Westmoreland students attend legislative session

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WESTMORELAND — With the help of the Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley and Westmoreland Junior-Senior High School’s College & Career Enrichment Program, several students had the opportunity to hear directly from several of the region’s elected officials on Jan. 25. 

Six students, Tyler Beaupre (senior), Angelina Deveans (senior), Ashley Murphy (senior), Makenna Stiles (senior), JoVonna Walseman (senior) and Joyce Pilbeam (junior), attended the 14th annual Community & Legislative Forum hosted by the Genesis Group at Hart’s Hill Inn, in Whitesboro.

The forum’s panel featured Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica; State Senator Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome; State Senator James Seward, State Assemblyman Brian Miller, State Assemblyman Robert Smullen, State Assemblywoman Dr. Marianne Buttenschon, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., Herkimer County Chairman Bernie Peplinski, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri and Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo. The event’s moderator, Gary Liberatore of WKTV NEWSChannel 2, asked the elected officials several, pre-submitted questions about the state of the region, legislative initiatives and on-going and future projects. Discussion centered around the Upstate economy, federal government shutdown and the Mohawk Valley Health System’s new hospital being constructed in Downtown Utica.

Seniors Stiles and Deveans both said the experience was rewarding.

“I learned a lot about how government and politics works, and some of what goes into addressing an issue,” Deveans, who takes Participation in Government, said.

“The morning was amazing, and I enjoyed seeing and speaking with Congressman Anthony Brindisi,” Stiles added.

Junior Joyce Pilbeam said she also took a lot away from the experience. “It was nice to be able to hear our leaders address a variety of questions about important issues affecting all of us,” Pilbeam said.

The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley Region is a civic organization that unites business and community leaders working to advance regional economic, social and cultural interests, and to foster unity and cooperation in the Mohawk Valley region of Upstate New York.

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