One voice benefits all


New York state Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has a close connection with Chautauqua County. As a Buffalo-area resident, she has spent many summers enjoying the wonder and beauty of our region as well as Chautauqua Lake.

Hochul also understands an important dynamic. If something is good for Jamestown, it is good for Dunkirk and vice versa. She said as much during a stop at the National Comedy Center last week.

“I think what’s important is that there not be a distinction between the northern part of the county and the southern part,” she said. “The synergies have to be coexistent. One area cannot do better than the other.

“It’s similar to New York state. It shouldn’t be upstate and downstate because we are one balance sheet, one identity. It’s the same with Chautauqua County. … A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Our divide, still quite relevant, dates back to the 1800s. In fact, the first edition of the Dunkirk Evening Observer in 1882 laments how “jealous and egotistical Jamestown” too often belittles the north county region.

Of course in those days, a trip between the two cities was much longer than the 35 to 40 minutes it takes today. Now, the two communities — as Hochul noted — need to understand if one community is thriving, that will benefit the other.

A major step was taken in 1999 to merge the separate north and south Chambers of Commerce to have one voice for the region and the business community. That role was also significant and effective, especially through chief executive officer Todd Tranum’s work, in helping Fredonia win the “Small Business Revolution.”

Nearly everyone, even those from Cherry Creek to French Creek, celebrated that win. Because, when it comes to bettering where we live, we’re all in this together.


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