Oriskany, NY (WIBX) - Standing in front of a 9-11 Memorial at the New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany, Congressman Richard Hanna, (NY-22) echoed his support of the Center's mission and the renovation project underway."Training on the ground, individual training with firemen and policemen--and the state police has a training facility here--that's not going to change, there's still going to have to train people on the ground. And, this is one of the cheapest ways to do that. And it's unique, so I have to believe that the fact that it's so unique and special, will keep it alive and well and growing," Hanna said.

A "mall-like" structure is being built adjacent to the main building to expand the unique training program offered to Emergency First Responders. NYSPTC has partnered with the congressman for access to greater funding, so it can stay on track to double enrollment by 2013. Rachel McEneny, Deputy Commissioner for Public Affairs, says Hanna's expertise as a businessman in the construction industry, as well as his position on key committees, like the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, makes his involvement a crucial part of the overall project. "He really understands the plans and our vision of where we would like to take the State Preparedness Center; from an enrollment of over 5,000 per year, to really hitting a goal almost of 10,000 next year--we'd like to double enrollment here," McEneny said.

The Center offers training to agencies across the country "to prevent, prepare for, and respond to acts of terrorism," including how to respond to "Active Shooter" situations, similar to the recent movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that claimed the lives of 12 people and injuring 58 others.

The first-term congressman is facing two challengers in the November election for the newly redrawn 22-District: Democrat Dan Lamb and Michael Kicinski. Kicinski lost the GOP primary to Hanna but vowed to stay in the race as an independent.