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Faso: Congressional Tenure Ends After One Term In NY-19

Rep. John Faso talks with reporters in Valatie at his campaign-watch headquarters.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
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Rep. John Faso talks with reporters in Valatie at his campaign-watch headquarters.

As Democrats were celebrating a new beginning with Antonio Delgado’s win in the 19th House district, a longtime New York official was met with the potential end of his political career.

"I truly appreciate the opportunity that the people have given me. Tonight they've called me home," said John Faso, who just joined Congress last year. The Kinderhook Republican, a longtime state Assemblyman and 2006 gubernatorial candidate, succeeded GOP Congressman Chris Gibson. Despite touting his relatively moderate record in the 115th Congress, Faso told reporters national trends were against him.

"I'm proud of the tenure that I had during these two years. We worked tirelessly to bring about some groundbreaking reforms for our veterans, assistance to our farmers, and one of the things I'm most proud of, just two weeks ago, going to a bill-signing ceremony at the White House for major opioid legislation that I had a major hand in crafting a significant part of that to prevent the infiltration of Chinese fentanyl and other substances coming in through the U.S. Postal Service in to poison our communities and harm our citizens."  Faso there referring to the STOP Act.

Although his Rhinebeck-based opponent carried only three of the 11 counties in the district, Faso couldn't make up the difference. He conceded gracefully.    "I called Antonio Delgado and congratulated him on his victory. He is now our Congressman-elect and I told him I'll do everything I can to help him in the transition of our office.”

Faso addressed supporters who had gathered at Winding Brook Country Club in Valatie.    "This is the Democratic process that we have to honor and respect and give our new member of Congress the support that he will need in order to conduct his duties."

That Democratic process entailed some rough campaigning that saw Faso and Delgado both knocking on thousands of doors and each being subjected to abrasive attack ads. Faso was portrayed as cold-hearted, insensitive, while ads painted a picture of Delgado some called "racist" that portrayed him as a "big city rapper."  Faso says it’s time to move on and heal.    "Through the 242 years of this great republic we've had many times when Americans were polarized and divided and campaigns were fought vigorously.  But at the same time, we all live in a wonderful country. This is the greatest country, and America is great because the American people are good. And the important point I think, is that we all need to recognize that we should try to turn down the volume on our political animosities, and try to fulfill the obligations that we have under our Constitution to actually fulfill our responsibilities and our duties to advance the public good."

Faso, in hindsight, said he wouldn't have changed a thing.   "We ran on our record and we ran aggressively, but I also recognize that sometimes you're swimming against the national tide. And there were, definitely this district has changed if you look at the enrollment numbers. The absentee ballots are gonna come in from New York City and we're gonna be down by a few thousand more votes."

When asked about future plans, Faso said swapping out summer clothes for winter garb tops his agenda.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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