New York State Senator Joseph Robach
Senator Robach is a Republican and represents the 56th District of the New York State Senate. He has worked with Assemblyman Hawley to propose a referendum on upstate New York secession. Senator Robach has also been focused on promoting economic development in upstate New York, which is a key concern of many secession advocates.
Referendum on Secession
During the 2017-2018 Legislative Session, Senator Robach introduced Senate Bill S386. This bill calls for a state wide, non-binding referendum on the issue of upstate New York secession. If passed, the question “Do you support the division of New York into two separate states?” would appear on the ballot of every New York State voter. According to its proponents, such a referendum would be the best way to gauge public opinion on the issue and allow the voice of New York State citizens to be heard.
In this statement, Senator Robach discusses the need for this referendum and its importance to resolving the “ideological divide” between upstate and downstate.
“I introduced this legislation, S386, solely because New York City-centric policies are raising taxes, growing government and encouraging policies that are not good for upstate New York. This creates an obvious ideological divide that must be addressed. This opinion is shared with me on a daily basis by constituents, business leaders and people of all walks of life. Interestingly, leaders in New York City feel the same way based on a measure that has previously been introduced in the New York City Council.
In response to these concerns, I have introduced this legislation to give the people an actual say in stating, through their vote, whether this is an idea they wish to see pursued further. If passed, this legislation would allow the question to be placed on the ballot of every voter in New York State, amplifying the voice of the people. The results of the vote could not be legally binding for the simple fact that it is Congress that has the final say in deciding whether to allow a new state to join the Union.
I believe that recent electoral trends, including the 2016 elections, have consistently shown that the people of Upstate and New York City value different priorities when electing their representatives at local, state and federal levels. I have seen it firsthand in the Senate with my colleagues from New York City and the rest of the state.
If New York State were to become two separate, autonomous states or entities, it would allow each area to more closely evaluate important issues and form a representative government that reflects the people in it. The priorities of each region could be measured against the sentiments and values of the people it represents. Issues such as taxes, regulations and mandates, the 2nd Amendment, the environment, education, and many others, would be able to be more closely examined and legislated in a manner that reflects the culture and views of those who live there.”
— Senator Robach
Economic Development in Western New York
Senator Robach has been dedicated to promoting economic development in Western New York. In this news clip from August 2015, he discusses economic development initiatives in the technology, medical, food, and other sectors. He points out that the most important issues to his constituents are jobs, the economy, and taxes. Senator Robach also states the importance of Western New York getting its “fair share” and of avoiding legislative and economic dominance by New York City. These are all concerns that are deeply intertwined with upstate New York secession.