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Duffy proposes state lawmakers form upstate caucus

Ryan Delaney
WRVO News File Photo

State lawmakers in upstate New York should form an "upstate caucus." That idea was floated this week by Bob Duffy, the former lieutenant governor, who is now president of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

Duffy says upstate lawmakers should join in a bipartisan way, to help advance the interests of the region.  As an example, he points to the recent bills approved raising the minimum wage, which did address the different economic needs of upstate and downstate.

“One piece of legislation that may be very thoughtful and helpful to New York City, may not work in Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse and what we’re asking for is an acknowledgement, perhaps each legislative session a list of maybe up to three priorities for legislation that would have a very positive impact on upstate economic growth,”  Duffy told WXXI News.

Duffy says he would like to see this happen in a positive fashion. He says it’s just important to realize there are differing agendas for upstate and downstate New York.

“These are two, critically important regions of our state; they’re different, they need to be treated differently and this is just one suggestion, a way we can formalize that and prioritize legislation, laws and change it each year that will have a positive impact on the upstate economy and help it grow.”

Duffy's idea is also being discussed by the business lobbying group Unshackle Upstate which has been talking to lawmakers to see if they support the concept.