Most Capital Region legislators find at least one thing to like in Hochul speech

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers her first State of the State address in the Assembly Chamber at the state Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Albany, N.Y. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers her first State of the State address in the Assembly Chamber at the state Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Albany, N.Y. 

ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul’s first State of the State Address was as far-reaching and ambitious as those offered by her predecessors.

She mentioned a few initiatives specific to the Capital Region, including revitalizing the University at Albany into a nation-leading research and teaching facility with $500 million in annual research funding and building an offshore wind power industry that will have a key manufacturing facility in the Port of Albany.

But much of the agenda Hochul outlined is broader policy and program changes that address issues facing the entire state.

Reaction to her State of the State on Wednesday was prompt and varied, but two common threads quickly emerged: Almost everyone found something to like, or at least something positive to say, and almost everyone wanted to hear more.

“The devil is in the details,” said Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, a Saratoga County Republican who was somewhat complimentary toward some aspects of Hochul’s speech.

Among the comments:

Heather Briccetti, president & CEO, The Business Council of New York State: “The Business Council applauds Governor Hochul’s initiatives to promote a stronger economy, increased private sector investments, and the creation of good-paying jobs. In particular, we were encouraged to see proposals for investments in economic development, small businesses relief, improved workforce development, and access to affordable childcare, among others.”

Jill Delaney, president and CEO, Discover Albany: “Today’s State of the State remarks by Gov. Hochul continue to position New York State and Albany County as a prime tourism destination for generations present and future. With the completion of the Albany Skyway project, the replacement of the Livingston Avenue Rail Bridge, and increased investments and state commitments in developing destination projects, there is no question that the future of Albany County as the center of tourism in the Capital Region remains bright. Increasing access to Albany County for visitors and tourists, in addition to creating new destinations for those to enjoy, fuels economic activity here in Albany County.”

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, D-Albany: “Governor Kathy Hochul’s first State of the State address was powerful in two significant ways: It was the first delivered by a female governor in a glass ceiling-breaking moment, and it laid out a vision to help New York State’s families, small businesses, and workers rebuild — and I applaud her bold proposals.”

State Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-Saugerties: “From tax relief for middle-class New Yorkers to broadband expansion and small business support to local job creation to supporting frontline and healthcare workers and investments in affordable housing — this address was a step in the right direction in revitalizing our state.”

Iroquois Healthcare Association, Clifton Park: “While IHA and our member hospitals await the full details of these proposals, we are buoyed by having a partner in the Executive Branch that has recognized the needs of our Upstate and rural hospitals.”

PeterM.Iwanowicz, executive director, Environmental Advocates NY: “The nation desperately needs New York to demonstrate environmental leadership. Gov. Hochul’s State of the State address set an optimistic tone that her administration is up to the task. Particularly encouraging was the governor’s call to protect wetlands as well as her plans to further electrify our economy with electric school buses, an all-electric state fleet, building out charging infrastructure, zero emission buildings, and the phase-out of fossil fuel infrastructure.”

William C. Janeway, executive director, Adirondack Council: “We agree 100% with the governor’s bold statement that ‘We are in a climate crisis and we need to act like it.’ We were also reassured by her statement that she wants to invest in better safeguards for the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves, to protect them from overuse.”

Sen. Daphne Jordan, D-Halfmoon: “Gov. Hochul took some policies straight from our Senate Republican playbook, namely delivering tax relief for small businesses, providing property tax rebates for homeowners, strengthening critical infrastructure, and enacting term limits. In addition, the governor called for creating a new, independent state ethics commission to replace JCOPE, which has been an utter failure. These are all good ideas that deserve strong, bipartisan support. It was disappointing that absent from Gov. Hochul’s address today was any mention of the number one public safety challenge facing New Yorkers: the urgent need to repeal the Democrats’ disastrous and dangerous bail ‘reform’ law that’s allowed criminals to roam free and re-offend.”

Assemblymember John McDonald III, D-Cohoes: “The governor is prioritizing replacement of the Livingston Ave. Bridge between the cities of Rensselaer and Albany, a major regional and upstate rail connector that needs pedestrian and cyclist access. Another proposal will follow up on rebuilding the Wadsworth [Laboratory] facility here in the city of Albany that Assemblymember Fahy, Senator Breslin, and I have been advocating for over the past several years.”

New York State Laborers’ Union: “We applaud Governor Hochul for an address that includes bold proposals that will create good, union jobs for deserving and hardworking New Yorkers. The proposed unprecedented investment in infrastructure, workforce training and renewable energy projects ensures New York continues to lead.”

Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus: “For New York to truly reemerge as the Empire State we need to protect our greatest asset — our people. Individuals and families are leaving the state at a record rate, and the governor admitted as much. While I stand ready to work with her on initiatives that will help those I represent, I will fight back against other proposals that will do more harm.”

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam: “As we head into the 2022 state legislative session with a new governor, I hope to not only see a new commitment to collaboration and transparency, but also new ideas on how to better serve our upstate communities in the wake of a challenging year. I look forward to continuing my work that includes investing in small businesses and getting our economy back on track; re-imagining the role of infrastructure in connecting people and places, both in the physical and digital world; and bringing about a much-needed expansion of our health care workforce, especially in rural communities.”

Assemblyman Robert Smullen, R-Meco: “Today’s state of the state address contained some good ideas, particularly the proposals to implement term limits on state-level officials and the replacement of the Joint Committee on Public Ethics with a new, independent ethics agency … With that said, I would have liked to hear more about issues affecting the residents of the Mohawk Valley and Adirondacks.”

Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie: “Even under a new governor, families and business owners continue to contend with burdensome one-size-fits-all mandates … If Gov. Hochul truly wants to see brighter days ahead for our state, she should join us in undoing the disastrous work of her predecessor.”

Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville: “Sadly, it seems like the only business that’s doing well in New York state right now is U-Haul because over 319,000 New Yorkers packed up their belongings and rolled out of the state in the past year. That’s not a good sign for the real state of our state! New York has the dubious distinction of being ranked number one in out-migration. What the Governor and the legislature must be advocating moving forward is an agenda change that incentivizes New Yorkers to stay and provides the opportunity for individuals and families to come and grow New York’s population and enable small businesses to create jobs.”

Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston: Today’s messaging by Gov. Hochul was very middle-of-the-road and filled with several ideas that my Republican colleagues and I have called on for years, including support for economic growth, tax relief, restoring faith in government and support for small businesses, healthcare, educators and farmers, among other things. One glaring omission from the speech was any mention of repealing bail reform or an all-encompassing plan to improve public safety, two very important pieces that New Yorkers often point to as greatest concerns or priorities.”

Assemblymember Carrier Woerner, D-Round Lake: “The governor acknowledged the challenges of COVID but rightly set her sights  on the future. Her speech was expansive and touched on some issues I believe are critical for my  constituents and for all residents of this state”: Healthcare, workforce development, small business, broadband access, housing and agriculture.

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