A bipartisan caucus of state lawmakers focused on upstate issues was formed on Wednesday in order to push concerns ranging from the health of the region's economy to education and government reform.
The caucus will be co-led by Republican Sen. Daphne Jordan and Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabara.
“This new caucus presents the first time Upstate leaders from both parties have united to seek holistic government reform in a bipartisan manner," Jordan said in a statement. "I’m proud to lead this effort with Assemblymember Santabarbara and so many of our colleagues. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves, reach across the aisle and get this done!”
The caucus was formed as part of the Upstate Jobs Party, an independent ballot line that has endorsed Republicans and Democrats in recent election cycles.
The caucus in Albany will focus on skills-based education issues, economic development reform and bolstering innovation. So far, 10 lawmakers have joined -- five Democrats in the state Assembly and five Republicans in the state Senate.
“As Upstate legislators, we share challenges that rise above party lines," Santabarbara said. "From agriculture to tourism, our region provides invaluable resources and unique industries that will be key to building a brighter future for our entire state. I’m eager to work with Senator Jordan and colleagues from both parties to advance a comprehensive agenda this legislative session that takes on the issues facing our upstate communities and builds back our economy stronger than ever.”