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Agency hires lobbyist to oppose base closures

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Empire State Development Corp. has hired a lobbying firm to try to keep the federal government from closing any military facilities in the state, Buffalo Business First has reported.

Hyjek & Fix Inc., Washington, D.C., was selected from a request-for-proposals process that Empire State Development initiated this winter.

The Buffalo business publication reported that Hyjek & Fix has a history of working on military base issues, and was the company credited with saving the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station seven years ago. It also helped keep the Air Force Research Laboratories facility in Rome open, and helped expand the Defense Finance & Accounting Service in Rome.

The firm will receive up to $350,000 for the first year, with the potential for two additional years at $375,000 each if the development agency determines that the firm’s work is still needed.

Funding for the first year of the contract is expected to come from $500,000 that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo pledged in March for an economic impact study of state military bases.

Buffalo Business First reported that as part of its work, Hyjek & Fix will develop a strategy using the findings of its own study on military effects on the state’s economy. The firm will use, among other assets, data from the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process.

Military bases in the state account for thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic benefits.

Major bases, in addition to Fort Drum, include Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station; Air Force Research Laboratories, Rome; Stratton Air National Guard Base, Scotia; Hancock Field, Air National Guard Base, Syracuse; Watervliet Arsenal, Albany; Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh, and West Point.

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