Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to an invitation-only audience during his visit to Clarkson University.
By CRAIG FREILICH
POTSDAM – Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to Clarkson University’s Alumni Gym today to recapitulate, with a North Country emphasis, the state-of-the-state and budget messages he announced in Albany last month.
In a well-structured presentation with slides and a fair amount of humor, Cuomo discussed his gun control measures, school aid, and his economic initiatives. He told the capacity crowd he hopes the legislature will work out the next state budget, not with politicians leading the people but the other way around.
"I believe ultimately the legislators will follow the people," so he has sent staff to help explain his plans at meetings in several regions of the state, today explaining it himself to a crowd of North Country people, including educators, business people, and a large contingent of students.
He said the main points of his plan all related to "jobs, education, fiscal integrity and discipline, and progress."
He said that the "obstructionist culture is gone" from Albany, and that "government can be entrepreneurial."
He spoke about the relationships between government, education and business, and how technology transfer can draw more investment to the state – an area in which he says New York is lagging behind California.
He said his administration is promoting “innovation hot spots,” along the lines of what Clarkson has been doing, to promote entrepreneurship and bring some of the research with business potential that schools are doing to market.
He said he would like to see reform of workforce training, identifying employers, jobs, the required skill sets, and training people based on those factors.
Tourism promotion based on regional rather than county efforts would be more effective, he said, and he is asking the legislature to put up $5 million for an advertising competition among tourism organizations.
While talking of paying for schools to extend their school days and school years, he made no particular statement about what many in the North Country see as inequitable funding for rural schools.
He defended the gun control legislation that has been approved and is in effect – limiting the availability of high-capacity ammunition clips, for example – by saying that he respects the rights of gun owners, being one himself, but stressing that weapons must be managed by “reasonable, balanced, measured” regulation.
Cuomo said he was happy to be back in the North Country, where he said he frequently comes to "get a sense of peace."
His talked followed a welcome from Clarkson President Tony Collins, which included praise for the governor's regional approach to economic development. The governor returned the compliment, praising Collins's "leadership and guidance" which he said were helpful to his administration.
Since his formal presentations last month in Albany, Cuomo’s staff has followed up with regional presentations, such as the one given by Deputy Secretary of State and former Gouverneur Mayor Dede Scozzafava in Ticonderoga last week.