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Unshackle Upstate names Justin Wilcox as the new executive director

Justin Wilcox, new executive director of Unshackle Upstate
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Justin Wilcox, new executive director of Unshackle Upstate

The business advocacy group Unshackle Upstate has a new leader.  Justin Wilcox has been named the new executive director, replacing Michael Kracker who left for a position in the office of State Senator Robert Ortt.

Wilcox is a Democratic Monroe County Legislator who represents parts of Brighton and Henrietta in the 14th legislative district. He is term-limited, so he will be in the legislature for one more year. He also ran unsuccessfully for NY State Assembly in the primary earlier this year.

Wilcox said that he realizes that Democratic politicians are not always seen as big backers of business, but he said that as a small business owner himself, he sees the need for the state to do more to improve the climate for business owners in New York.

“We also need to create a climate that’s conducive to businesses creating those good-paying jobs for people. And those businesses, they’re voting with their feet, they’re leaving, and frankly there’s some additional issues with COVID that have compounded what’s really already been a bad situation for businesses and made it far, far worse, “ Wilcox said.

Among the issues Wilcox hopes to advocate on behalf of is improving the situation involving tax burdens that affect small business owners in the state. He also would like to see the state do more to help stimulate business growth, saying that, “It’s these businesses that hire people and raises the standard of living for all of us. A government tries to play a role in that, but it can’t do it alone. It needs business and business creates those jobs, which increases our standard of living.”

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.