U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited with community leaders in Queensbury, New York, today to hear from local officials their economic development needs.
On the campus of SUNY Adirondack, New York’s junior senator met with leaders of the business community and public officials from Warren, Washington, and Northern Saratoga counties.
Ed Bartholomew, president of EDC Warren County, addressed the upcoming closure of General Electric’s capacitor manufacturing plant in Fort Edward…
"With the loss of 200 jobs by General Electric in January of this coming year in Fort Edward/Washington County we would ask collectively consideration be given that following remediation by General Electric that the property be transferred to a third party so economic development can be taken throughout Washington and Warren County in that area," said Bartholomew.
Bartholomew also stressed the need for support for retiring farmers, and federal assistance in helping farmers develop and market specialty crops. Gillibrand sits on the Senate Agricultural Committee.
Brought up frequently during the meeting was the need for more funding for infrastructure improvements.
Queensbury town supervisor John Slough said as communities are seeking to attract new businesses, the common problem of aging infrastructure often deters interest.
"There's a lot of business that come to the area and come to our industrial parks that say 'no, we're not going to come here because you don't have the infrastructure,'" said Slough. "So we need some financial help to do that. This is a big cost, and too much of a cost for the local municipalities to maintain."
Peter Aust, president and CEO of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce, reiterated communities’ need for more federal aid in assisting with infrastructure upgrades in order to attract new business.
"Sewer and water, those types of projects need to be funded because local taxpayers cannot bear the burdens of those projects and so the Federal government through the state government can help support the funding of those projects," said Aust.
In a changing health care environment, Mitch Amado, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Glens Falls Hospital, spoke with Gillibrand about the need for federal aid help to establish new educational opportunities to train staff in skilled positions.
"Any types of educational grants that we can work in collaboration with the colleges to help retrain folks in technology and some healthcare related jobs would be very good," said Amado.
At the conclusion of the meeting the Senator thanked those who attended .
"I am here to serve you so we will work together to try to accomplish all the goals that we talked about today," said Gillibrand.