Magee wants to connect rural, urban areas through agriculture

Local and state representatives spoke at the State of the Area Forum hosted by the Cazenovia Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Jan. 11 at Cazenovia College's Morgan Center. Eight elected officials outlined the past year for their respective areas, and offered their plans for 2011.

Speakers included Cazenovia Mayor Tom Dougherty and Supervisor Ralph Monforte, Nelson Town Supervisor Roger Bradstreet, Fenner Town Supervisor Russ Cary, Cazenovia Central School District Superintendent Bob Dubik, as well as Cazenovia College Director of Communications Wayne Westervelt. Assemblyman Bill Magee and State Sen. David Valesky also attended.

Magee spoke of the importance of change in the future. A longtime supporter of agriculture, he explains it is time to connect residents of New York City with the output of upstate farms.

"Governor Cuomo put a lot of emphasis on agriculture and the importance of it," Magee said. "It's a message that I've tried to carry for a long time. Agriculture is the upstate economy. It's also the number one industry in the state, and we need to do whatever we can to improve it."

Increasing the trade between the urban and rural areas of New York should be relatively easy and beneficial to both groups, he said. Magee also said that Cuomo will have the support they require, with rising popularity in "green" lifestyles and consumers' desire to know where their produce was grown.

Valesky expressed disappointment with his fellow politicians in his fourth term as a New York State Senator.

"I have made some changes in how I represent all of you in Albany. We have had far too many embarrassments and moments that put dysfunction in the reference to our New York State Legislature," Valesky said. "We found out a couple weeks ago that over the past two years, the Senate Majority had overspent its budgeted allocation by $14 million, at the time of the greatest state fiscal crisis that we've seen since the 1930s."

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