Newly elected State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith and Senators William Stachowski and Antoine Thompson met today with Mayor Byron Brown in Buffalo to discuss concerns facing Upstate, as well as ways the new Senate Majority can work with local leaders to spur economic revitalization. The visit comes less than 48 hours after Smith was elected as the new Senate Majority Leader, the first Democrat to hold that position in 43 years.
The change in leadership also means that Stachowski and Thompson will now lead powerful committees and be able to steer legislation that will benefit Western New York and all of Upstate.
At the meeting, the officials spoke about the Senate Majority's commitment to Upstate New York, and discussed ways to work together to grow the Upstate economy and revitalize cities like Buffalo so they can once again be the economic engines of Upstate New York.
"Revitalizing the Upstate economy is a top priority of the new Majority and has been the mission of Mayor Brown's administration," said Senator Smith. "Senate Democrats are committed to working with local leaders to develop a thoughtful plan to get our economy back on track through job creation and economic development. We must attract businesses, improve economic opportunities for working families and keep our children in the communities in which they grew up by making good paying jobs available to them after they graduate from college," said Smith.
Among the economic development proposals discussed were:
Utilizing the many natural advantages of Upstate, such as open space, diverse agriculture, and waterways to expand and develop new alternative energies and secure Upstate as the green energy jobs and technology hub of the Northeast.
Constructing high speed rail that would better connect urban and rural communities and foster increased trade.
Retrofitting existing manufacturing companies to meet the needs of future technology to prevent a further loss of jobs.
Linking rural agriculture with city consumers and promoting New York produced and built products in neighboring states.
Cleaning up brownfields to get these properties back on the tax rolls and available for business.
Mayor Brown said, "We have achieved significant progress in Buffalo over the past three years, and now that we have strong voices like Senators Stachowski and Thompson able to lead legislation and initiatives through the State Senate , we look forward to their ability to breathe new life into many of our initiatives. Economic growth and a revitalized, 21st Century economy are top priorities of my Administration and I look forward to partnering with the new Senate Majority, as well as Governor Paterson and the Assembly Majority to continue the great progress that is taking place in Buffalo."
Senator Stachowski, Chairman of the Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee said, "It is a new State Senate, and we will hold Albany accountable to the residents of Western New York. People have talked for years about economic growth even as our economy was hemorrhaging. As the new Chairman of a powerful committee that has particular importance to Buffalo's economic growth, I am optimistic as we partner with Mayor Brown and other local leaders to deliver results."
Senator Thompson, Chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee said, "I am very excited and honored to be part of the new Democratic Majority in the New York State Senate. Being a part of the majority will enable me to advocate for all issues facing Western New York, especially environmental issues as the chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee."
"The residents of Buffalo, Utica, Massena and every city, town and village in between deserve an economy that works for them. My colleagues and I are committed to doing that," concluded Senator Smith.