Keeping Binghamton's brains in town

By WBNG News

July 23, 2013 Updated Jul 24, 2013 at 12:15 AM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Convincing Binghamton's young and educated to stay in the area is a challenge one mayoral candidate said could solve some of the city's biggest problems.

Republican mayoral candidate Ed Hickey says the loss of highly educated workers puts a strain on the entire city.

"We need to start promoting Binghamton as if Binghamton is a business," Hickey said. "Rather than just letting people meander along and not appreciate all there is to appreciate in our city."

He plans to use young professionals in his administration, if elected. Hickey also said the arts and music in Binghamton has not yet reached its full potential.

"It's time to bring Binghamton into the 21st century," Hickey said. "And computers and arts, and music and tech all goes hand in hand and there are plenty of people out there to do it for us."

Also in the mayoral race with Hickey are Repubilcans Rich David Douglas Drazen. They'll face off in primary, with the winner going up against Democratic City Council President Teri Rennia.

In a statement Drazen said, "Moody's Investors Service latest rating action on Binghamton (4/22/13) indicates the city's top challenge is loss of upper and middle income population, which is what I have been saying publicly since the late 1990's, and which is why I am committed to establishing the city's reputation as the safest and cleanest city in upstate New York. My administration will hire those with the most talent, and willingness to work hard, no matter their age."

Referring to her experience as business owner, Rennia said her goal is to create a community with diverse employment options and a quality of life that will appeal to young professionals.

"I know firsthand the importance of retaining a quality workforce in our community," Rennia said. "That is why my husband and I chose to create several high-tech businesses, creating a need for those very professionals he is talking about. As mayor, I will continue building on our city's assets, creating a community with diverse employment options and a quality of life that will appeal to young professionals. I am also running for mayor to make Binghamton a place where my children will want to live, and most importantly a place where they will have opportunities."

David said, "While my opponent talks about the brain drain and other issues, I have spent more than a decade working on revitalizing Binghamton, with specific examples of success. During my tenure with the previous administration, we worked diligently to get Binghamton University to commit to a presence downtown, which they ultimately did with a $30-million-dollar center that was the catalyst for approximately $37 million in additional student housing projects by private developers with more on the horizon. We partnered with downtown residents to create First Friday and enhance the arts. As a graduate of Binghamton University my opponent is also describing me. I worked with students on a regular basis in my role at Broome Community College and talked with them about local problems and ways to succeed. Only by having experience dealing with an issue can you map out an effective plan to move Binghamton forward. Everything else is just rhetoric."