Senate Majority Conference Leaders Hold Upstate Summit on Economic Development

SYRACUSE (October 26, 2009)—The Senate Majority Upstate Caucus today hosted Senate leadership for the first day of a two day summit to address the
economic development needs of Upstate New York. Senate President Malcolm A.
Smith and Conference Leader John Sampson joined the Upstate Caucus to meet
with economic development officials and businesses throughout the day.
The lawmakers attended an agribusiness forum at Wegman’s regional offices
in Liverpool and a roundtable discussion with businesses and officials at
the Metropolitan Development Association offices in Syracuse.
“In these difficult economic times, it is critical that we remain focused
on economic development as a means to grow the economy and truly emerge
from this fiscal crisis,” said Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, chair of the
Senate Majority’s Upstate Caucus. “Upstate New York must play a central
role, be it through agriculture, energy, the new green economy, tourism or
any of the many industries we have here with the potential to grow. Through
these discussions, we are keeping Upstate New York at the top of our
priorities in the Senate.”
“In order for all parts of the state to thrive, we must ensure that
businesses across the state are provided with the necessary resources so
that New York can revitalize and strengthen its economy,” said Senate
President Malcolm A. Smith. “The conversations taking place today and
tomorrow in Syracuse will allow us to obtain a firsthand perspective on the
issues impacting agriculture, small businesses, travel and tourism upstate,
so that we can take this information back to Albany and begin to make real
changes for the people of New York. We expect the Upstate Caucus to help
drive the agenda for the New York State Senate in 2009-10 and it is
critical to us because of the challenges we face."
“The agriculture sector has been the source of billions of dollars in
revenue to the state and these roundtable discussions will begin the much
needed dialogue to create new jobs and boost the state’s economy,” said
Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson. “In light of the crisis
on Wall Street and one of the largest budget deficits since the Great
Depression, it is essential to identify alternative sources of income to
ensure New York remains the financial capital of the world.”
“We are working to develop new strategies to help improve the profitability
of our local agricultural community,” said Senator William T. Stachowski,
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and
Small Business.  “The Upstate Caucus has brought farmers and expert
business counselors together in a way that will create more successful
opportunities for farmers and area agriculture-based businesses and help
broaden the economic base of Upstate in general.  We must do
everything possible  to make it easier for our farming communities to
thrive in New York.  They are truly the key to the health of our economy.”

Senator Neil Breslin said, "New York State is blessed with land to be used
for agribusiness and wind energy and some of the best colleges and
universities in the country. We have attracted biotech companies and
'green' businesses alike. The ideas and suggestions discussed at the
roundtable meetings were invaluable and the future of Upstate economic
development encouraging."
“Upstate New York's strengths in agriculture, green technology, higher
education and manufacturing will play a large role in moving he entire
state out of recession,” said Senator David J. Valesky. “The meetings we
are conducting this week underscore the Senate's commitment to continued
investment in economic development and job creation in the region.”
"I am confident that today's meetings continue to reaffirm our commitment
to Upstate New York's economic development,” said Senator Antoine Thompson.
“Partnership with and input from the private sector is critical to
comprehensively streamlining and reforming existing economic development
programs that we hope will yield benefits upstate."
“I am pleased to work with my colleagues in the Senate Majority to place
upstate and suburban communities as a top priority on our agenda,” said
Senator Brian X. Foley of Blue Point on Long Island. “From legislative
action to economic development programs, we are fully committed to helping
working-families throughout the state prosper, with a sharp focus on
boosting commerce and investment in upstate and suburban portions of the
state,” said Foley, who participated  in the Upstate Caucus Summit, in
light of his work on issues affecting residents outside New York City.
At the Agribusiness in Upstate Roundtable, lawmakers discussed the
strengths and successes of the Upstate Region in the agribusiness sector,
opportunities to grow and build on innovative practices and programs in the
“Agriculture is our number one industry in New York State and must be at
the forefront of our conversations on economic development,” said Sen.
Aubertine, who is also chair of the Senate Agriculture and the Senate
Energy and Telecommunications committees . “As we work to help our dairy
farmers in the current crisis and protect the infrastructure that supports
all agricultural businesses, it is important we work to build for the
future in a variety of agricultural industries.”
The roundtable featured Jim Bedient, a Yates County grape grower, Tim
Harner, general counsel for the Upstate Niagara Cooperative, David McClurg,
vice president of marketing for the New York Apple Association, Paul
Speranza, vice president and general counsel of Wegman’s, Julie Suarez,
director of public policy for the New York Farm Bureau, and Jim Trezise,
president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation.
At the Economic Growth and Development In Upstate Roundtable lawmakers
discussed innovative economic development efforts and methods New York can
use to improve new York’s economic development programming.
The roundtable featured Steve Dimeo, president Mohawk Valley EDGE, Garry
Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce in Plattsburgh,
David Griggs, director of business development for Buffalo Niagara
Enterprise, Matt Hurlbutt, managing director of business development for
Greater Rochester Enterprise, Brian McMahon, president of New York Economic
Development Council, Ken Pokalsky, senior director of government affairs
for the Business Council of New York State, Robert Simpson, president of
the Metropolitan Development Association, Michael Tucker, president of the
Center for Economic Growth, Craig Turner, senior director of public policy
of the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership, and Ben Walsh, executive director of
the New York State Urban Council and director of urban initiatives for the
Metropolitan Development Association.
The two day summit will include events tomorrow centered on Tourism and
Economic Activity in Upstate, at Dinosaur BBQ and Tourism and Economic
Activity in Upstate, as well as a tour of the Carmello K. Anthony
Basketball Center at the Manley Field House.