. One thing we know is that e-commerce has become big, big business -- especially during the holiday shopping season. "Cyber Monday," for example, is the beginning of a rush of online purchasing that, according to reports, generates more than $1 billion in spending by American consumers.

Going hand in hand with this modern economy, however, the unprecedented exchange of online information raises concerns over cyber-crime, especially identity theft.

November 24, 2014
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DRUG TIP LINE

It's been a constant topic on these pages over the past several years: the resurgence of meth across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.  

Meth's rise has been accompanied more recently by a resurgence of heroin abuse. 

We've stressed that it's going to take a multi-pronged approach to combat the spread of these drugs, one that includes tougher laws and law enforcement, prevention and treatment, and, equally important, heightened community awareness and education.

September 22, 2014
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13 YEARS AFTER

The years keep passing, 13 have now gone by, but Americans of all ages will gather again this week, in the words of former President George W. Bush, to “honor the memory of the 11th day.”

From east to west, from north to south, Americans do their duty as citizens to remember September 11, 2001, like we always have, and like we always will.

For this generation, to this very day, September 11th evokes one of the most powerful reminders of all: we are Americans and above all else, in the toughest of times, we will stand together in aid, in comfort, and in resolve.

September 10, 2014
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NO PLACE FOR INVASIVE SPECIES

Here's what Stuart F. Gruskin of The Nature Conservancy in New York, has to say about a recently enacted state law aimed at further combating the spread of aquatic invasive species througout the Finger Lakes and all of our waterways, "This (new law) will reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species that harm human, economic and environmental health. Each year, invasive species cost our communities millions of dollars. By taking simple and common sense measures to clean, drain and dry our boats we can reduce the spread of these harmful species and protect our fishing, tourism and other water-dependent industries."

September 3, 2014
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SUMMER READING

Summer's moving fast, so it' a good time to issue this reminder about the Senate's Summer Reading Program.

Area students and their families are invited to take part in an online summer reading program that I'm sponsoring locally and that the Senate will be promoting throughout the summer of 2014 in partnership with the New York State Library and public libraries across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and statewide.

July 29, 2014
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TICK ALERT

Lyme disease, once considered mostly a “downstate” concern, is now a growing public health threat across Upstate New York. 

In recent weeks, as we’ve entered the height of tick season, we’ve heard public health officials in Yates and other area counties issue warnings about this debilitating illness that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans annually.

July 2, 2014
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SENATE ACTS FIRST ON ANTI-HEROIN PACKAGE

The New York State Senate gave its approval tonight to a series of anti-heroin initiatives I'm proud to co-sponsor to respond to the growing heroin crisis across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and statewide.he legislation is scheduled to be approved by the Assembly later tonight or tomorrow.

The measures have been agreed to by Governor Andrew Cuomo and will be signed into law.  

June 19, 2014
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ACTING AGAINST HEROIN

Albany, N.Y., June 9—The State Senate today approved a series of legislative initiatives co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) aimed at addressing the growing heroin crisis across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and statewide.

June 9, 2014
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IT'S A CRISIS

I was pleased to have the opportunity to sponsor a meeting of the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction at Elmira College on Friday, May 16th.

We had an important timely discussion on the growing heroin epidemic regionally and statewide.

May 16, 2014
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ADDRESSING HEROIN

Since early April, the Senate Task Force on Heroin has been holding public hearings in every region of the state in response to the alarming rise of heroin abuse being reported from every corner of New York.  

A total of 14 hearings have been scheduled, including one that I'll be sponsoring in Elmira on Friday, May 16, 2014.  

May 8, 2014
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Take part, pitch in

Americans are known for volunteering.  In fact we’re coming off a week when the nation observed National Volunteer Week in tribute to all of the many millions of citizens throughout our communities, of every age and from all walks of life, who make such a difference with their willingness to devote time, energy and sacrifice to the lives and needs of others. 

It’s a recognition, however, that shouldn’t – and fortunately doesn’t – end after just one week.

April 14, 2014
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More CHIPS?

We’re seeing report after report deliver the message that the condition of local roads and bridges is critical, and getting worse. 

That's why local highway superintendents from across New York State put on their traditional orange t-shirts and travelled to Albany this week and, today, joined me and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano to call for a greater state commitment to our local transportation infrastructure.

March 5, 2014
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BUDGET TIME

On the economic and fiscal reform fronts, several of Governor Cuomo's key 2014-15 state budget proposals are in step with my own overriding priorities: upstate economic growth and community development, and overall state fiscal reform.  

In particular, I've long promoted tax and regulatory relief as one way to spark a revitalization of Upstate New York’s manufacturing sector. As the governor previously announced, his proposed budget includes a series of tax cuts aimed at upstate manufacturers and pledges a focus on regulatory reform.

January 24, 2014
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Small Business Saturday ~ November 30, 2013

You hear it all the time, especially in government where we debate constantly about how best to create jobs and strengthen local economies: small businesses are the backbone of the economy.

November 26, 2013
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Keep Making The Case

The Cuomo administration can go ahead and keep on claiming it's fiscally necessary for New York in the long run to shut down inpatient services at the Elmira Psychiatric Center (Elmira PC) and close the Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, but it’s important that we continue to let Governor Cuomo know that these moves don't make any fiscal common sense at all. 

In fact, it appears hard to improve upon the Elmira PC’s record of fiscal responsibility. The same holds true for Monterey.

November 8, 2013
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Message Delivered, Again

On the same day that the Washington D.C.-based Tax Foundation called New York State’s business tax climate the worst in the nation, the state Senate Majority Coalition held a public hearing at Corning Community College and heard the same message from local and statewide business leaders and economic development officials: New York State is overtaxed, overregulated and too costly. 

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October 9, 2013
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Letting Your Voices Be Heard

Talk about getting knocked around every which way but loose.

First it was the July 10th announcement by the Cuomo administration that within the next year it was planning to shut down inpatient services at the Elmira Psychiatric Center.

That was followed a few weeks later by a second Cuomo administration announcement, this one on July 26th, that 2014 would also bring the closing of the Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility in Schuyler County.

September 10, 2013
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Looking Ahead

Over the past few weeks in my weekly column "From the Capitol," I've been looking ahead at a few of the challenges that I'll be focusing on heading into a new legislative session in 2014.

I opened this series of columns two weeks ago by putting a spotlight on where I believe we need to begin: revitalizing upstate manufacturing. Read my August 19th column, "Agenda 2014: Upstate manufacturing." 

August 30, 2013
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Join The Fight!

An online “Join The Fight!” petition drive that I've recently started to rally public support for the continued operation of the Elmira Psychiatric Center (Elmira PC) is now nearing 1,000 supporters.  

The response has grown day by day, and it’s been very positive.

Most importantly, it’s going to be very helpful to the overall effort to encourage Governor Cuomo and his administration to reconsider the future of the Elmira PC.

July 22, 2013
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