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Governor Andrew Cuomo made the rounds in Upstate New York today, announcing the creation of three new Regional Economic Development Councils. Genesee County was announced as part of the nine-county Finger Lakes Regional, which also includes Orleans, Wyoming, Livingston, Monroe, Wayne, Seneca, Yates, and Ontario Counties.

Cuomo had campaigned on the promise of the REDC's, saying the councils would work to integrate local-level industrial development agencies. There are ten REDC's planning statewide, to be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy.

Only one Genesee County business representative was named to the Finger Lakes REDC. He is Charles Cook, the CEO of Liberty Pumps, Inc. in Bergen. Cook today declined any detailed comment on his purpose within the REDC; he says he needs to learn more about his role and the goals of the council.

However, he did call it an honor to be named a councilmember, and indicated he's ready to work.

"I am a member of the GCEDC board and I have some knowledge of what's going on business-wise around the county, with manufacturers in particular, but also with the agricultural community, and with retailers to some extent," Cook tells WBTA. He says it's no secret that New York State is a difficult business environment, and he's hoping to bring in some positive financial assistance from Albany.

"Some of the resources that had been available in the past have been taken away, such as the Empire Zone," Cook said. He hopes to get that program back, or at least something like it.

As far as his involvement, Cook indicates that his appointment to the council was likely a result of Liberty Pumps' excellent business ratings within the Rochester market: they have been Top 100 in Rochester, and a national Inc. Magazine 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies for nearly a decade.

Cook lives in North Byron.

Two local legislators are also being appointed to the Finger Lakes REDC. They are Mary Pat Hancock, Chair of the County Legislature; and Marianne Clattenburg, President of the Batavia City Council.

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