Officials gather in Utica for Regener8 Cities listening tour

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UTICA — Sen. Jeremy Cooney, D-Rochester, met in Utica on Friday with local elected and officials as well as business community members in a continuation of his Regener8 Cities listening tour, an initiative of the Cities II Committee.

Utica’s panel included Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-47, Rome, the ranking member of the Cities II Committee; Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri; Chamber of Commerce Chair of Government Affairs and Economic Development Council Pat Becher; Mohawk Valley EDGE Vice President Jennifer Waters; and others.

Cooney said the bipartisan “Regener8 Cities” tour focuses on the experiences of families, educators, business leaders, and municipal officials in eight cities: Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Yonkers, Rochester, Utica, Binghamton, and Plattsburgh, with the purpose of identifying policy solutions to systemic issues that face families in eight of the largest cities in the state outside of New York City. 

“Small cities like Utica and Rome are so essential to who we are as a state,” Griffo said.

Cooney said that after the conclusion of the tour, there will be public hearings and solution driven legislative proposals will be crafted.

Palmieri and Cooney said that among the common threads among regions across upstate New York have been workforce retention issues such as training, transportation and childcare availability.

“It is imperative that we are sensitive to the challenges and issues confronting small cities and that we commit the proper resources to assist them, especially post-pandemic. While listening sessions such as this are good, action is what is needed and must follow these discussions,” Griffo said in a statement following the event.

“...Just like there are common issues between the five boroughs, there are shared goals and challenges across the eight largest cities outside of NYC...” Cooney said in a portion of a statement.

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