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Politics and Government

Hanna hearing focuses on how universities impact job creation

Rep. Richard Hanna chaired a hearing Monday at Binghamton University on the role of universities in job creation. Hanna is chairman of the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce and the focus of the hearing was on the importance of federal funding.

Hanna heard testimony from three witnesses about the ways universities fuel job creation. Before the hearing Hanna, a Republican, said that the federal government’s spending on basic research needs to continue.

“We’re here to talk about why it’s important to contribute to universities like this, why these programs matter, what they do for local economies and what they do for us nationally,”  said the congressman.

The hearing was called with a view to a looming congressional battle over the budget in the fall. Binghamton University’s Vice President of Research Bahgat Sammakia said that the school’s research funding has begun to decline after a decade of growth.

“Our nation is rapidly losing ground in key areas that support innovation. Further cuts, like the ones we’re experiencing with sequestration, will only worsen the situation,” said Sammakia.

During the hearing, Hanna also heard from two local businessmen whose companies were founded on the basis of university research.

Hanna represents New York’s 22nd congressional district, which stretches from the Mohawk Valley to Binghamton.