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Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy and Binghamton University President C. Peter Magrath talk with Barbara Fiala, state Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner, following the launch of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council in the Mandela Room on July 27.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Magrath named to Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council
July 27, 2011Tweet
Binghamton University President C. Peter Magrath will serve as a member of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, one of 10 groups designed to stimulate economic development and create jobs in the state.
The Southern Tier council, which includes membership for the sitting Binghamton University president, was launched July 27 in the Mandela Room at an event that featured Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy and University, business, political and community leaders.
“It’s an honor that Binghamton University can help launch this regional council,” Magrath said. “One of the many, many things that Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Duffy really understand and promote is that everyone must work together if we are serious about economic development and jobs. And that includes higher education: We are a key player in getting this done.
“I – and everybody who is going to be involved in the regional councils – look forward to working on this cause of productive action that will be good for economic development in the Southern Tier and the state of New York,” added Magrath, whom Duffy called “a great leader who understands economic development.”
Cornell University President David Skorton and Corning Enterprises President/CEO Tom Tranter will lead the Southern Tier council. Skorton and Tranter will serve as co-chairs of the council, which will coordinate the economic development of Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins counties.
Each regional council will be chaired by Duffy and led by the co-chairs. Other council members come from business, academia, labor, agriculture, nonprofits and community-based organizations.
Duffy said the councils are a shift in the state’s approach to economic development, and now emphasize the regions’ strengths and expertise, while allowing council members to set priorities.
“This state is changing,” he said. “Gov. Cuomo has set the table for what we are talking about today. He has put a shot of confidence into the state. It’s now up to everyone across the state – each individual region – to take the ball and run with it. … The work starts today.”
Each council will develop a five-year strategic plan for the development of its region. Through a new Consolidated Funding Application that combines resources from dozens of existing programs, the councils can apply for $1 billion in state funding for projects in their strategic plans. Applications are due in November, with funding decisions coming in December, Duffy said.
In the meantime, Duffy plans to attend every meeting of all 10 councils. In September, the state government will play host to an economic-development meeting in which councils can receive application assistance and advice from economic experts.
“It will be a session in which every area of the state comes together and all of the councils come together,” Duffy said. “There will be networking, relationship-building and, most importantly, the offer of additional resources.”
Duffy emphasized that requests for state funding will not become an upstate vs. downstate competition.
“While upstate New York may have less population, there is no difference in brain power, talent or work force,” said Duffy, who served as Rochester’s mayor from 2006 until the end of 2010. “One thing the governor has tried hard not to do is split the state (between upstate and downstate). This is a regional approach. … The governor wants to bring the state together.”
Duffy told the crowd that now is “the chance of a lifetime” to revitalize New York.
“Each area of the state has so much to offer,” he said. “There are so many strengths. There’s no doubt in my mind that if we work together as a team and work hard, we can have a transformation (of the economy.)”