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Unshackle Upstate chooses new leader

Michael Kracker
Michael Kracker

Unshackle Upstate, the non-partisan, pro-economic growth business coalition representing Upstate New York, has tapped Buffalo resident Michael Kracker as its new executive director.

Kracker previously worked in several senior positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, including as deputy chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Chris Collins. Kracker is a 2010 graduate of SUNY  Geneseo with a degree in political science.

“As a lifelong Upstate New Yorker, I’m all too aware of the struggles that our hardworking residents must face every day,” Kracker said in a news release. “Sky-high taxes and energy costs, burdensome red tape and costly state mandates are just some of the factors that hurt the upstate economy. I’m excited to lead Unshackle Upstate’s efforts to improve our economy and fight for a brighter future for my fellow Upstate New Yorkers.”

Kracker will lead the organization’s advocacy efforts in Albany and across the state, strengthen its partnerships with allied organizations and “raise awareness about the extraordinary challenges facing upstate businesses and taxpayers.”

“Unshackle Upstate plays a critical role in effectively advocating for upstate employers and taxpayers, and this responsibility requires a strong, experienced leader. I am very pleased we have found such a person in Michael Kracker,” said Dottie Gallagher, president and CEO of Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “Michael has an acute understanding of politics at all levels of government and an appreciation for how policy impacts employers and hardworking taxpayers across upstate for better or worse.”

Bob Duffy, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, said Kracker has a long history of work in the public sector that positions him well to represent the interests of upstate business.

“I have every bit of confidence that his candor, his experience and his energy are a formula for success,” Duffy said.

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Airports receive infrastructure funding

aeroplane-aircraft-airplane-46148The Greater Rochester International Airport and Canandaigua Airport have been awarded U.S. Department of Transportation funding for improvements to ensure the longevity of the airports’ infrastructures.

Rochester’s airport will receive $3.01 million to rehabilitate a runway, an access road and a tarmac. Additionally, $150,000 was granted to conduct an environmental impact study to evaluate any potential impacts related to a proposed taxiway extension project.

The Canandaigua Airport will receive $644,000 to construct a snow removal equipment building to extend the life of the equipment by protecting it from adverse weather conditions.

“Our region’s airports play a considerable role in our daily lives. Whether it is moving cargo or people, we have to make sure they are functional and safe,” said Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, whose district also includes parts of the Rochester region. “Not only do our airports get us from one place to another, they support millions of jobs across the nation and keep America competitive.”

The Niagara Falls International Airport and the Buffalo Niagara International Airport also have been slated to receive U.S. DOT funding.

“The airport infrastructure grants will provide these airports with the ability to make improvements that could ultimately increase air traffic,” Collins said.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer