President Barack Obama’s trip to a state-owned nanoscience facility in Albany sparked a renewed round of credit grabbing this week, which continued this morning on the op-ed pages.
The Albany NanoTech Complex at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering was launched in the 1990s with the help of state government, but Republicans and Democrats have tussled over whether the ball got rolling under the administration of former Gov. Mario Cuomo (a Democrat) or his successor, Gov. George Pataki (a Republican).
Before Obama spoke yesterday, nanocollege CEO Alain Kaloyeros mentioned the support of both governors Cuomo, but not Pataki. UPDATE: Kaloyeros yesterday referred to an article in the Albany Times Union from 1993, when Mario Cuomo was in office and the University at Albany was designated a Center for Advanced Technology. The designation came with $1 million a year over a decade to research computer chips.
“We are finally being recognized as a research university instead of a teachers college,” Kaloyeros said at the time.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, issued a statement before Obama’s speech crediting a grant from the Assembly for starting the nanocollege’s growth.
“What began 15 years ago with a proposal by Dr. Alain Kaloyeros and a $5 million commitment from the Assembly, the first commitment of state funds, has transformed the University at Albany into a global leader in nanotechnology education, job training, research, development and commercialization,” Silver said.
On a conference call with reporters yesterday, Pataki declined to speak about who deserves credit for the center, saying arguing about it would be for “small-minded people.”
But on the same call, state GOP Chairman Ed Cox said the nanocenter was founded with a Republican governor in office and was based on Republican ideals. He doubled down in a New York Post op-ed today.
“Then-Gov. George Pataki announced the Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnologyat SUNY Albany in his 2001 State of the State Address,” Cox wrote. “Since then, the facility has grown to become the world’s foremost innovator in nanotechnology instruction, invention and investment. The center launched that April with $150 million in funding: $100 million from IBM and $50 million from the state. This public-private partnership helped keep IBM, and thousands of jobs, in New York.”
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)