Governor Hochul: "I've had this underlying question. Will this pandemic have the same impact as 9/11 did on inspiring the next generation to want to be part of the helping professions to help people in their darkest hour? People who are scared, frightened with contracting COVID and the unknown. What that's going to do for their family and their health and are they going to survive? And what about their elderly parents in nursing homes? This took a toll on the human psyche without a doubt. And it was the healthcare workers who had their own anxieties and their own children and their own parents who are endangered by them, putting on a uniform and going into literally the flames of this raging fire. And they did it with such courage and with every fiber of my body, I'm going to continue thanking them for what they did, the sacrifice. They couldn't dial in, they couldn't do it remotely, they couldn't check out. They had to show up. And I hope that your stories, those of you are in this noble profession, will inspire others to join and we need them so desperately. So this is the place they can come that you've created."
Earlier this morning, Governor Hochul delivered remarks at Binghamton University's Grand Opening of Decker School of Nursing and Health Sciences' Downtown Johnson City Campus.
AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.
PHOTOS are available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
"Good morning, it is wonderful to see you back here amid a sea of green. Harvey, first of all, you are living proof that who our leaders are truly makes a difference. And what you have seen in this community, maybe from your time of, out of the area, but coming back and your time in Buffalo. And now here, you have been the kind of visionary that this area has been crying out for, for a long time. You saw the potential in this university to take it to a place that decades ago, people in when this first started in 1960, -65, people could not have imagined that we are positioned as a world-class University that attracts people and professors and staff and researchers from around the globe to come to this tiny but important community.
So ladies and gentlemen, let's give a round of applause to Harvey Stanger for his leadership. And yes, I've been here so many times. Please don't tell all the other counties how much time I spent in Broome County. A mother cannot play favorites to her children. These are all my kids, but I've also come to know your extraordinary leaders at the state level as well. And I want to thank people like Donna Lupardo who's been a champion for everything this community has needed and with a loud and impactful voice. Fighting for the cannabis industry, fighting for our farmers and have new opportunities fighting for our downtowns, fighting for conversion of the library in downtown, abandoned retail space into housing.
We have been through so many events together and I want to thank her for her leadership. You have also had a profound impact on his community, Donna Lupardo.
And Senator Fred Akshar, I want to thank him for his passion that he brings to the causes that are important to his district. Particularly his fight and the issue of heroin, opioid addiction, and abuse. Truly a statewide leader. We're going to continue partnering together on that and many other issues. So Senator Akshar, thank you for all you do.
I know our county executive's not here work closely with Jason Garner, but Mike Ponticello. Thank you, our deputy for being here. I came out of local government, 14 years and in a town, and then County government. So I have a special place in my heart for the mayors of small towns. So, Greg Deemie, thank you for, stepping up and serving as the mayor of this great community. And our provost Mario Ortiz.
This place is extraordinary. It is extraordinary. And what a place that people are going to want to be educated, but hopefully stay. We're trying to expand our faculty and try to bring more people here and you have to give them a beautiful building and you've accomplished that.
For those who came past this building for decades when it was abandoned, I'm from Buffalo, I know what abandoned buildings look like, but I also know what transformation looks and feels like. It changes the psyche of a community when you can see a building that was there to make boxes for Endicott Johnson Shoes, a globally recognized name. Of course, you don't think about it, but the boxes have to be there for the shoes and they are made in this very factory.
So many of the people in this room have a legacy, a connection to this because their grandparents may have worked there, or their older parents. And this is part of the fabric of this community. And to see this conversion into a place that before the pandemic, we knew it was important to have a great nursing school and a pharmacy school and a medical campus, a healthcare campus, but boy, this pandemic taught us something. That we had to be prepared, we have to have people that have first rate educations and we need more of those people. We have been facing shortages and I was just talking to Harvey about what has it been like here during the pandemic?
And I had this vision. After 9/11, we saw so many people that were inspired by the events of that day to become first responders, firefighters, EMTs, police officers, or others who decided they wanted to fight global terrorism by becoming a member of our armed forces and going over to places like Iraq and Afghanistan. And my question has always been as I help deal with the upstate response of this pandemic and speaking with so many thousands of people, healthcare workers, hospital leaders, local health departments, Broome County Health Department, thank you for all you did. As we set up vaccination sites, I came here to set up the vaccination site.
