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Author: The BCW

Congressman Lawler Discusses State’s Challenges with BCW Board Members

From left, BCW Executive VP and COO John Ravitz; Rajiv Ratan, MD,CEO, Burke Neurological Institute; George Lence, President, Nicholas & Lence Communications; Karen C. Erren, President & CEO, Feeding Westchester; Stacey Tompkins, President, Tompkins Excavating; BCW Chairman Jamie Schutzer; JospehApicella, Executive Vice President, McQuesten Development; Congressman Mike Lawler; BCW President & CEO Marsha Gordon; Robert Amler, MD, Dean of School of Health Sciences and Practice, New York Medical College; Douglas Singer, Partner, Hollis Laidlaw & Simon PC; Jean Marie Connolly, Director of Strategic Development, Altium Wealth, and Dan Blum  CEO, ENT and Allergy Associates.

Rep. Mike Lawler recently met with BCW board members to discuss his legislative agenda and hear directly from business leaders about their priorities.

The first-term Republican, whose 17th Congressional District includes most of central and northern Westchester, outlined his policy agenda. At the December 18th meeting, Lawler addressed topics of importance to the BCW, including the state’s economy, education, energy and the nation’s foreign policy.

On New York’s economic future, Lawler said that the combination of a housing shortage for people of all income levels, the rising cost of energy for industry and high taxation have created an environment unfriendly to businesses and to state residents who lead the nation in outmigration.

Lawler urged the business sector to be more vocal on policies that hinder economic development.“The business community has the capability, the resources and the talent to drive the discussion and debate if there was a unified message,” said Lawler, who received a copy of the BCW’s 2023 legislative agenda.

On education, Lawler told board members that public education must consider non-college alternatives for teens and young adults who prefer to enter the workforce with high-paid trade skills. Lawler’s view aligns with the BCW’s recent efforts to open a construction trades training center in New Rochelle. “We’re educating kids to go to college, but not necessarily to work in a career,” said Lawler. “We should be doing much more to support vocational schools.”

On foreign policy, Lawler said that he has met several times with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to discuss immigration, a priority for that group. Lawler noted that he is married to an immigrant and does not oppose immigration. He stressed the need for a national process that does not tolerate the illegal entries at the southern border.

“It’s causing challenges to our municipalities—obviously New York City—but also in the Hudson Valley. East Ramapo school district in one year added a thousand new students, all migrants. That is unsustainable for municipalities,” said Lawler.

On energy, Lawler said that the state must use a combination of natural gas, nuclear, coal and petroleum during the transition to clean energy to avoid rising energy costs that hinder economic expansion. The BCW opposed the closure of the Indian Point Energy Center and continues to push for a state energy policy that embraces traditional energy sources until New York builds the essential green power infrastructure that will replace fossil fuels. The BCW will continue the energy-policy discussion in March during its annual Energy Conference.

Lawler’s visit capped a year of opportunities for board members to directly speak with elected officials. In 2023, the BCW’s Political Leadership Series and other signature events hosted visits from new state Assembly Members, County Legislators, and Gov. Kathy Hochul.

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