Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Christopher P. St. Lawrence today unveiled a comprehensive rural agenda that focuses on the great potential of New York's upstate and rural counties.

"The most important issue facing Upstate New York is jobs and job creation," continued St. Lawrence. "Every effort and initiative must be built around creating jobs and opportunity for our citizens. And, in partnership with government, we have opportunities to take advantage of that which we cannot squander away."

St. Lawrence said that the next Administration must:

1) Invest in our existing infrastructure.

We have many plans on the table through our IDAs and through proposed plans that have languished due to inaction and petty political fights. When this happens, the people suffer, and people leave. The State must invest, and partner with private industry through a real incentive program to bring jobs back to our counties. One great example of this is using our SUNY Campuses as Community Development entities. Chancellor Zimpher recently outlined a great plan for the State University system that will do just that. We have these great institutions; we can utilize their resources to attract more investment.

2) Promote cooperation.

New York State must incentivize businesses across the state to do business together. The State has missed opportunities to promote the sale of goods within the State. Senator Gillibrand recently unveiled an initiative aimed at providing fresh food in stores throughout New York and creating jobs by building hundreds of new grocery stores around the State. The State must push businesses to buy from New York businesses. Someone in Brooklyn should not have to get tomatoes from Delaware when we are growing them right here in New York.

3) Increase home rule authority of local governments.

The State government has jurisdiction over far too many issues that affect development, government administration, and the quality of life of residents of our counties. The next Administration should work with local leaders to improve service delivery, eliminate red tape, and give more power to the residents of the local communities to determine their own futures.

4) Pursue new industry.

The trade bills of the Bush Administration sent businesses scurrying to Canada, Mexico and the Pacific Rim. Now, those economies have risen to scale and businesses are seeking to come back to our shores. New York must welcome them back with open arms. The next Administration must also communicate the message far and wide that New York has the capital, both financial and human, that businesses will need to confront our recovering economy. We also have many empty, dormant buildings that can be redeveloped, re-imagined and revitalized.

5) Be innovative.

Going forward, new technologies will be emerging in the areas of energy, sustainability, solid waste management, and the environment to name a few. The State must work cooperatively with our research facilities, our universities and private industry to deal with the economies of the future. The next Governor must pursue cooperative relationships at home and abroad to advance New York's approach to issues like water management and alternative energy, areas where our rural counties can employ their extensive land resources and their human resources to move New York forward.

New York's upstate and rural counties have vast resources that enhance the State's position to lead in the new economy. The next Administration must renew its focus on these counties to move New York State forward. Without a targeted, meaningful effort, the State will once again fail to make New York, the entire State of New York; the beacon it was in our glory days.

"New York State has had a tumultuous four years since its last election politically and worse yet, it was coupled with a financial crisis this country has not seen in decades," said St. Lawrence. "It is time for New York to make a comeback."

St. Lawrence is a 5-term Supervisor of the Town of Ramapo in Rockland County, 2-term Rockland County Legislator, Chairman of the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority, Chairman of the Ramapo River Watershed Council, and Vice Chairman of the Rockland County Sewer District #1. With 120,000 residents, the Town of Ramapo is the most populous town in the state outside of Long Island.

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From WRCR AM 1300 Radio Rockland, Local News & Information Feb 12 2010

The town of Ramapo has won a victory worth a half-million dollars a year to town taxpayers. Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence told WRCR listeners this morning the town has won a tax-assessment case against Millennium Pipeline. The town contends that the firm’s natural gas pipeline through Ramapo has been greatly under-valued, with Millennium paying far less than its fair share of taxes. The town took its case to the state and won. St. Lawrence said state officials raised the pipeline’s valuation from $9-million to more than $38-million – resulting in at least $500,000 a year in Town tax coffers.

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