Maffei listening tour focuses on area businesses

Jan 18, 2013

Syracuse-area Rep. Dan Maffei is getting reacquainted with central New York voters. The first of a series of listening tours this week focused on business in the new 24th Congressional District.

Maffei, who returned to Congress this month after a two-year absence, sees a difference in the businesses he talks with this time around, calling the business community more focused.

"There's a general agreement as to where central New York needs to be headed, and what our challenges are in meeting additional infrastructure, and investment there; making sure we keep a top-notch work force; that we have good workers and we need to keep them; and finding additional capital investment," said Maffei.

Among those speaking up at today's listening session in Syracuse was Allen Naples, the regional president of M&T Bank. He says there is money out there to be invested in central New York, but what's holding investors back, is bickering in Washington over the economic issues of the day.

"They're not willing to invest it because of the uncertainty as to where the economy is going to go because of indecision in Washington," said Naples.    

Naples says the three critical areas that have dampened business investment are the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling debate, and the impact of the Affordable Care Act.

The Democrat Maffei says he recognizes business is looking for an ear in Washington.

"A lot of them contacted me around the campaign and said 'Gee, Dan, there's a lot of stuff that we think could be done that doesn't involve big government, that just involves business and government cooperating.' So I already knew that there were ideas and such like that they they've already got," said the congressman.

Maffei says he's focusing on business in this first listening tour because of the importance of jobs to the district.