Governor Nixes War of 1812 Commission, Impedes North Country Heritage Tourism Effort

August 27, 2009

“Governor Paterson’s decision to veto legislation I sponsored (A.8405) to create a War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration Commission will impede the tremendous and singular potential for the North Country to generate millions in heritage tourism dollars for New York State.

“As the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 approaches, we have a great opportunity to draw thousands of interested tourists to our region, which played a critical role in that conflict. This area has deep military roots and could benefit greatly from commemoration-related events. Canadian provinces, as well as other states have already created official commissions for these activities and for New York to lag behind will hinder our opportunity to benefit from the economic activity created by this event.

“A commission is necessary to promote and coordinate this bi-national effort to observe and celebrate 200 years of peace between the United States and Canada. The commission would be comprised of committed volunteers, and the costs of operating the commission are minimal when compared to the revenue it could generate. We know that similar historical sites in other parts of the state are lucrative draws for those regions, and there is no reason to believe War of 1812 sites would not do the same during this bicentennial year and even thereafter.

“This veto essentially means we will miss the opportunity to make a minimal investment with potential for significant financial return.”