In a time where collaboration and bipartisanship are at a premium (think Washington, DC), Buffalo Niagara is an example of how it could, and should, be done.

For the past 12 years, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership – on behalf of the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls and Erie and Niagara Counties – has been the editor and publisher of the Buffalo Niagara Regional Agenda of priority economic development policies and projects.

This is an effort which was started at the explicit request of the WNY Congressional Delegation in order to generate focus, collaboration, and bipartisanship both in the region and among our elected federal and state representatives.

This process has yielded fantastic results – from everything like the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to, most recently, our Proceeds legislation passage.  Just days after the 2013 Agenda was rolled out, U.S. Senator Schumer expressed his support of one its key items, federal historic preservation tax credits under the CAPP Act. That is how collaboration works; when our region can collectively tell our representatives what we need, we can have faith they will listen and work with us to deliver on those priorities.

Unshackle Upstate has been another fine example of how collaboration works.  For the past six years, UU has been the collective voice of Upstate employers and taxpayers, and our unified voice has garnered results: pension reform, the tax cap, and fiscally sound budgets.  A Republican Senate worked with a Democratic Governor and Assembly on each of those accomplishments (maybe the President and Congress should take note – as the impending fiscal cliff is the number one issue we as a nation currently face) and we are hopeful that the latest talk of a coalition-led Senate can build on the successes of 2011 and 2012.

As 2013 session approaches, the Partnership, Unshackle Upstate and it’s partners across Upstate will continue to push for our legislative and economic development agenda to be addressed in Albany, and we are confident collaboration and bipartisanship will be prevalent as we work to continue to improve Upstate’s economy.