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September 27, 2001

Clinton, Silver urge Council to help New York rebuild

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton have urged The Business Council and its members to help New York State and New York City recover from the terrorism of Sept. 11.

Speaking at The Council's Annual Meeting Sept. 20, Speaker Silver hailed a new spirit of bipartisanship that has emerged in government circles in the aftermath of the terrorism.

"Tonight I extend my hand to you, the members of The Business Council, asking you to join us in this partnership and to work with us in this endeavor," Speaker Silver said.

The terrorism happened in Silver's own Assembly district, less a mile from his home, where he heard and felt the unfolding events, Silver said.

He praised the many Business Council members for their efforts to help New York City recover from the disaster.

"I know that many of you and your companies have been extraordinarily generous with your contributions to the various recovery funds," Silver said.

"In a time of great sadness, you have responded in typical New York fashion: with heroic compassion." He added: "Tonight, I must ask you to step up once again."

Specifically, he asked New York's business community to commit to stay in, and rebuild, downtown Manhattan "to maintain New York's eminent position in the world economy."

"You need a presence in downtown Manhattan, and downtown Manhattan needs you to have a presence there. America needs to see your signs up in downtown Manhattan, defiantly telling the world that you are there to stay.

"New York City is the birthplace of American business; the place where the world's biggest and most successful businesses were nurtured in an environment of competition," Silver said. "We owe it to our missing and deceased colleagues to rebuild downtown Manhattan and make it bigger and better than ever."

Speaker Silver also strongly endorsed the idea of creating an Empire Zone in downtown Manhattan to encourage its rebuilding. Empire Zones are areas in which employers can get a variety of incentives to create new jobs.

Sen. Clinton had been scheduled to address The Council's Annual Meeting in person on Sept. 21, but last-minute schedule changes prompted by the terrorism required her to speak via satellite.

She said New York needs the support of its business leaders in The Council to recover. She also said she felt "pride and relief" upon hearing President Bush's forceful support for rebuilding New York.