We’re Not Going Anywhere: An Open Letter To Our President On Behalf Of Upstate NY

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Dear Mr. President,

I was extremely disappointed to read your comments Wednesday, implying that Upstate New York residents should leave because of bad treatment by our state. Your following quotes were reported by the New York Post with regard to Upstate New York residents:

“If New York isn’t going to treat them better, I would recommend they go to another state where they can get a great job,” 

“I love those people… Those people are my voters. They’ve been treated very badly.”

As an Upstate New York resident and the author of The Urban Phoenix, an online publication that discusses smart urbanism and community growth in Upstate and beyond, I was extremely disheartened to see you, once again, tell our residents that they should leave. For years now, I have preached the importance of being the change we want to see in our communities here, encouraging entrepreneurial growth and highlighting community leaders who are working hard every day to make their cities and towns better places. These are women and men, Democrats & Republicans who just want to do what’s best for the places they live and the neighbors they serve every day. They put their political affiliations aside to stoke the new fire that is beginning to burn brightly again in our Upstate communities. We have a long way to go, but I assure you we are making progress. I have the pleasure of seeing it and reporting it every day.

Your comments diminish the hard work of these good New Yorkers, these good Americans who love where they live, and want to make it better. While I am no fan of yours, many of my regular readers and biggest supporters are.  Many of these folks live here because their families have done so for generations, and their communities are ingrained in their self definition. Many of them love our four vibrant seasons, our rich history, our friendly people, our good schools, and the fact that you need only drive 20 minutes outside of our interesting cities to reach the stunning natural landscapes, full of rolling hills, sparkling lakes and natural serenity.

Mr. Trump, Upstate New York is a great place to raise a family. While taxes are high and our job market is not where we’d like it to be just yet, we are working hard to tackle those issues. These aren’t changes that happen overnight… they require patience, fortitude and dedication from our citizens.

We have excellent schools and abundant access to an affordable college education for our children through the SUNY system. Our healthcare system is very strong, especially for kids. We have extremely affordable living, paired with easy access to strong community resources and networks. Our cities are starting to show signs of turning the corner after decades of decline. Our natural wonders are some of the greatest in the country, ushering millions of local, national and worldwide tourists every year.  We were at the forefront of abolishing slavery and a centerpiece in the women’s suffrage movement, just a few of our countless historical narratives.  Our Finger Lakes wine region is one of the country’s best.  Skiers, sportsmen and women and anyone who loves the great outdoors have a wealth of amazing options here.  We boast one of the most abundant sources of clean drinking water.  We have vibrant entertainment for people of all ages and walks of life.  Our dedicated farmers power an abundance of farmers markets in every town, giving our residents access to healthy local food as well as providing a meeting place for people to gather.

These are just a few of the countless reasons people choose to live in Upstate New York.  But the single most important reason we live here is because it’s our home.  Even when our taxes are high and our leaders don’t always make the decisions we like, it doesn’t change the fact that this is where we live, this is where families reside, and this is where our hearts are.  We fight for the betterment of our Upstate communities because it’s a part of who we are as Americans.  To leave would be to give up, to run away, to see the struggle and turn a blind eye… that’s not what our forefathers taught us.  We fight for our state because we know the cause is bigger than us, bigger than a better paycheck or a promised land.  We choose to stand our ground, hold our heads high and take care of own because this is our village, our town, our city, our New York.

Mr. President, instead of telling us to quit, to run, to flee because you fundamentally disagree with our leadership, I would invite you to take a different path.  Come to Upstate without agenda.  Spend a week here.  Listen to us, and help encourage Democrats and Republicans to come together for the sake of our shared communities.  Help us end the partisan fire instead of fueling it.  Encourage successful American companies to consider investing in New York and all that we have to offer.  Tell these companies that we have a strong, educated and hungry workforce ready to tackle any task.  Do the hard thing and give us the tools to empower our communities instead of flatly telling us to relocate.  Be the leader we need, be the visionary your constituents believe you are, and help New York take the next steps.

When you tell us to quit our state, you deeply insult all of us who are trying to make it better.  Do what you promised to do, and make us all great, no matter where we live.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Arian Horbovetz