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CEO FOCUS: As Governor, Hochul Will Unite & Lead

By Robert M. Simpson


State’s new leader has strong regional knowledge

After an unprecedented year of challenges, our state and region are poised for a needed and significant resurgence. Distractions mean lost time, and lost time means lost opportunity. The important work of this state must continue now, without disruption, under new leadership so that we can focus on a stronger future. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is the right person to lead our state in this moment and brings a deep and personal understanding of upstate New York’s unique challenges and opportunities.

As a graduate of Syracuse University, she has lived in this community and shares a connection to those who call Central New York home. As the lieutenant governor, she has spent a significant amount of time here talking with business and community leaders, seeking to learn firsthand about how state government can support their efforts. Through the regional economic-development council process, she has crisscrossed our region, visiting projects and engaging with the people leading programs to see the impact of the state’s investment, and learning what more could be done to further accelerate progress.

Hochul was among the first state leaders to tour downtown Syracuse last summer to talk with small-business owners and learn about their challenges as the local economy reopened. She spent time with these individuals, showing not only that she cared, but also that she understood the issues they faced. Her boots-on-the-ground approach to governing enabled Hochul to recognize there was a more strategic and bigger role the state needed to play in driving resources and solutions.

It’s an approach we saw earlier this spring, when she spent time at The Tech Garden meeting teams of entrepreneurs and engaging with them to learn about the exciting innovation and small business activities that are driving new opportunities in the region. Hochul talked about the state’s investments in programs like GENIUS NY, which are attracting and growing new industries and technologies, right here in Syracuse. She walked away with a better understanding of the importance of targeting investments and continuing to support innovation to create jobs and a stronger economy.

For the first time in a century, our region will have a governor that is an upstate resident. As lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul has spent time in our region’s small and midsized communities meeting people where they are and discovering what they need to thrive and prosper. I believe her experience, knowledge, and vision will unite us at this critical time. I wish her the best and look forward to continuing our partnership with her as she assumes this new role.        

Robert M. Simpson is president and CEO of CenterState CEO, the primary economic-development organization for Central New York. This article is drawn and edited from the “CEO Focus” email newsletter that the organization sent to members on Aug. 12.

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