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By Jimmy Viekland

July 26, 2011

During a swing through Upstate America, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the members of Regional Economic Councils covering Western New York, the Finger Lakes and Central New York.

Cuomo first promised these councils in January, and is finally unveiling their make-up after announcing “phase II” of his administration last week, with a top priority of “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Each council is co-vice chaired by an academic leader and area business owner. Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy will chair all three counties, including the 10 below. They are tasked with developing strategic plans that will compete for up to $1 billion in state funding from various streams, to be awarded in December.

Cookie-cutter happy quote:

“For too long, Albany has imposed one-size-fits-all economic development plans across the state, ignoring the unique assets and challenges of each region,” Governor Cuomo said. “Today, we are taking a new approach. With the Regional Councils, we will empower individual areas like to chart their own course for job creation and growth and we will send a clear message that New York is open for business.”

Cuomo isn’t taking questions at any of his events. A list of the members of the three councils is below. Not a shocker: they contain people who have donated money to Cuomo’s campaigns and are members of the Committee to Save New York, a pro-Cuomo coalition that dwarfed everybody in lobbying spending this year. It spent just under $10 million. (A Cuomo aide called to note a “vast majority” of the council members are not donors.)

ALIGN-NY, a left-leaning group of community organizations, said it felt the list could be more representative.

“The Council could have been much more diverse and inclusive of the community, labor, environmental and small business stakeholders that are directly impacted by economic development decisions,” said Nathalie Alegre, an organizer with ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York. “We are pleased to see some reform-minded individuals among the appointments made today and strongly advocate for more diverse voices to be included in working groups for each region.”

A local source told me that the Capital Region’s council will be announced Thursday or Friday.

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