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Duffy pledges engagement on BRAC issue

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Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy, the No. 2 official in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration, told reporters Friday the administration is committed to Fort Drum and other military installations around the state after the Department of Defense announced it would request another round of base closures.

“We’re fighting very hard to offset that,” Mr. Duffy said after a speech in Watertown. “We’ve had discussions about lobbying. I think we’re waiting to see what the decisions are. We’re already starting to lobby and work with our delegation to see what we can do to keep those jobs and make sure we don’t see those cuts happen in upstate New York.”

With Watertown the home of Fort Drum, the area’s economy is a rare bright spot in upstate New York, due in large part to the post’s influence.

Mr. Duffy said members of the Cuomo administration held a conference call Thursday with leaders in the Utica-Rome area, where remnants of the former Griffiss Air Force Base remain. Griffiss was shuttered in the 1990s during a previous Base Realignment and Closure round.

State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, who represents Lewis County and part of St. Lawrence County, wrote a letter to Mr. Cuomo and legislative leaders requesting state money to help defend military installations.

“The people of New York who look to us for leadership require a strong response to show we are responding to the challenge of protecting high-value defense facilities that should be preserved and enhanced to better protect the people of this nation,” Mr. Griffo said in a joint statement with Democratic Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi.

Mr. Duffy was noncommittal about state money but said the administration is committed to its military installations.

“It is about jobs and economic vitality for upstate New York,” he said.

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