The man is back in town: President Obama visits Albany

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By Gabriella Levine

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama came to our neighboring city of Albany to tour the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s (CNSE) Albany NanoTech complex and give a speech on the economy and the role of technology in job creation. His speech was open to the public by invitation, and about 500 people were in attendance, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, local Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Chris Gibson (R-NY), State Senator Roy McDonald (R-NY), SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpfer and local Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings.

Obama delivered his speech inside NanoFab X, a $365 million computer chip manufacturing lab, which is in the process of being built by the University at Albany CSNE for manufacturing technology.

Governor Cuomo introduced Obama and noted his pride in New York State’s contribution to the economic prosperity of the nation.

“Mr. President, Albany is where the Hudson River meets the great Erie Canal—the 1817 innovation that made New York the global market place that it is. As we look to the next economic drive, it is fitting that NanoTech is birthed at this very same juncture,” Cuomo remarked.

Obama noted that the Capital Region is an ideal model for the nation because of its role in advanced manufacturing and its abundance of businesses from around the world that ultimately pave the way to job creation through the private sector.

“The reason I came here today is because this school [U-Albany] and this community represent the future of our economy. Right now, some of the most advanced manufacturing work in America is being done right here in Upstate New York. Cutting edge businesses from all over the world are deciding to build here and hire here,” Obama said.

Republican New York State Senator Roy McDonald recognized the significance of Obama’s visits to high-tech areas in the region: “In the Capital Region, you’ve got GE in Schenectady, GlobalFoundries in Saratoga, you’ve got IBM to the South of us, you’ve got RPI and Union… these are technology driven entities.”

Congressman Gibson agreed: “The fact that the president is here today… he could have gone anywhere. Out of 50 states, he chose to come right here, and this is something that we can all be very proud of.”

Obama explained that his administration has made many strides in aiding the overall economy and spurring the kind of innovation in science and technology displayed in the Capital Region through.

“Because of the Recovery Act, because of all the work we’ve done, we’ve created over four million jobs in the last two years and 100s of thousands of jobs in the last few months. We’re making progress, but we need to do more,” Obama urged.

In order to create more jobs and repair the economy at a quicker rate, Obama pressed for bipartisan support, and argued that his measures would be made possible through the “bold actions” of Congress.

He supplied Congress with a short five-point “To-Do List” Post-It note that was displayed on large screen TV’s for the audience to see.

“It’s about the size of a Post-It Note so every member of Congress should have time to read it,” the president joked.

The list included legislation creating a Veteran Job Corps to help service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to find work, a measure to help homeowners refinance their homes at lower interest rates, new tax credits for small businesses and companies to develop clean energy and eliminating tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas.

“Albany, we’ve got a long way to go,” Obama said. “You’re investing in your future. You’re not going backwards, you’re going forward. If we work together with a common purpose, I have no doubt that we can keep moving this country forward and remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest country on earth.”

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