SUMMIT RECAP: New Realities in Washington, DC
The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership held their inaugural economic development summit on November 10, 2016. Over 100 leaders attended the event, which covered a variety of topics from the state of economic development to community preparedness. Below, Congressman Paul D. Tonko’s recaps his remarks from the “New Realities in Washington, DC” keynote.
Speaking with business and community leaders at the Saratoga Springs City Center in the wake of the 2016 election was a great opportunity to discuss where we – Saratoga, the Capital Region, our state and our nation – go from here to achieve our shared goals of creating opportunity, raising wages, and improving the quality of life for us, our families, our friends and our neighbors.
As a United States Congressman, a large part of my job is to serve as a direct connection between the federal government and families, small businesses, non-profits, and other organizations. And we have seen incredible clustering and collaboration that has taken place here as the result of unique partnerships among the private sector, New York State government, local communities, public and higher education.
Nowhere else in the country, and perhaps the world, have we seen such seamless integration amongst cutting edge research, private investment and public sector-inspired job creation. We have demonstrated the capacity to compete for and win the attention and investments of the global leaders in the innovation economy.
But that is only the beginning. We cannot and will not rest on our heels become complacent.
We must look at our region as less than a collection of disparate communities or interests. We are one regional ecosystem, and the success of one community in its pursuit of the next big project or investment is our regional success, just as a difficulty in one community is a shared problem that we can all figure out how to fix.
In Washington, I will continue to make the case that Congress should operate in that same mindset. It is important now, more than ever, for Republicans and Democrats to come together and solve the real problems that face our entire nation. We have seen far too much rancor and obstructionism over the past eight years, and that must end if we are to overcome the challenges before us for the American people.
Those challenges include boosting jobs and manufacturing, repairing our infrastructure above and below ground, tackling climate change, keeping our nation safe from internal and external threats, passing comprehensive immigration reform, ensuring our water is safe to drink, and so much more.
There aren’t – shouldn’t be – partisan issues. Our response to these challenges must be equally nonpartisan. And almost every problem we have to tackle, when fixed, will increase our ability to put people back to work.
I believe there will continue to be tremendous opportunity for the Capital Region to step up and play a key role in a number of exciting initiatives that lie just around the corner. The success of our local manufacturers should encourage other companies to set up facilities in the region. Many of these opportunities will create well-paid, cutting-edge, exciting and desirable careers, all right here in the Capital Region.
And that success of our local manufactures will be enhanced if Congress empowers them through the Make It In America Agenda. This plan is more than a few talking points, which is what we see more and more out of Washington. It is a clear plan with specific packages of legislation that expand entrepreneurship and innovation, close the skills gap, bring our infrastructure into the 21st century, and break down barriers to manufacturing in the United States.
The Make It In America Agenda is what will create opportunity, raise wages, and put our country back to work. And that’s the plan I will push in 2017 and throughout my time in Congress until it gets across the finish line. To do that, officials in Washington must remember that investing in the American worker is what made this country what it is today. And that’s what we must continue to do moving forward. We need budgets that reflect our values and invest where we must so that we can cut where we can.
I appreciate the great opportunities I have to speak with groups that aim to boost prosperity for our communities in the Capital Region. I believe that, when we work together, we succeed together. And I look forward to continuing that work in Saratoga and across the region in the years to come.