Our Unshackle Army form gives us the opportunity to hear directly from our supporters. The following submission comes from Charles Dowdell, a farmer from Berkshire, NY who has no choice but leave New York in search of better opportunities in Georgia. While his story is certainly unique, he’s not alone. According to our friends at The Empire Center, 1.5 million New Yorkers left the state from 2000-2008 with a signficant percentage migrating from Upstate counties.

It’s time our elected officials deliver on their promises of private-sector job growth, lower taxes and reduced state spending before more New Yorkers like Charles pack up and leave.


Today, at age 49, I am packing to move for a job in Georgia, leaving my farm and home in Berkshire, NY in Tioga County. I am convinced that the New York State government is not aware of the needs in my home community and unfortunately it affects me in very deep personal ways.

I am extraordinarily disappointed in my government’s ability to promote a healthy and prosperous way of life in my community.

My presence in NY goes back as long as there was a New York. Being a Mayflower descendant and being part Native American, I believe this is my home. My great-great grandfather (for whom after I was named) was City Engineer in Rochester. My paternal Grandfather was a clergyman in a number of small towns in New York State, educated at Cornell. My maternal Grandfather was a High School shop teacher in Buffalo, educated at Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute. My Father was educated at Rensselaer Polytechnic and worked in Upstate NY as an engineer. I was educated at Roberts Wesleyan College and Syracuse University.

My family has already left New York State.

I left my most recent employer after they received NYS monies for “creating jobs” by closing a plant in Canada and bringing a fraction of those jobs to NY. Unfortunately, they are hourly jobs and numerous salaried professional people were let go. In telling my neighbor about my employment situation, he exclaimed “Now you are like all the rest of us in this area!” It thinking further, I then fully realized there are no private-sector regularly-working people in this area. Most are very hard working and decent folks; many of them are church-going, frustrated and confused.

If the employment and economic situation wasn’t dire enough the natural blessings afforded some of us are being unjustly constrained by my own government. We cannot harvest the god-given blessings of the Marcellus shale gas only because of opinions of people outside this area. Please help let the decisions affecting natural gas be made by the folks who own the land and are most affected by any negative consequences these decisions may bring. We are clearly not represented in the decision making processes.

The good news is that I have personal integrity and considerable drive for success. I cannot be held down. My career is on the upswing and I will be making a US owned Fortune 500 Company more profitable in the global economy, albeit not in NY.

I am taking my New York state flag with me. Excelsior.

– Charles D.