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AG James Meets With BCW Board to Outline Her Office’s Priorities

New York Attorney General Letitia James met with the BCW’s Board of Directors on Thursday to discuss her office’s priorities and hear feedback from Westchester County’s business community.

James told the board members that she seeks a public-private partnership with businesses to regrow the economy—not a return to where the economy was pre-pandemic—but to an economy that benefits all sectors of society. “If we are to recover as one—government and business must work together,” said James. “We cannot run government primarily from the second floor. It has to be done in cooperation and in conjunction with professionals and individuals who are experts in their fields.”

James, the first woman elected as New York’s Attorney General, told the BCW board that public safety is paramount. James noted that 75 percent of the guns used in crimes in New York come from states with lax gun-control laws. “Gun manufacturers and gun distributors are the only industry that enjoys…immunity. We cannot sue a gun manufacturer or a gun distributor,” said James. “The state legislature crafted a provision which allows me to go after gun manufacturers and gun distributors based on negligence. I am going to test that case.”

James also acknowledged that bail reform needs adjustment to prevent dangerous people from being released to commit more crimes. She told the board that she will continue to oppose measures that criminalize poverty and mental illness, but that she is willing to study data to craft changes.

To help New York’s economy recover from the pandemic, James said she supports a mass vaccination mandate for upstate New York, which is in a state of emergency because of Covid-19 infections.

With regards to a full gaming license for Empire City—the BCW’s top legislative priority—James said she supports three licenses for downstate.

As for energy reliability—a key issue for the BCW—James said she shared the concern. James said she recognizes that environmental review regulations have been used as weapons to thwart proposals for renewable energy infrastructure. “It’s really shocking when I see the NIMBYism in upstate New York, with all the available land, with all the opportunities,” said James.

BCW President/CEO Marsha Gordon asked James to continue state support for the Regional Economic Development Councils, which have delivered essential funding to redevelopment projects statewide. James said the REDC has worked well in the Mid-Hudson Valley. She added that it is important to continue reviewing the data to ensure that the REDCs’ grants are helping to lower unemployment, expand the middle class, and reduce abject poverty.

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