At least two local legislators are issuing a challenge to one gubernatorial candidate, and in so doing are proving that the fight to support Utica, and the emerging nanotechnology industry in the Mohawk Valley, is crossing party lines.

In advance of several public appearances scheduled in Utica today, Republican candidate Rob Astorino answered questions on WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning about many topics, not the least of which included his thoughts on Nano Utica.

When asked about the potential growth happening in the Mohawk Valley, Astorino said, "Well, there really isn't a recovery there...and...just like everything going on in this state, it's smoke and mirrors...just intended to get past November; that's what this governor is all about."

Here is the full interview with Astorino:   

Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi appeared later on the program and took issue with the comments made by Astorino, said, "I would encourage him while he is in town, and I would encourage the Chamber while they are having him here, to take him up to SUNYIT, or SUNY Poly, take a look at the Nano Utica project, I'd a tour by Griffiss and (see) some of the money the state has put into that NUAIR project...I'd encourage the Chamber to take him the Auditorium to see some of the state funding that is going into renovating the Auditorium for the Comets.  And while they're driving by they can pass along the Arterial and look at that $80 million dollar project that the state is investing in the area.  So, the Governor's been very good for our area and...I do worry [about] the possibility of a Rob Astorino governorship and what he would do for our area...If he's poo-pooing nanotech and the future of our area depends on some of these initiatives then that's a big problem for us."

The comments made by Rob Astorino, who along with being a paid consultant for WIBX's parent company Townsquare Media is also the Westchester County Executive, drew criticism from his fellow Republican colleague, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr.

Upon hearing the interview with Astorino, spokesman James Genovese sent the following response from Picente:

Anthony Picente Photo Credit: Kristine Bellino, WIBX / Townsquare Media

"I was deeply disturbed by Mr. Astorino’s erroneous comments made today on your station. To call Nano smoke and mirrors is a poor political attack that has no basis in fact. We have seen monumental gains over the last two years. Quad C is being constructed and 1500 people are slated to work there. We have seen a high profile merger between SUNY IT and SUNY CNSE to create a world class institution known as SUNY PI. We have received a wetlands permit to continue work on Marcy Nanocenter Site... In addition Nano Utica continues to be a top priority project for the Regional Economic Development Council. Oneida County has done the responsible thing for over 15 years and prepared a long term strategy to reinvent an economy and we stand at the door step of that reinvention. For Mr. Astorino, who I have known for years, to take a cheap shot at that investment to score political points is extremely disappointing.

WIBX will provide coverage of Astorino's stops in the Mohawk Valley today and permit him the opportunity to respond to the statements by Assemblyman Brindisi and County Executive Picente.

Photo Credit: Jim Rondenelli, WIBX / Townsquare Media


UPDATE 09/22/2014 2:44pm: 




Astorino is simply not buying Nano Utica and the #NanoUtica campaign.  Perhaps most succinct is a comment on Twitter from Astorino's campaign manager, Michael Lawler:

Clearly only time will tell who is correct in the debate and whether the nanotech glass is really half-empty or half-full.