“Is There a Hudson Valley Regional Agenda?” was the topic for discussion among 135 attendees at a conference held on June 15 at the Student Union Building. This conference engaged a broad range of groups and individuals in the valley, with a variety of strongly held interests and priorities, to consider whether this region, like other key regions in the state, can annually generate and advance a shared regional agenda for legislative action by state government.
Speakers and participants included SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro; Elizabeth Lynam, vice president and director of state studies at the Citizen’s Budget Commission; David Church, commissioner of the Orange County Department of Planning; Garrett Dyal, Adam’s Fairacre Farms; Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson; Kevin O’Connor, executive director of the Rural Ulster Preservation Company (RUPCO); Barney Molloy, Hudson River Watertrail Association; Natasha Caputo, Westchester County Tourism and Film; Michael Migloire of Whitecliff Winery; and Megan Daly of the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils. A preview of the forthcoming CRREO report on Regional Well-Being was presented by KT Tobin (CRREO).
President Christian stated, “We think it’s really important that SUNY New Paltz as an anchor institution in the Mid-Hudson Valley fulfills its role as a public institution, and that involves bringing together the diverse people and organizations to look at regional solutions to the problems and opportunities that we face in the Hudson Valley.”
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “The political leadership needs to recognize that the economy of the Hudson River Valley, the ecology of the Hudson River Valley, and the culture and demographics of the Hudson River Valley exceed any one municipal boundary and that we together need to establish policy and leadership models that extend beyond municipal boundaries. And in the process, I hope, reinvent the region.”
The conference was sponsored by the Advocacy Council of the Hudson Valley, an organization formed in 2010 by a group of community leaders interested in developing and advancing regional thinking to promote a broad, shared public policy agenda targeted on legislative action and particularly focused on Hudson Valley needs and priorities. The coalition seeks to generate agreement among advocates across the spectrum of interests, issues and concerns on matters that legislators in Albany and Washington must act upon to advance the regional well-being of the Hudson Valley. Other sponsors included: RUPCO’s Hudson Valley Green Jobs/Green New York Program, Mid-Hudson Acupuncture, NY Metro Chapter American Planning Association, and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.