First, we must be honest with ourselves about our challenges. Hiding from our problems will not make them go away. Wonderful people are doing wonderful things in Central New York, but we should face that this is not the kind of vibrant community it must be in order to truly retain or attract the young professionals needed to secure our economic future.
There are some who assert that our real problem is some sort of regional lack of self-esteem. And if political leaders stopped pointing out so many problems, then we would somehow be free of them. There are even some who say if you point out what's wrong in America, you are somehow not patriotic.
I reject these propositions. While it's important to be positive, a positive attitude alone is not enough. Like a runner on the track, we must see clearly the hurdles before us if we are to jump over them. We must be honest that we as a region and as a nation face serious difficulties.
I've been to promotional events talking about how Central New York's business climate has turned the corner or how we've become a world leader in environmental conservation and green technology. Well, we do have many great examples of positive developments in these areas.
But we have a long, long way to go and we must acknowledge where we truly are, before we can move to where we need to be.
Second, we must work together to fix what's broken. Partisan bickering and division in our country have done little for us these past years. I cannot guarantee that we will always agree, but I promise to listen to all sides and work together to find pragmatic, lasting solutions to the challenges we face.
Benjamin Franklin said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence: "we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall hang separately." Our region is at a tipping point. We could become better or worse. I say we will get better but only to the degree to which we join together with vision and determination.