Newsmaker of the month: Dunkirk gets attention in state

Rosas helps build city’s clout

Rosas helps build city’s clout

New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo rarely shows emotion publicly — good or bad. That being said, he seems to have a special fondness for the city of Dunkirk.

In his first visit here in December 2013, he was overcome by the more 500 area residents who packed the Clarion Hotel Marina & Conference Center to make the announcement regarding NRG Energy Inc. He enjoyed his visit so much, local officials remember, he shared the special moment with many in Albany.

In February 2016, he returned to announce the Athenex project. Again, a crowd of more than 500 were in attendance at the city high school as was a rising star of the local Democrats: Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas.

Last month, Rosas was in North Tonawanada to receive $2.5 million of funding for the waterfront as part of the Smart Growth awards from New York state. In the photo that ran on the front page, Cuomo practically has Rosas almost in a headlock, above, during the check presentation.

Who was Dunkirk — or this region’s — last mayor to have that type of relationship with the state’s top official? Hardly no one.

Because of Rosas’ dedication to constantly networking with state representatives and leaders in Buffalo, Albany and New York, he has Dunkirk on Albany’s radar. That’s tremendously important in having this city — and region — take positive steps forward.

We’ve seen the turnaround and new attitude in Buffalo. Dunkirk has many of those pieces, but lacks the momentum for major change. It is, however, on the cusp.

Thanks to Rosas and his efforts that force him to be on the road, rewards have been beginning to appear at home.