New York Reps. John Faso and Elise Stefanik were joined by their four New York upstate Republican Congressional colleagues to urge New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to remove the controversial “I Love New York” signs in the face of a $14 million fine from the Federal Highway Administration. Stew Leonard Jr., CEO of the family-owned Stew Leonard’s Grocery Stores, has offered to take the signs off the state’s hands and display them in his supermarkets.
Leonard urged the state to not let these iconic and colorful blue signs go to waste. Leonard, who sells locally grown produce and goods, wants to recognize and honor the hundreds of New York farmers who supply produce, dairy and meats by displaying these signs.
It recently was announced that the signs are illegal and must be removed along New York State highways by this summer. The controversial signs cost New York State taxpayers upwards of $8 million to be put up for their less-than-five-year life span. Critics of Gov. Cuomo have called the “I Love New York” sign program “wasteful.”
Stew Leonard’s is a chain of six supermarkets in Connecticut and three in New York (Yonkers, East Meadow and Farmingdale) that sells products grown and produced in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Beginning with its first store in 1969, Stew Leonard’s is supplied by 100 Tri-State area farms and sells milk from an upstate New York dairy.