Governor Hochul: “This council, which will be co-chaired by both our Secretaries of State, will have administrative officials from both sides…This is the first time we've had literally members of your cabinet and my cabinet sitting together to talk about trade and tourism, economic development, emergency response and recovery, as well as technology and life sciences.”
Hochul: “Our ties are close, they're very strong, they get stronger every time we have a chance to work together. And that is my commitment…that we'll continue to be a strong, strong partner, your ally, whether it's dealing with your issues in Washington…how we can work together to head off the ill effects of Mother Nature oftentimes, but also to stimulate both of our economies by working together.”
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul and Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi launched the New York State and Puerto Rico Economic Opportunity Advisory Council, a group of administration officials appointed by Governor Hochul and Governor Pierluisi, to strengthen ties between New York and Puerto Rico and advance shared economic priorities. The council will explore, propose, and help implement policies to strengthen the New York and Puerto Rican economies.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Gracias and buenos días. It's so wonderful to be back here, this is my third trip as the Governor of the State of New York to join with you. A dear friend of mine since our days in Congress. I think we both agree we're in a far, far better place as governors than as members of Congress, but that's just an editorial comment. But we've worked closely together.
We have a lot of shared interests, and not just in constituencies where I am very proud to represent nearly one million Puerto Ricans in the City of New York and the State of New York, but also to come here and find areas where we can collaborate and use our resources together — our collective knowledge — to better the lives of people here on the island and in our state.
I also want to acknowledge our Secretaries of State who are here as well. My own, Robert Rodriguez, thank you for spearheading this initiative with your compatriot here in Puerto Rico, our Secretary, Omar Marrero Díaz. I thank both of them for their willingness to step up and lead this initiative.
You know, as we come here together, it does remind us of not just that connection in good times, but also in the most troubling times. You know, whether it's a severe weather event, extreme weather events where the island is battered with hurricanes and earthquakes, we'll always be there to help. But also, in the good times as well as we talk about fostering collaborations that'll lead to more business opportunities, more economic development and more jobs being created. And that's something we both focus on very seriously.
You laid out the parameters of what we're talking about here, but this council, which will be co-chaired by both our Secretaries of State, will have administrative officials from both sides. I mean, this is the first time we've had literally members of your cabinet and my cabinet sitting together to talk about trade and tourism, economic development, emergency response and recovery, as well as technology and life sciences.
So we're going to focus on these areas, life science in particular. It's a huge area of investment in the State of New York. We've done a lot where it's paying off because our own life science companies have grown by over 15 percent in the last couple of years. Jobs have grown by 18 percent. We have 3 million square feet for lab space in New York alone.
But why not bring some of those ideas to Puerto Rico? So, we can also take from you, areas where you may be doing better and flourishing. We're going to help our startups, our investors, and find more potential for growth here as well. But also, we think about the digital divide. It is real. This is a barrier, whether it's in rural New York or in rural Puerto Rico and working together, and with the resources from the federal government and our own states and commonwealth, we also know that anyone who's left behind is really on the wrong side of the digital divide – that they won't have the same business opportunities to innovate a concept and be able to sell it commercially, online. Or young people trying to apply for college or student aid, or someone trying to file their taxes.
All these things that you take for granted if you don't have it. It's like air. You never think about air, you breathe it naturally. But if you're gasping for air and don't have access to clean air, then you're on the wrong side. And that's what we're talking about, bringing everyone to the side where they can breathe fresh air and breathe in the possibilities of having full internet access.
So that's what we're going to focus on. Our ties are close, they're very strong, they get stronger every time we have a chance to work together. And that is my commitment to you, Governor, that we'll continue to be a strong, strong partner, your ally, whether it's dealing with your issues in Washington, of which there are a number, and I'll be your ally. But also, how we can work together to head off the ill effects of Mother Nature oftentimes, but also to stimulate both of our economies by working together.
So thank you very much for hosting us. And our Secretaries of State will speak as well.