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Cuomo talks about New Era plant, marijuana legalization in Buffalo appearance

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in town Tuesday to help hand out frozen turkeys to the needy, declined to weigh in on the 27th District Congressional final vote tally.

After the event at the Delavan-Grider Community Center on East Delavan Avenue, Cuomo offered some thoughts on the closing of the New Era Cap manufacturing plant in Derby, the local priest abuse allegations and plans to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults in the state.

He was joined by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown and State Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy, D-Buffalo.

Asked if he was watching the 27th District Congressional final ballot count Tuesday, Cuomo responded: "No, I'm distributing turkeys."

The governor on New Era

When asked during a news conference Tuesday about plans to shut down the New Era facility in Derby, Cuomo attributed it to what he called "the new economy."

"The New Era facility (closing), it hurts and it's a negative, but welcome to the new economy," Cuomo said.

"You have businesses come and you have businesses go. That is how the economy works. We do everything we can to stop the businesses from going. In this situation with New Era, we're a little frustrated because I don't know what we can do to actually keep them here," he said.

"This is how it works. Very often a business says they're going to leave and we try to work with them to figure out what we can do to keep them," he said.

New Era announced a week ago that it plans to shutter the facility in March. The plant employs 219 workers.

Cuomo said while jobs are being lost at New Era, the state has finalized an agreement with Tesla and Panasonic to begin manufacturing photovoltaic cells in Buffalo that will create 800 new jobs.

"I know the schedule we agreed to with Tesla Panasonic, we are ahead in the number of jobs. So 800 jobs, which, by the way, is a lot, that is good news," Cuomo said.

"We talk about New Era, we lose 200, but we gain 800. And that's why the growth in the investment was necessary to make sure the positive always exceeds the negative," he added.

Child Victims Act discussed

The governor addressed the proposed Child Victims Act legislation that would extend the statute of limitations in alleged child abuse cases.

"What the Child Victims Act was all about is basically justice for the people who were injured," Cuomo said.

"Obviously, nobody wants to see the diocese or a Catholic church bankrupt. So how it is done is very important, but nor do I think you can say, well, this may cost the church money so we shouldn't do it. There's a long step between acknowledgment and justice and financial catastrophe," he said.

Marijuana use in state

Cuomo said New York is moving closer to legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use.

"We now have a working group that is putting together a piece of legislation that would do it, because the devil is in the details: How do you do it, where do you do it, what are the ages, etc.? What is New Jersey doing? What has Massachusetts done?"

"So that legislation is being crafted," he added. "I expect it to be introduced next year. The when and the how, we're not clear."

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