Councils offer hope for economic vitality


As ideas go, we think Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order, announced last week at SUNY Old Westbury, creating 10 state regional economic development councils, including one for Long Island, is brilliant. The concept of streamlining the development process — now a byzantine maze of bureaucracy — may be of great value.

But the real strengths of Cuomo’s councils are that each derives its insights from local people, their plans spring from local constituents, their mission is to solve local problems and their direction comes from smart, circumspect, nonpartisan community leaders.

The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council is co-chaired by Hofstra University’s president, Stuart Rabinowitz and the president of the Long Island Association, Kevin Law.

We’re confident that this grass-roots approach to development and job growth in the state — as opposed to the current top-down, state-agency-based model — will be a more effective way to establish the priorities and define the relationships required to support smart and sustainable economic growth in our communities.

Long Island has resources that, if fully appreciated and exploited, can make us the Silicon Valley of the East. In Silicon Valley, innovative ideas that sprang from university research produced a new model of economic sustainability, and the same thing can happen in Nassau County. In one field alone — bioscience — the Island has everything necessary to become the state’s epicenter of high-level research.

And consider our resources as a leading postgraduate health and research destination: Hofstra’s new medical school, in addition to its world-class university and law school; Nassau Community College and its new Life-Sciences Center and nursing school; and other colleges and universities, from Stony Brook to Molloy (and its top-notch nursing school) to Adelphi and LIU-C.W. Post, to name just a few.

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