Central New York’s business and economic development agency is starting a new chamber of commerce for minority-run companies.

According to CenterState CEO, the black and Latino communities in New York have $170 billion in buying power. That’s why, it says, it’s forming the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, the only one in the region.

The news was announced at CenterState’s annual meeting. Edward Cuello will lead the new Upstate MEA. He says its mission will be to harness the minority community’s business and buying power.

The city of Syracuse has joined the federal government in a legal motion that could end up changing the civil service tests that are the baseline for hiring police and firefighters across the state.

The newly-formed coalition of Republicans and Democrats, who will run the New York state Senate for the new term starting in January, made their first public appearance. They responded to criticism that the new majority coalition leaves out blacks and Hispanics. 

The new governing coalition of the New York state Senate has received some criticism that it is leaving out minorities. But one of the two co-leaders of the Senate is defending the coalition, which includes five Independent Democrats and 30 Republicans.