Upstate Jobs Party Remarks for Binghamton Launch Event

Frustrated and betrayed …These words come up far too often as people share their feelings about their government in Washington and Albany.  

At the root of that feeling is an abiding sense of disappointment with a two party system invested in perpetuating policy priorities of the special interest donor class and careers of captive politicians – both Democrats and Republicans.

It’s not hard to see feelings of frustration and betrayal reaching a tipping point as evident in the candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.  

It’s fair to say Binghamton and the Southern Tier feels the pain of failed government more acutely them some other areas of the state and even the district. The boom times of IBM, Universal Link, GE and Endicott Johnson – the jobs and the industries that gave our parents middle class dreams are now fading memories as we wave good bye to too many of our best and brightest talent fleeing home to pursue opportunities in new industries they can’t find here.

But I believe that can change – we have all the ingredients  – but change must start at its roots.

That is why I am here today to announce a new party line, the Upstate Jobs Party.

Upstate Jobs, it has a nice ring, doesn’t it? Two words we don’t hear together enough.

I’m not a politician – I’m a job creator. Creating jobs is something I know a lot about. I know what it takes to create an innovation environment where Binghamton, the Southern Tier and all of upstate can grow jobs. I know, because I have been doing it.

And that is why I am underwriting an effort to establish a line devoted to the singular issue of creating jobs Upstate.

I know the great history of this region, the birthplace of so many technologies and innovations that helped give the world flight. And I know the spirit of the people, because I am one of you – that’s why I moved home from Silicon Valley to Little Falls in 1999. I know what an amazing place our region is, the brains and the work ethic of our people and what we can accomplish when we work together.  

Over the last six years I’ve been on a journey with a non profit I founded and have volunteered my energy and resources – Upstate Venture Connect. Our mission has been to connect first time entrepreneurs in the newer industries with the resources that can help them start and grow their companies.

This includes getting people to look beyond the boundaries of their local area or institution, and realize that the community of Upstate is rich with resources that can make a difference.

In that time we’ve been able to grow a network of more than 10,000 supporters, had a hand in engaging hundreds of local business people to become involved as investors in startup companies and equipped many organizations with tools and contacts that help connect entrepreneurs with resources needed to grow their companies and create jobs.

We believe the cumulative effect of these efforts have laid the foundation for the creation of many companies and thousands of new jobs – and now become a set of foundational principles for the Upstate Jobs Party.

It’s not just a ballot line, but a movement that makes it possible for all of us to participate in the effort to grow good paying jobs Upstate with the assets we already have.

I’ll close with pointing out that it was just 95 years ago yesterday, an entrepreneur named Charles Ranlett Flint started a small business called the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company and he made its headquarters just down the road in Endicott.

Most people in 1911, had no idea what “computing” was or how that new technology would go on to transform this region, the world and our everyday lives. We of course know that company today as IBM.

Today there are thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs right here in our region – I know it, because I work with them everyday.  Like the people in 1911, we don’t know what the next breakthrough innovation will be but I do know the next IBM, the next Amazon, the next Flint, the next Jeff Bezos are right here in our midst. They need nurturing, they need guidance – they need to connect with other successful entrepreneurs  and they need a supportive community and regulatory environment. That is why we are creating the Upstate Jobs Party and that is why I am running for Congress.

Upstate Jobs – let’s make it a reality. Let’s get this Party started!