I've had this underlying question. Will this pandemic have the same impact as 9/11 did on inspiring the next generation to want to be part of the helping professions to help people in their darkest hour? People who are scared, frightened with contracting COVID and the unknown. What that's going to do for their family and their health and are they going to survive? And what about their elderly parents in nursing homes? This took a toll on the human psyche without a doubt. And it was the healthcare workers who had their own anxieties and their own children and their own parents who are endangered by them, putting on a uniform and going into literally the flames of this raging fire.
And they did it with such courage and with every fiber of my body, I'm going to continue thanking them for what they did, the sacrifice. They couldn't dial in, they couldn't do it remotely, they couldn't check out. They had to show up. And I hope that your stories, those of you are in this noble profession, will inspire others to join and we need them so desperately. So this is the place they can come that you've created. The timing was perfect for young people looking to say, what do I want to do with my life? How do I want to use my talents? I can come to this incredible place where the smartest and the best minds are working together to teach the next generation on everything from dealing with a pandemic, to how we deal with pain management, so we don't have another generation of people addicted to prescription painkillers. How many things could we be doing right here on this very campus that's going to have an impact in people's lives and in their communities and ultimately the world. Yes, this is a nice ribbon cutting.
It's a great day to celebrate, but I want you to understand the larger framework that I see this as the leader of this state, on how this is going to address a critical need that we have right now, and that is educating more people, young and old, to leave their current profession to come here.
There's a program you can have a different degree in within a year, become a nurse. Is that right? Did I get that right, Harvey? That's incredible. We need to get that out for people, who've also had the pandemic eliminate their jobs. A lot of people are still floundering. The jobs they always knew is gone.
Why not look at the opportunity to bring back the health of people in need? So that's what this is about. That's why even before, when the decisions were made and we decided to invest the money necessary for this entire campus, which is substantial, but it was well worth it. And also to continue leading the fight against this pandemic, right here on this very campus.
And I want to thank everybody involved in this. We are, we are right now trying to get vaccinations out to more people. I watch the numbers like a hawk, and I want you to know we have a little work to do here and Broome County, Southern tier. You have got to work with me on this team. I don't want to have to call you out, but our infection rate in Broome County right now is about 3.2%.
It's good. I was in Manhattan yesterday, 0.67%. There are other parts of the state where people are wearing masks more often, people are getting vaccinated and all of that is there. We're not in that desperate situation we were a year ago. We didn't even have a vaccine available to us.
It is there and all of us have a moral responsibility to work with others who are hesitant and let them know that we want them to join the ranks of the people who are going to have their health and that they should do this for themselves and their families.
Also the number of people that are fully vaccinated in Broome County, right now it's 67% fully vaxxed 18 and older statewide it's 77.9%. And even first doses, we're at almost 87% in the state for first doses. We're making a big difference. I need this area to step up for me. We can do this, and we cannot declare victory over this pandemic until we hit higher numbers of people being vaccinated.
And then we don't have to worry about masks and all these other restrictions, we can liberate our kids. We can liberate everybody. We can liberate our businesses from any restrictions are out there. But we're just not there yet, my friends. And so I want to thank everybody for being part of this tremendous story.
I'm proud to be here. I also toured the pharmacy school during the pandemic and thanking the individuals who are literally working so hard day and night to make sure that the vaccines are available as well as other life-saving illnesses. So this is a high priority for me. And next week and we hopefully get the good news from the CDC and the FDA that we can get vaccines out to children.
I'm gonna need everybody here to help explain to parents that this is just like what they did to let their precious babies head off to kindergarten. They've been vaccinated before. This is not a radical concept. And so that's the message we have to get out. So our kids in school can finally be little kids again and just play and not worry about this.
The vaccine will give them and their parents that sense of security. So are we in this? We're going to get this done. Yes, we are. Thank you. Thank you very much.
To demonstrate my interest in getting the booster shot, I'm willing to do it right in front of the audience here. As soon as we get the ribbon cutting, done. I knew that. So I'm just getting you psyched up to see that we're going to be doing the ribbon cutting, and then I'll be getting the booster shot as well.
So hold on everybody."