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Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin Delivers 4th State Of The County Address

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin
WAMC File Photo
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin gave his State of the County address Tuesday night as he gears up for a re-election bid.

McLaughlin opened his fourth State of the County address with a nod to the pandemic, saying it presented unprecedented challenges.

“Last year, I stood before you and discussed our strong record of accomplishments, I laid out a vision for the future of our great county. About a year ago tonight, so much of our mission changed, we confronted an illness that was strange and scary, and at that time, largely a mystery to science and medicine. “

As part of the virtual address, the bombastic Republican took credit for defying Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration’s March 25th, 2020 order requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients while forbidding incoming residents from being tested.

"Imagine what could have happened if we had followed the governor's order."

“Imagine what could have happened if we had followed the governor's order. In fact, you don't have to imagine, because we saw it play out and other nursing homes around the state. And experts now say that 15,000 seniors died in nursing homes in New York still, but not here. Not on my watch.”

McLaughlin said even after COVID-19 the state of the county is strong and "is set on a course for greatness."

“For the first month of this year, Rensselaer County led not only the region, but the entire state of New York in sales tax revenue growth, just as we did for the year 2019. Pretty amazing, just a little side note that we were up 13% in the month of January, surrounding counties were down anywhere between 6 and 7, on average, the state was down overall at least 6%. So there's about a 20% gap between this county and other counties around the area. Pretty amazing, and a credit to the people of this county. We are perhaps the only county in the state with a 100% rate of delivery for our vaccinations, and we are being recognized as correct in our decision making during the pandemic, particularly regarding the nursing home. “

McLaughlin noted that Rensselaer County is in line to receive $31 million dollars in the $1.9 trillion dollar federal spending package.

“The exact uses and requirements for the funding have yet to be expanded in detail. However, if approved, I would expect to come back and address the full body and the residents of Rensselaer County separately at some point in the spring. I would expect to also seek and receive input from business, community and education leaders on how to use this money.”

McLaughlin said more a thousand new jobs have been created, led by the Amazon outlet in Schodack.

“Our county continues to position itself for future job growth and investment. Again, I know three consecutive budgets and three tax decreases and earning unanimous support from all of you folks. Rensselaer County is also one of the very few counties in the state to have been under the tax cap every year since the tax cap’s Inception over a decade ago.”

McLaughlin says the county's new fire training complex will open this year after being delayed by the pandemic. He adds road-paving, broadband and other infrastructure initiatives continue while a new project on tap for the port of Rensselaer is expected to create additional jobs.

Days before McLaughlin’s address, Democrat Gwen Wright launched a bid for county executive.

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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