As you've likely heard, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will making a stop in North Tonawanda this morning at Ascension Industries on Erie Avenue. We'd like to be the first to welcome the governor to Niagara County. As far as we can recollect, Cuomo will be the first governor to visit Niagara County since George Pataki.
To the dismay of many Democrats, Cuomo has been a pleasant surprise after three and a half months in office. He has been aggressive in his addressing of the state budget deficit and he has shown a strong willingness to tackle issues head-on that have previously been taboo in Albany. While we're somewhat disappointed with the lackluster results of his Medicaid Reform Task Force, we'll remain optimistic that Medicaid reform will remain a priority for Cuomo.
As for the visit itself, it's promising to note that the governor is coming into the Senate district of George Maziarz. Cuomo and Maziarz have developed a strong relationship during their short time working together, as Cuomo clearly recognizes the work of Maziarz in reforming the former Power for Jobs program, now called ReCharge New York. Cuomo also shares Maziarz' disdain for NYPA President & CEO Richie Kessel, as evidenced by the recent appointment of John Dyson to the NYPA board of trustees. Dyson is the antithesis of Kessel, and will likely end up heading the agency. If nothing else, Dyson will help neuter many of the irrational and irresponsible spending practices of Kessel.
Cuomo's coming into Niagara County is a very good sign. New York is a big state and Cuomo is heavily in demand. He seems to understand that our area, and Western New York as a whole, is a whole different animal from the rest of the state, especially the New York City area. We have an entirely different set of needs and priorities, and many different assets, including our abundance of hydropower. We will remain optimistic that Cuomo understands those needs - a seat on the NYPA would be a great start - and continue to welcome the governor to Niagara County as often as he chooses to come.