When you’re trying to affect change in a political institution, it’s all too easy to get frustrated by what at times seems an impossible challenge.

And then you get an e-mail like this, and your faith and energy are instantly renewed.

“Why don’t I give up on Upstate NY? I will tell you why.
When my parents are old, I want to be close enough to check on them and when they can no longer care for themselves I will care for them.
When my children are grown I don’t want them to have to run off to a faraway place just to find a job.
When I have grandchildren I want to see them every day. I want them to ride their bike to my house and I want to teach them things that I have learned from my lifetime of experience.
I would rather make cuts to our school system so that we can cut taxes for businesses so that my children can find a job or create a business of their own without moving away.”

Beautiful sentiment, but it’s the closing line that really got to me.

“If something does not change,'” the writer concludes, “We will be moving away so my children can have a hopeful future.”

That says it all: New York must change if our state, our families and our businesses are to have a hopeful future.

And it is time for our elected officials to finally realize that they need to be on our side, and step away from those who don’t worry about how their greed is ruining our state. It must be about what is good for all of us, the people of the state of New York, and not just the few who are entrenched and unwilling to change.

So how do we bring about that change? By banding together and speaking out on the issues that matter, the issues that will change New York’s future.

In fact, that’s what we did recently. And we were successful in stopping two legislative bills that would have severely hurt Upstate New York – the Farmworker Fair Labor Practice Act and the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). Click here to read Unshackle’s statement .

This is a great achievement, as these were two bills that we adamantly opposed. If enacted, farms that have been in families for generations would have ceased to exist and vital economic development projects would never have been started.

Both bills were passionately argued by both sides of the issue. Fortunately, rational heads prevailed and the bills were defeated.

So what have we learned? We learned that the voice of the Unshackle Upstate Army is being heard and having an impact on legislative activity in Albany.

We can and should celebrate. But we cannot rest. There will be more issues to tackle and bills to oppose. We must remain vigilant.

Together, we will push our elected officials to do what is right for the taxpayers and job creators of this state. Together, we will reform New York, make it the best place to live, work and raise a family, make it a place with a hopeful future, a place we are proud to call home.

Please do your part. Encourage everyone you know to join our effort and strengthen our voice. Our future is at stake.