On Jan. 3, Gov. Eliot Spitzer delivered his first State of the State Address. I thought his speech was bold and inspiring.

For the first time in 12 years, we finally have a governor who truly understands the challenges we’re facing in Western New York.

Spitzer brings vitality, confidence and strong leadership to the state’s executive office. He promises to be a hard-working governor who will revitalize our economy and bring positive change to government.

The Assembly now has a partner in the executive office who shares many of our values and goals. And with this new partner, we have an opportunity to build on the Assembly’s record of fighting for the things that matter most to our families.

For years, the Assembly has pushed for reform legislation to improve the way the state operates. We’re happy to finally have someone in the governor’s office to help make reform a reality. For example, the Legislature and the governor reached a three-way agreement to make the budget process more open and accountable. From now on, “lump sum” member items will be eliminated and individual grants will be clearly outlined in the budget. In addition, the Legislature will be required to hold public conference committees to discuss changes too the budget. I commend the new governor for working with the Legislature to increase transparency in state government.

Spitzer also has promised to make the revitalization of upstate New York one of his top priorities. We all know the No. 1 challenge facing Western New York is the state of our economy. Spitzer plans to open a new branch of the Empire State development Corp. in Buffalo with its own upstate economic development czar. He also plans to increase the amount of state aid to distressed municipalities and to require better fiscal management.

The governor’s actions are a step in the right direction on the long road to economic recovery.

Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte represents the 138th Assembly District.

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