October 24, 2011

N.Y. State Senator Recalls Time at Cornell

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Speaking at Cornell Monday, New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio ’73 (R-54th District) said that, although he is proud to be a Cornellian, he was often frustrated by a political climate he identified as left-leaning during his time as an undergraduate.“It was very frustrating for me as a student in many ways, because of their understanding and sensitivity to one homogeneous thought process at the University geared toward a very liberal agenda,” Nozzolio said at the event, which was sponsored by the Cornell Republicans.Nozzolio also addressed the economic challenges faced by Upstate New York.Because Cornell has a $3 billion impact on the region, Nozzolio said, he wishes that research at Cornell spurred more  job development in the region.“There is great empirical research done at this University. There is great applied research done at [Cornell],” he said. “But frankly, there is not enough commercialization of the science and research done at this University.” Nozzolio attributed the decline of Upstate New York to the pressures the presence of New York City places on taxpayers elsewhere. “For the last 40 years, there has been a drain of political power from upstate to downstate due to policies that have created more burdens on property tax payers upstate, more burdens on businesses upstate [and] has basically eroded important job-creating industries,” he said.Still, Nozzolio expressed optimism about the economy of Upstate. He cited developing economic niches in the state, such as nanotechnology in Albany, environmental sciences in Syracuse, optics in Rochester and pharmacology in Buffalo. To further New York State’s economic development, Upstate New York should partner with New York City more often,  Nozzolio said.Turning the discussion to national politics, Nozzolio expressed dismay at the state of the nation under President Barack Obama.“People are realizing this was a mistake — that President Obama has been a mistake — whether it is the erosion of the rights of individuals, the rights of state governments, basic economic policies,” he said.He predicted that the Republican Party would fare much better in the elections of 2012. “I hope that people will see that no matter who the Republicans put up this year they will be head and shoulders above Barack Obama,” he said.Raj Kannappan ’13, president of the Cornell Republicans, echoed Nozzolio’s sentiments.“I think Obama has definitely been the most partisan president we have had, probably since Carter, and I do agree that a lot of the country has recognized the mistake they made in voting for him,” he said. Sadev Parikh ’14, who attended the event, disagreed with Nozzolio’s suggestion to commercialize research at Cornell.“I do not agree that Cornell should work on commercializing its science for the benefit of creating jobs. Obviously, it would be a nice by-product if that did happen, but I think that would compromise the integrity of our research and the University,” he said.But Parikh said he was glad to have attended the talk, and said he wished more students would participate in similar events, regardless of their party affiliation.“All Cornell students — even those who do not care about politics — could benefit from attending talks like this,” he said.

Original Author: Utsav Rai