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Bill Owens: Upstate New York A Millennial Destination

  The cities of Plattsburgh, Ogdensburg, Watertown, Saranac Lake, Malone, Potsdam, and Glens Falls in the North Country have all recently received accolades as places where people want to live as well as start and grow their businesses, all located in my old Congressional District.

Site Selection Magazine in March of this year chose Plattsburgh and Ogdensburg for corporate expansion while Niche.com selected the top ten best towns in New York to live for millennials including Watertown, Ogdensburg, Saranac Lake, Malone, Potsdam, and Plattsburgh.

Foreign and Direct Investment Magazine or fDi Magazine published by the Financial Times of London, has ranked Plattsburgh as the No. 2 micro-American city of the future.

Nerdwallet, Inc. rated Watertown and Glens Falls in the top 10 places to start a business in New York State.

What does this mean for the North Country?  In contrast to the recent media feeding frenzy that occurred around the two escapees from Dannemora with sometimes sarcastic and demeaning commentary from the national media, these four publications are accentuating the positive.

The selection of sites in upstate New York as optimum places to live and work came as no surprise to me and I hope not to you either.  Why have we popped up on so many peoples radar?  I suspect our geography and lifestyle are big contributors but it is most likely the hard work of the people in these communities.  It has not always been easy in upstate New York during the last fifty or so years to generate good jobs and a strong economy.

There is no doubt that the quality of life is superior to many places in our country, even though it is a bit cold, and sometimes prisoners escape.  We have the Adirondack forest and numerous lakes for hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, horseback riding, kayaking, canoeing, motor boating, and sailing. Whatever kind of recreation you want, you can find where we live.  The geography of our region, bordering the St. Lawrence Seaway and Lake Champlain, within the day’s truck drive of 25 to 30 million people makes us a prime location for businesses, particularly those from Canada, who in many instances are an hour or less to a US location.                   

The colleges, universities, community colleges and tech programs have been instrumental in creating a superb workforce.  In addition The Manufacturing Institute, Plattsburgh Aeronautical Institute, the P-Tec Program, programs run in the school systems by CV-TEC, the certificate programs offered by SUNY Canton and our Community Colleges all contribute to providing workers to the pipeline.

Maybe the most important contribution that we all can make is demonstrated by being willing to accept our Canadian friends and hopefully others who come here to make investments and employ us.

The North Country Chamber of Commerce in concert with its neighbors in the adjoining Counties, New York State through ESDC, all play a vital role in supporting and making this area a place where people want to work and make their home.

Mr. Owens is a former member of Congress representing the New York 23rd, a Strategic Advisor at Dentons out of its Washington DC office, and a partner in the firm of Stafford, Owens, Piller, Murnane, Kelleher & Trombley, PLLC, in Plattsburgh New York.  Mr. Owens is available to consult on U.S./Canadian trade, as well as to provide legal advice and assistance.

Former congressman Bill Owens represented New York's North Country from 2009 until retiring from the House in 2015. The Democrat is now a strategic advisor in the Washington Office of McKenna, Long and Aldridge, and a partner in the Plattsburgh firm of Stafford, Owens, Piller, Murnane, Kelleher and Trombly.

 The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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