County Executive Bellone Hosts SBU Town Hall Meeting
At a Stony Brook University Town Hall meeting held on October 8, 2013, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone encouraged Stony Brook University (SBU) students to stay on Long Island after graduation. Bellone discussed the disturbing trend of young people leaving Long Island as a result of high-cost housing, high taxes and the lack of well-paying jobs. County Executive Bellone said his administration is working to reverse the decades-long “brain drain” by focusing on the creation of downtown areas near easily-accessible transportation that is more attractive to young professionals. He cited his initiative, “Wyandanch Rising,” a housing and retail project near the Long Island Railroad’s Wyandanch station and similar projects planned for Hicksville, Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma that are designed to meet the needs of young Long Islanders beginning their careers.
“Young professionals want to live in walkable, downtown communities with restaurants, shops and affordable housing that are located near mass transportation. The need for better transportation, affordable rental housing and open public spaces for families is intertwined and must move forward together in order to make Suffolk County and Long Island a place where young professionals want to live and work,” County Executive Bellone said. He went on to add that “Stony Brook University is producing a highly-trained workforce through a world-class education and research institution and I am working to provide SBU graduates with the work/life environment that will encourage them to stay on Long Island.”
“I am grateful that County Executive Bellone took the time to meet with our students so they understand that our students and our recent graduates are the focus of his efforts to build Suffolk County into a strong economic region with quality, high-paying employment opportunities,” said SBU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “I’m also pleased that the County Executive will partner with the University as we launch the Start UP NY program that will create a tax-free environment for start-up and high-tech businesses choosing to locate on SUNY campuses. These new businesses will create learning opportunities for our students while they are enrolled at Stony Brook University and jobs for them after they graduate.”
The County Executive also encouraged students to become involved in government, by pursuing careers in public service or by being engaged citizens. He referenced the current gridlock in Washington, D.C. and noted that a similar lack of cooperation at all levels of government thwarts progress. He told students that their new ideas and new attitudes are critical to the future success of the region and the nation.