Read the latest edition of "Rural Futures"

Thomas F. O'Mara

July 18, 2012

Albany, N.Y., July 18—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), who serves as one of 10 state legislators on the joint, 10-member bipartisan  Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, said today that the commission has recently published its Summer 2012 edition of Rural Futures.

O'Mara said that the commission periodically publishes Rural Futures as an informative roundup of rural affairs in New York and nationally, including updates on legislative efforts and initiatives in rural communities, as well as summaries for rural leaders and officials on grants, publications, useful websites and upcoming events.

The current Summer 2012 issue includes updates on:

-- the Commission’s efforts to expand the availability and implementation of telemedicine services statewide, which is viewed as an important initiative to enhance access to quality health care across upstate, rural regions in the 21st century;

-- the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “County Health Rankings &  Roadmaps” program;

--  the armyworm invasion that’s plaguing farmers and destroying field crops in regions throughout New York; and

-- the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, which is accepting applications through September 30, 2012 to distribute $79 million in loans and $10 million in grants to promote economic development, job creation, business expansion and public infrastructure improvements in rural areas.

"This edition of 'Rural Futures' is full of rural affairs news, information and updates," said O'Mara, whose 53rd Senate District is comprised of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates counties, and a portion of Tompkins County.   "It’s a valuable resource for local officials and concerned citizens looking to stay updated on the commission’s work and other state and national rural affairs initiatives.  It’s also an important tool for the commission to keep raising awareness of many of the short- and long-term challenges facing New York’s rural communities and regions.  The commission has long been noted as a voice of rural New York within the state Legislature. ”

O’Mara’s was appointed to the commission in 2011.  Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-Ithaca) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C-Corning) are also members of the commission, which is currently chaired by western New York Senator Catharine Young (R-Olean).

The commission, commonly known as the Rural Resources Commission, was established by the Legislature three decades ago in 1982.  It was established to examine the impact of rural communities and industries on the state economy; review existing state laws and regulations impacting rural regions; assess the effectiveness of state programs and services affecting the needs and problems of rural areas; and develop recommendations for the Legislature to enhance and protect New York’s rural resources.  It’s comprised of 10 members – five from the Assembly, and five senators.   

Approximately 44 of New York’s 62 counties are designated as rural, including all of the counties O’Mara represents, and the Commission has worked on a range of issues including agriculture, economic development, universal broadband, education, land use, transportation, local government structure and functions, volunteer recruitment and retention, and health care.

Read the latest Rural Futures here...