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Regional councils a new approach to economic development

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Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy convened the first meeting of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, at SUNY Potsdam Friday. It wasn't open to the public, but Duffy has said future meetings will be.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the North Country Council just last week. It's among 10 created around the state, and the local co-chairs say the regional approach could work.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo says the 10  councils announced last month represent a shift in the state's approach to job creation, from top-down to a community-based approach. 

North Country Chamber of Commerce president Garry Douglas of Plattsburgh is co-chair of the North Country council. 

"So we have before us finally a governor who gets that economic  development in this state has to be region by region—and that’s hard to do. And that’s hard to do," Douglas said.  "It’s certainly simpler to just trot out and say we’re going to work on these three things, and we’re going to have these measures, and that’s the new program and tht’s it. And that doesn’t work—at least it doesn’t work at easily or as extensively as we need it to. This can work if we get it right, and that’s our challenge in the next three months."  

The councils will compete for a billion dollars in economic development money from the state.

 Douglas’ co-chair is Clarkson University President Tony Collins. Collins said things have gotten off to a good start.

Council members are now tasked with identifying key regional issues and opportunities, coming up with regional economic vision, and ultimately putting together a plan—due to the state by November 14th.

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