Some Mohawk Valley lawmakers are trying to form a bipartisan alliance to more effectively advocate for their region in the state legislature.
Utica Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi says he already talks with his Republican Mohawk Valley colleague, Sen. Joe Griffo, on a daily basis. Now he wants to expand those powwows to other representatives from counties like Oneida and Herkimer. He says this informal Mohawk Valley coalition would model itself after other regional alliances.
"It’s going to be very similar to other delegations that meet as a group, whether it’s in western New York or in some of the boroughs in the New York city area," Brindisi said. "The idea is to talk about local issues with other members that represent the counties in the Mohawk Valley area to try and advocate together for issues that we have common concern over and just stay abreast of different things happening in the region so we can work together as a team."
The call for a Mohawk Valley alliance comes at a time when there's a lot on the table for the region. The proposed state budget includes nearly $1 billion for a new downtown Utica hospital and the nanotechnology center in Marcy. That project has stalled as state and local leaders work to replace the Austrian company that pulled out of the development late last year.
Brindisi has been trying unsuccessfully to get Gov. Andrew Cuomo to visit the nano center to reaffirm his commitment. A chorus of Mohawk Valley legislators, Brindisi says, might be more attention grabbing.
"Every legislator in our region has an interest in making sure that money stays in our area and those projects move forward," Brindisi said. "Whether it has to do with nanotechnology or other projects, the more of us working together and speaking as once voice, the greater chances we’re going to be able to bring attention to this area from Albany," Brindisi said.
There are about a dozen state legislators who represent the Mohawk Valley, the vast majority of whom are Republican.