This is the 10th year that the Partnership has worked with our municipal partners and community organizations to craft the regional agenda - and it's interesting to look at how the world of economic development has changed since we started back in 2002:
On the federal and state levels, we've been through in Republican-Democrat flips in congressional and state majorities, the governor's mansion and the White House - and, thus, experienced different approaches to earmarks ("pork"), economic development policy, and how projects are funded.
Locally, we've worked with terrific partners, all of whom may have had different philosophies and priorities, but understood the importance of the collaborative regional effort.
We've been through boom and bust times for economic development spending, having to weed our way through a recession and make the most out of federal stimulus funding.
And even will be communicating the Regional Agenda in vastly different way than we ever have before - not relying on press releases and traditional media, but using blogs, Facebook and Twitter to highlight the projects and policy requests that top the list.
That being said, a lot stays the same. The process of developing the agenda is consistent, the Partnership will continue to lead the advocacy efforts through face-to-face lobbying visits to Washington and Albany, and initiatives that have been emphasized on the agenda in years past - such as UB2020 and the Peace Bridge Expansion Project - take center stage for 2011.
Though an extensive amount of work goes into the Regional Agenda each year, we think of today's roll-out not as the end of something, but as the beginning. The job ahead of us now is to see the items on the agenda implemented, and that will be our focus in our lobbying efforts for the rest of this year and into 2011. We'll be counting on our members' voice and involvement, as well.