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About Binghamton

August 20, 2014

Let’s commend Mr. Astorino for something.

His economic plan is solid. It’s wide ranging. It’s sensible. It’s largely doable.

No, it wasn’t terribly creative and it doesn’t take into account some economic development policies that are actually working in New York, but it does show that Astorino has a decent grasp of the most important issue facing the state.

It’s too bad he didn’t announce this plan on the first day of his campaign. Instead, he has spent the last several months futzing around. As we’ve written before, he wasn’t playing to his strengths and wasn’t working hard enough. 

If we were handling him, we’d roll up his sleeves and mess up his hair a bit and say: “Get out there and start talking about how to create jobs.”

We’d have him pound away on it, not snidely as he’s prone to do, but affirmatively:  Here’s what we can do if we’re not cowed by fracktivists. Here’s what we can do if we take on the trial lawyers blocking key reforms. Here’s what we can do if we stop playing favorites and cut taxes for everyone who creates jobs.

Astorino was right to go to Binghamton to announce his plan, but he missed the great metaphor of the city.

Binghamton has had the slowest job growth in the nation over the last decade. We’re not talking about some place in Mississippi or West Virginia, but Binghamton, the place where IBM was founded, the place once known as the Valley of Opportunity.

It’s terrible in Binghamton.

Mr. Cuomo, whom we generally regard as having been a good governor, has never acknowledged the crisis in Binghamton. He has no specific plan for helping the community.

He does have well-developed plans for Buffalo and North Country and he’s making progress in those regions.  But nothing for Binghamton? How can that be?

It’s actually worse than that. The regional economic development director position in the Southern Tier has been vacant for a year. Think about that one:  In the area of the state and nation most in need of economic development assistance,  there’s no state leadership.

Back to Mr. Astorino:  He faces very long odds in this campaign. He hasn’t budged in the polls. He has no money.  He has no issue with traction, until now perhaps.

The governor has no answer for Binghamton. He can only shift the discussion to Buffalo and the North Country. But by doing so, he’s leaving the community behind.  

Astorino should be the champion of places left behind.

To fulfill that role, however, he needs to build out his economic plan and make it specific to key communities that are struggling the most in New York. (There was actually little beyond fracking that was specific to the Southern Tier.) 

If Astorino was able to do that, and if his proposals were reasonable and his tone hopeful, he’d gain support not only in Binghamton but beyond.  He might make a race of it.  

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