Shumlin, Cuomo tie in NY rafting race
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin paddles with teammates during a rafting competition in the Adirondack Challenge on the Indian River on Sunday, July 20, 2014, in Indian Lake, N.Y. Shumlin and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are squaring off in the rafting race meant to highlight the Adirondacks' recreational opportunities. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
INDIAN LAKE, N.Y. — The governors of Vermont and New York had a trash-talking splash fight before paddling the bucking waves of the Indian River as part of the second annual tourism-promoting Adirondack Challenge on Sunday.
At a late afternoon awards banquet at Gore Mountain Ski Center in nearby North Creek, Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy declared that the friendly contest between New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, both Democrats, had ended in a 19 minute, 20-second tie.
“Imagine that, a dead tie,” said Cuomo, whose raft team was declared the winner last year against a team captained by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. “I thought I had a world record.”
A total of 21 six-person rafts ran the three-mile course in Indian Lake, about 80 miles north of Albany. Teams included state legislators, city mayors, regional economic development people and other community leaders from around the state. All heaped praise on Cuomo for his efforts to promote a region where there’s longstanding resentment of Albany’s perennial focus on downstate interests.
“I’ve taken to calling him our No. 1 tourism promoter,” said Sen. Betty Little, a North Country Republican.
“This is really about growing jobs and economic opportunity in the North Country,” Shumlin said. “What’s good for the Adirondacks is also good for the Green Mountain state. When you prosper, we prosper.”
“Gov. Cuomo has done more to promote the Adirondacks than anyone in memory,” said Albany Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, a Democrat. She and her family spent the day Sunday stand-up paddleboarding and taking a floatplane tour of the Indian Lake area.
“There’s still a disconnect between upstate and downstate,” said Senate Majority Co-Leader Jeff Klein, of the Bronx, whose raft team won the “City Slickers Award” at the banquet. “This shows we’re one New York. We thank the governor for doing that.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, who participated in the whitewater race for the second year, invited Adirondack officials to visit the city. “My hometown may not be as picturesque, but trust me, riding in the back seat of a New York City cab can be quite exhilarating.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens led a three-mile hike to nearby OK Slip Falls, part of the new land purchase completed by Cuomo in 2012. At the end of the whitewater paddle, participants hiked a half-mile through fragrant fir forest, another part of the new land purchase.
“This is a part of the state that I hadn’t had a chance to enjoy,” said Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Westchester Democrat who rafted. “Everyone here is now an ambassador for the Adirondacks.”
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