Speaker Carl Heastie today visited Rochester with Assemblymember Jamie Romeo as part of the speaker's annual statewide tour. Together they visited Irondequoit Square (I-Square), United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) who are on strike, the Repurpose & More Store and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the University of Rochester.
"My statewide tour gives me the opportunity to see firsthand the impact that our work in the Assembly has on families and communities," Speaker Heastie said. "The work being done at the LLE ripples through the upstate economy, supporting STEM education, innovation and the creation of jobs. Meanwhile, the Repurpose & More Store and the Child Care Council of Rochester are helping parents and childcare providers give our kids the best start for a successful future. I was proud to take time to stand in solidarity with our UAW brothers and sisters, and call on GM to start puting people over profits."
"I am so proud to show Speaker Heastie the innovation going on here in Rochester," Assemblymember Romeo said. "From efforts to create an environmentally friendly place for the community to gather, to helping parents and childcare providers best serve our children to working with some of the most powerful lasers in the world. We will continue to work to support our communities and families here in Rochester and across the state."
Speaker Heastie and Assemblymember Romeo first stopped at I-Square, a destination for the community with restaurants, rooftop gardens, an outdoor amphitheater, brewery and office space. It has also implemented eco-friendly practices including EV charging stations, geo-thermal systems and other sustainable efforts. The Imaginarium, which is part of I-Square has a net-zero energy goal.
Together, Speaker Heastie and Assemblymember Romeo visited the picket line at the General Motors (GM) plant in Rochester where UAW members are on strike. As contract negotiations broke down between UAW and GM, 49,000 UAW members at 55 GM plants across the country have gone out on strike. More than 800 of those workers are at the Rochester plant. The UAW members are striking to have provisions including fair wages and affordable healthcare included in their contract.
The third stop was to the Repurpose & More Store at the Child Care Council of Rochester with CEO Barbara-Ann Mattle. The Repurpose & More Store offers childcare providers and parents unique items like wood, fabric, foam and poster board that would otherwise end up in a landfill. The Child Care Council provides information, training and resources to child care providers and parents in Monroe, Livingston and Wayne Counties. In New York State, 60 percent of people live in a childcare desert or in an area with no childcare services or high waitlists. Earlier this year, the Child Care Council of Rochester was awarded a grant through the New York State Birth Through Five Project to identify challenges and assess the region's child care needs.
Finally, Speaker Heastie and Assemblymember Romeo toured the LLE at the University of Rochester. The LLE is the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) largest university based program in the nation. In addition to being home to the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics, LLE has the largest and most powerful lasers at an academic instution in the world, the OMEGA and OMEGA EP. More than 500 PhD candidates have come to the LLE to conduct their research, including more than 200 from outside the University of Rochester. In addition, the LLE employs more than 350 scientists, engineers and support staff, in addition to 100 students. The Center for Government Research estimates that LLE and its employees contribute to an additional 500 jobs across Upstate New York.