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Albany County Executive McCoy Delivers 'State Of The County' Address

Composite photo by Dave Lucas / WAMC

Albany County is strong, leading all New York counties when it comes to innovation and development. That’s according to County Executive Dan McCoy, who delivered his State of the County address Thursday night.

Before an enthusiastic crowd of supporters packing the Times Union Center Atrium, McCoy rattled off a list of achievements and milestones including stabilization of county finances, continued improvements at the county nursing home, green energy and raise the age initiatives along with programs dealing with equitable education, mental health and indigent defense. The Democrat touched on how #MeToo impacted the region.    "For many, 2018 will be remembered as the year of the woman, defined by historical political victory and by the #MeToo movement that fueled a revolution around the globe for women's rights. In Albany County, at the forefront, has been our Crime Victims Sexual Violence Center. The center continues to be a regional, state and national leader in the support of women, particularly those who have been victims of sexual and domestic violence."

Combatting opioid addiction is perhaps highest on McCoy's list: he announced new policies to expand the county's lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturers and redouble efforts to provide child and maternal health services to improve educational outcomes.    "As president of the county executives of America an co-chair of this Opiate Task Force, I've made the Opiate Crisis our number one priority. As president of the County Executives Association of NYPAC I've done the same on the state level. I'm pleased that my leadership role in both these organizations has allowed me to share with other county executives initiatives we have implemented here in Albany County. Initiatives that are now being used by counties across the state and nation. Additionally, I have been able to learn what is working in other communities I can implement here in Albany County. Once such initiative that we'll be introducing in the coming weeks is from Dayton, Ohio. An initiative called GROW. Getting Recovery Options Working."

McCoy says he'll use the Albany County Mobile Crisis Team to provide overdose victims with treatment opportunities, ongoing support and peer-to-peer counseling. The program also includes prevention screening and intervention training for physicians, school nurses, coaches and others in regular contact with at-risk youth.

McCoy unveiled a new plan to keep young people out of the juvenile justice system.   "I'm announcing a new initiative, modeled after King County, Washington, that will be a roadmap to zero youth detention. Research shows that youth have a better chance at a positive adulthood when they don't interact with the juvenile legal system in the first place. Like King County, we too will take a public health approach to juvenile detention to advance this goal."

Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce likes McCoy's focus on people.  "As an elected official, as a public servant, even as a Democrat, it's really what we do best, is when we focus on the individual and we look at solutions and ways to solve problems for the individual and for real people. And that's what struck me most about this State of the County address, was, kind of a blueprint for how we help people of Albany County, directly."

Speaking to reporters afterward, McCoy noted his proudest accomplishment has been changing the way services are delivered to county residents.     "We need to change with the times. We need to engage differently to our youth, seniors and to everyone that says 'hey look if these services that used to work for 50 years or a hundred don't work anymore,' some do some don't. And that to me I take the most pride in. All the new initiatives that have not only been recognized on a national level but from Harvard and other great organizations."

LISTEN to the State of the County address in its entirety.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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