NACIRO Member Spotlight
September 1, 2022
Profiles by Kay Dervishi, Natasha Ishak & Jasmine Sheena of City and State
It’s been said that youth is wasted on the young, but anyone paying attention to the inner workings of Albany knows that’s not the case. While the state Capitol has historically been the kind of the place that puts a premium on seniority and experience, it has in recent years seen the rise of a new generation of elected officials in their 20s and 30s who aren’t waiting decades before getting a seat at the table. And while big-name politicians headline press conferences and get their names in the news, they wouldn’t get anything done without their teams of smart, ambitious young staffers. Youthful experts, advocates and activists are a driving force in an array of important policy areas and professions in the state capital as well, from cannabis, casinos to construction and commerce to combating COVID-19 and implementing value-based care. City & State’s Albany 40 Under 40 recognizes the best and brightest of the bunch – all of them younger than 40 years old.
Ryan Gregoire / Tom Oldfather/New York State Association of Counties
Having worked in local government himself, Ryan Gregoire is no stranger to the challenges county governments in New York state face – and he makes sure lawmakers in Albany are aware of those obstacles, as well as the possible solutions.
Just this year, that has translated into numerous policy outcomes supporting local governments. Among other issues, Gregoire successfully pushed for increased funding to county public health departments and got state leaders to eliminate the diversion of county sales taxes toward state funds. With input from county officials, he also crafted policy proposals to improve child care across New York. Many of those proposals made their way into this year’s state budget, which committed $7 billion over four years toward child care.
That’s just a small sample of the legislative victories that Gregoire has spearheaded over the years. Two years ago, he also prevented a major shift in Medicaid costs to counties, a change that he says would have “resulted in a huge, significant decline in services.”
Gregoire says his success in pushing forward legislative changes can be credited to the unity and collaboration between New York’s county officials.
“It doesn’t matter what party someone is if it’s the right thing to do for the residents and it’s the right thing to do for counties,” he explains, adding that the New York State Association of Counties “is this bipartisan group – all the leaders come together and decide on a program and a platform that we all collectively work to advocate for.”