There has been a long list of influential people visiting Chautauqua County over the last several months. Among them is Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
"The governor joins an esteemed group of people who are coming to Chautauqua County and paying attention to what's important to us," said Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-C-I-Chautauqua County.
Among those who have visited Chautauqua County are Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who visited Jamestown, while Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at Chautauqua Institution. U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have spoke on several issues throughout the county. And U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, has been holding "town hall meetings" in various towns and villages in Chautauqua County.
Cuomo has been in Western New York nine times since mid-June, including one appearance in Jamestown. On June 12, Cuomo visited Amherst, to discuss Start-Up NY. On June 13, he was in Niagara Falls to discuss the Seneca Nation Casino deal. On June 24, Cuomo was in Buffalo, discussing Start-UP NY. He was back in Buffalo only two days later for an announcement regarding the Peace Bridge. July 3, Cuomo was once again in Amherst, to talk about his state anti-corruption plan. He returned to Buffalo on July 9 to discuss driver enforcement measures.
Cuomo traveled to Jamestown on July 10 to talk about Start-UP NY at Jamestown Community College. Then, he was in Lockport on July 23 to discuss flood response. Finally, on July 31, Cuomo was in Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca to unveil the Seneca Nation casino deal.
"I've been here a lot more," Goodell joked.
According to Goodell, the last time the governor was in Chautauqua County was two years ago, for his State of the State address.
The number of times Cuomo is in the Buffalo region is not unusual to Goodell. He pointed out Buffalo is the largest city in Western New York, so Goodell said it would be expected that Cuomo would spend much of his time there when he is not in Albany or New York City.
"What is noteworthy is that he's been to Jamestown twice since he has been governor," Goodell said. "And, he has been to Salamanca just last week, which is the first time a governor has been to Salamanca since Hugh Carey was there about 30 years ago."
Both Goodell and County Executive Greg Edwards agree having Cuomo in Chautauqua County and Western New York is a benefit.
"Certainly, we would love to host him many more times, specifically in Chautauqua County, because we have a lot to offer him, and he has a lot of resources to work with us on our initiatives," Edwards said. "Together, we can accomplish great things for the region."
Goodell agreed, saying the governor's visits to the county are appreciated.
"It gives him a great opportunity to see how people in the state really should live and to meet first-hand with local residents and community leaders," Goodell said. "It helps dispel the myth that the state representatives don't know where Chautauqua County is."
Because Western New York is so different from Albany and New York City, Edwards said the governor sends a message he is interested in upstate by being here.
"It also gives us the opportunity as a community to let him know on relative terms compared to New York City or Albany, how even small investments of state dollars, albeit limited, go a lot further here in Chautauqua County and Western New York than they do in New York City or many other places," Edwards said. "The more he is here, the more we stand to benefit. So, I look forward to hosting his travels out here or partnering with others to give him a reason to come out this way."