TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Newly elected Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin gave one of his first public addresses Wednesday at the annual State of the County breakfast.
Rensselaer County Executive McLaughlin has been in office for just two weeks, and he says he has already spent much of his time working with and meeting business leaders. He says he is going to do everything he can to honor the heritage of Rensselaer County as a birthplace for rapid growth, technological and societal changes and prosperity.
Wednesday morning, McLaughlin elaborated on his top three priorities moving forward, first and foremost, growing the economy and making the county as business-friendly as possible.
“Saratoga is the number one investment county in the State,” said McLaughlin. “I know they have the racetrack and downtown, but we have a great downtown. We have a lot more going for us. I love Saratoga, but I want to be #1.”
McLaughlin says he already has a few projects in the works for areas that need a little bit more attention.
“I’ve focused on what we would call corridors of growth like 9 and 20 is an area out in Schodack ready to grow,” said McLaughlin. “Route 7 up the road here in Brunswick is already growing and booming. North Greenbush is growing while maintaining beautiful rural county.”
McLaughlin says he is specifically hoping to redevelop the massive, old K-Mart site on 9 and 20 into a training center for child care and domestic violence, which would bring experts in from all over.
“Since they’re coming in from all over the state and country, that’s going to help revitalize our hotel occupancy, hopefully, see some restaurants pop up,” said McLaughlin.
Second, McLaughlin is looking to tackle the opioid addiction crisis and says he’ll be looking for an outreach coordinator.
“What I see is a lot of really great ideas and great heart around this opioid crisis,” said McLaughlin. “But right now we have so many different groups we almost need a clearinghouse. If some parent needs help for their child or some individual says ‘I need help, I need to take care of this’, they don’t know where to go. It’s not clear enough where to go.”
“Infrastructure to me is the spine of your economy, and if you don’t have a healthy spine, you don’t have a healthy body.”
In summary, McLaughlin says he is pledging to revitalize and reenergize the County government.