OBSERVER Staff Report
On Thursday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will take a tour of the Fredonia State University high-technology incubator in the city of Dunkirk.
"We need to equip our brightest minds with tools needed to create innovative businesses and jobs," Gillibrand said in a press release.
Gillibrand, who will be joined by Fredonia State President Dr. Ginny Horvath, Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce President Todd Tranum, and Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce, is expected to announce federal legislation to spur the growth of new science and technology jobs in Western New York and across the state.
The bill Gillibrand is supporting, sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), is called HR-4720 America Innovates Act of 2012. The bill is designed to help scientists and researchers secure valuable resources and training to turn their discoveries into marketable products, new high-tech companies, and jobs, which coincides with the purpose of the incubator. According to Gillibrand's press release, the bill would help turn researchers into entrepreneurs, connect science and business expertise, translate discoveries into marketable products and create high-tech jobs.
Gillibrand's stop in Dunkirk is expected to occur around 3:45 p.m.
Mayor Dolce welcomes the visit. "I'm very excited that she's coming. I look forward to meeting her and hearing what she has to say," Dolce said. "I think it's important. My administration has made it a point to meet and keep in touch with Robert Fritzinger, the director of the incubator, and I think the senator's visit just highlights the importance of such a facility.
"We've worked with them on a couple of grants in conjunction with the college itself and also in terms of development projects," Dolce said.
Dolce said the incubator is an asset to the community. "They've also opened up the facility for public meetings. We've had the Dunkirk Local Development Corporation, and recently a Community Development Block Grant, meetings there. Robert Fritzinger has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he is willing to work with city officials to promote Dunkirk and Chautauqua county. He's a tremendous promoter of the region."
Fritzinger said her visit creates "a big day for us," and he supports the legislation. "We're delighted to have her. It's important legislation. It's a commitment at the federal level that will help institutes like incubator as well as our clients. It's a big for us"
(possible Tranum quote)
The bill is currently in the hands of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology since April 25. It must first move out of committee and pass the House of Representatives, then pass the Senate, after which it must be signed by the president to be enacted into law.