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Voting Reforms

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul attends a news conference where Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to allow for advance voting, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has successfully bid to bring the National Lieutenant Governors Association's annual meeting to her hometown in western New York. 

Hochul announced on Wednesday that the organization's 2021 annual meeting will be held in Buffalo. The dates haven't been finalized, but the meeting will occur in July. 

"As someone who grew up in western New York, I have seen the transformation of New York's second-largest city up close, and I cherish the opportunity to showcase my hometown to fellow lieutenant governors from across our nation," Hochul said in a statement. 

In a bid letter sent to the National Lieutenant Governors Association, Hochul pledged to raise $130,000 and to work with the organization to "deliver an educational, nonpartisan, balanced budget meeting that will create a memory for you and your family. 

She also highlighted some of the recognition Buffalo has received over the last several years, including being named one of the 52 must-visit places in the world by the New York Times and one of People Magazine's 100 reasons to love America. 

Hochul attributed the city's resurgence to the state's "strategic investment." Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched the Buffalo Billion initiative to support economic development projects in the city and western New York region. 

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"We are embracing our historic past in Buffalo as we move forward with a 21st-century revival," Hochul said. "The western terminus of the Erie Canal is now Canalside, a family-friendly waterfront oasis that is bursting with activity all year long. Once-abandoned buildings like the Richardson-Olmsted Campus and the Darwin Martin House are now must-see architectural destinations for visitors from across the globe." 

The annual meeting of the National Lieutenant Governors Association, according to Hochul's office, is hosted by a member of the organization. The meetings are nonpartisan and seek to promote "a state and territorial focus on innovative plans for shared challenges, professional development, national and international exchange, and to achieve progress in areas of nonpartisan agreement among states and territories." 

The meeting in Buffalo will generate an estimated economic impact of nearly $400,000. Hochul's office noted that it will not only help local hotels and restaurants, but it will bring attention to the region. 

"Buffalo-Niagara has so much to offer to visitors from near and far, and Visit Buffalo Niagara looks forward to lieutenant governors from every corner of America exploring our great region," said Patrick Kaler, president and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara.

Hochul has served as New York's lieutenant governor since 2015. She joined Cuomo's ticket in 2014 when he was re-elected for a second term. The duo was re-elected in 2018. 

Before becoming the No. 2 official in New York state government, Hochul held federal and local government posts. She was a member of the Hamburg Town Board and served as Erie County clerk. In 2011, she won a special election to represent a portion of western New York in Congress. 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.