Hochul joins Micron to announce ‘community engagement committee’

In her first appearance after a protracted budget fight, the governor was all smiles about the chip manufacturing company.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra announced a community engagement committee for the massive project.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra announced a community engagement committee for the massive project. Darren McGee/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

Gov. Kathy Hochul made her first appearance after announcing that she and lawmakers had reached a conceptual deal for the state’s budget on Friday in Syracuse.

“Am I still in Albany?” Hochul jokingly asked the crowd in the OnCenter Convention Center. She announced the budget deal on Thursday evening, almost a month past the April 1 deadline. 

The event was the latest in a series of press conferences surrounding the Micron project, which has been touted by Democrats as a major boon to New York and to American manufacturing. Construction is expected to begin on the gigantic facility next year.

Hochul was joined by Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra – who pledged to invest $100 billion to build the semiconductor plant in Syracuse’s suburbs in October – as well as Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon. The group announced the creation of a community engagement committee, which Hochul said would help ensure Micron’s local investments meet the community’s needs.

National Grid Vice President Melanie Littlejohn, a co-chair of the committee along with Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center Vice President Tim Penix, said the group will focus on bringing “sustainable and equitable economic growth to this region.”

Specifically, the committee will focus on areas such as workforce development, affordable housing, child care and transportation, according to a press release.

“Every Central New Yorker should be able to benefit from transformation that will be spurred by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities occuring in their backyard,” Micron Senior Vice President April Arnzen said.

In addition to educational, environmental and spiritual leaders, Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens, Clay Town Supervisor Damian Ulatowski and Empire State Development Chief Operating Officer Kevin Younis will serve on the committee as ex officio members. Three Micron officials are also on the committee.

Also on the committee is Hazel Powless, one of the Onondaga Nation’s representatives on the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force, and Kristi Eck, SUNY Oswego’s chief of staff.