O'Mara: Region must 'stand out' in competition for state economic development resources

Thomas F. O'Mara

July 27, 2011

Elmira, N.Y., July 27—Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s unveiling earlier today of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) expressed confidence that a region-wide team of business, community and economic development leaders will help the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions succeed in this new state-level competition for economic development resources.

Cuomo and key members of his administration have been on a statewide tour this week to announce the members of 10 regional economic development councils created by the governor and the Legislature as part of the 2011-2012 state budget.  The new councils are aimed at putting in place a more locally based approach for distributing upwards of $1 billion in state economic development aid.  They will guide the development of local economic development strategies that will compete for state assistance.

Most of the counties in O’Mara’s 53rd Senate District – Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Tompkins – fall under the Southern Tier Regional Council, which Cuomo unveiled today at Binghamton University.  The Southern Tier council will be chaired by Cornell University President David Skorton and Thomas Tranter, President of Corning Enterprises.

Yates County, the remaining county in O’Mara’s district, falls under the Finger Lakes Regional Council announced yesterday in Rochester by the governor.

O’Mara expressed confidence that the region’s leaders will be successful.

“One of our strongest assets has always been a first-class corps of economic development experts who year in and year out have consistently done outstanding work to help Chemung, Steuben, and other area counties join the fierce competition for jobs and other economic opportunities.  But the economic climate has never been tougher and now we have to raise the bar even higher to help our region stand out in this new state-level competition to build a better business climate.  I’m confident we will,” said O’Mara, who’s serving his first term in the Senate.

He said that he’ll be joining local business, community and economic development officials to help suggest plans and strategies to strengthen the region’s economic competitiveness. 

“We’ll all be working closely together to do anything and everything possible to ensure that our region stands out in this competition for the state resources that can help create jobs and other economic opportunities for our employers, and our region’s workers and their families,” said O’Mara.

O’Mara reminded local leaders that the following new state website’s been launched as part of the effort: Open for Business.  The site includes a Regional Council Guidebook providing more detailed information on the overall effort for local officials and business leaders, as well as a place to submit suggestions online.