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Mohawk Valley lawmakers say the region is on the rise

Payne Horning
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente addresses the room at the annual Mohawk Valley legislative forum. He and other elected officials described the region's economy as positive, with more growth ahead.

Mohawk Valley leaders were bullish about the region's economy at a recent legislative forum in Utica. 

Multi-million dollar developments are underway in the Mohawk Valley that lawmakers say are changing the landscape of the region and could spark further economic growth.

The rural retail chain store Tractor Supply Company is opening a 930,000 square foot distribution center in Herkimer County that could create 350 jobs; New York state is pouring $10 million into Rome's downtown for new apartments and amenities; Oneida County is continuing to pursue an arts and entertainment district in Utica that could include a casino and beer museum and the Mohawk Valley Health System hopes to break ground on a new downtown Utica hospitalnext year.

Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri says the next few years could be transformational.

"We talk about all of the opportunities in front of us, this is a once in a lifetime for this region and I will tell you everyone that is sitting up here will not let this go by the wayside without making it happen," Palmieri. "We're moving in the right direction."

But challenges remain for the Mohawk Valley. Elected officials continue their search to replace the Austrian company that pulled out of a nanotech chip fabrication plant in Marcy. And some officials at the forum, like Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford), say the state's policies are hampering their efforts to create more jobs.

"We need to cut taxes, we need to cut unnecessary regulations and we need to find affordable energy for our communities," Tenney said. "We need to make sure we bring those costs down so our manufacturers can continue to be competitive."

Tenney recently voted for the GOP's major tax overhaul bill that lowered taxes for corporations and businesses. New York, she says, needs to build on that. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.