New York State Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Yates County Wednesday, Nov. 15 for a brief roundtable discussion with local business leaders, college and school administrators, and local government officials.
Held in a locked function room of the Penn Yan Hampton Inn on Keuka Lake, the press was barred from attending the 30-minute meeting, though Hochul did briefly stop for questions afterward.
Commenting on the meeting in general, Hochul said, “This is one of the best parts of my job. I like to come out to see reinvestment dollars at work.”
She says she is impressed by the jobs, business growth, and tourism dollars generated here. “Yates County is on fire!” Hochul effused. She named Steve Griffin, CEO of the Yates County Industrial/Economic Development Agency, as deserving much of the credit. “There is such a buzz about Yates County. We really feel his impact.”
One dominant issue brought forward was labor for farms and wineries. Hochul says the United States needs to be more welcoming for immigration. “There are many problems that are not unique to Yates County,” she adds.
One of these is a lack of access for high-speed broadband internet which impacts business and education. “Yates County is at a disadvantage,” says Hochul, “and we have a ways to go to see the area is served properly.” Another problem is the disfunction of the state-owned computer systems at the Department of Motor Vehicles, which handles much of the information management for the state and the county, and is overwhelmed by current demands and expansion. “It’s all about the follow-up,” says Hochul. The collection and fair distribution of counties’ share of casino dollars was also brought to her attention.
Hochul also reasserted the Cuomo administration’s commitment to N.Y. State reaching 50 percent clean energy use by 2030.