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New State Council To Grow Mid-Hudson Economy

State officials got together last week, including Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R, C – Goldens Bridge) of the 89th Assembly District, which includes Pound Ridge and Lewisboro, to launch a new organization aimed at spurring economic growth in the mid-Hudson region.

Castelli was joined by Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy and other local officials, business leaders, and community members to launch the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council at SUNY New Paltz.

The Council, originally proposed by Governor Cuomo and adopted in the 2011 Executive Budget passed by the legislature, is charged with redesigning the relationship between the state government and businesses to stimulate regional economic development and create jobs statewide.

“This is an important step in revitalizing New York,” Castelli said. “We want to be once again known as the Empire State, where people wish to come and do business.”

The Mid-Hudson Regional Council will be led by Dennis Murray, President of Marist College, and Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, president and CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., who will both serve as regional co-chairs.

The Regional Council will coordinate the economic development of Westchester County, as well as Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, and Ulster counties.

“By using a regional approach to economic development, businesses and communities in the Hudson Valley will have the ability to deal with the specific economic challenges they face,” Cuomo said. “For too long, economic development efforts have not met the individual needs of New York's diverse regions and today we have chartered a new path to create jobs and revitalize this state's economy.

Cuomo said that the creation of the Regional Councils represent a fundamental shift in the state’s approach to economic development, from a top-down development model to a community-based approach that emphasizes regions’ unique assets, harnesses local expertise, and empowers each region to set plans and priorities.

Currently, New York State’s economic development efforts are managed through dozens of separate state and local agencies. The Regional Councils will now bring together stakeholders in every region of the state to serve as a coordinated point of contact for economic development.

Each Regional Council will be chaired by Lt. Governor Duffy and will be led by two Regional Co-Chairs from the business and academic community. Additional membership is comprised of local leaders from business, academia, labor, agriculture, nonprofits, and community-based organizations. Each Regional Council will develop a plan for the development of their region.

The state will work with the Regional Councils to align state resources and policies, eliminate unnecessary barriers to growth and prosperity, and streamline delivery of government services and programs.

“These councils are a groundbreaking economic development strategy that represents a major step toward new job creation and business investment in New York,” Duffy said. “The Regional Councils take a local approach to economic growth and put our state on the path to future prosperity.”

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