By Dave Renzi, State Senate candidate
There are just under two months until Election Day, a relatively short number of days for me to reach out and meet as many voters and residents of the 48th Senate District as possible.
My goal during this campaign is to visit every one of the towns, villages and cities in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, to hear the unique concerns of residents and share some of my ideas for bringing new jobs, a revitalized economy and property tax relief for homeowners.
I’ve outlined my plans in meetings with individual voters — at farmers markets and community festivals, civic group meetings and firemen’s halls. I’ve visited countless homes, attended meet-the-candidate forums, and participated in the first of eight scheduled “town hall” style debates with my opponent.
In addition to taking your questions and sharing ideas, I have enjoyed learning more about the people and places that make our region so very special.
From the cities of Oswego, Fulton, Watertown and Ogdensburg to the smallest rural, farming communities in the furthest corner of the 48th Senate District, this region boasts some of the most spectacular natural scenery, outdoors activities, friendly people and interesting and exciting festival and events.
In part, that’s why I included tourism as a key part of my plan to create new jobs in the region.
According to a recent study, Upstate New York lags the rest of the nation in tourism-related employment by nearly half. Merely matching the national average could mean thousands of new jobs, and opportunities for new and existing small business.
Unlike other regions, ours has the unique potential to grow as a four-season tourism destination. With our expansive open space, fields, woods, mountains, trails and villages, there are nearly as many things to do in winter as in summer.
With the high cost of gas, families are looking to remain closer to home — a new and growing phenomenon that’s been coined the “stay-cation.” With more than one million people living within one fuel tank’s drive from Northern and Central New York, the potential for increased interest and visits to our area is tremendous. With every new visitor comes increased demand for hotel rooms, dining, touring and other amenities that translate to more local jobs.
Right now, state tourism dollars are largely directed out of state, with the major focus of drawing visitors to New York City. We need more of that effort turned toward our region, and directed by people who know best our strong regional attractions.
Increasing tourism is just one way to stimulate our local economy, and just one part of my plan to create jobs. I look forward to sharing these ideas with you between now and Election Day. See you on the campaign trail!