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Rep. Delgado Hosts Town Hall In Hoosick Falls

Rep. Antonio Delgado speaks with constituents in Hoosick Falls
Lucas Willard
Rep. Antonio Delgado speaks with constituents in Hoosick Falls

New York Congressman Antonio Delgado hosted a town hall meeting in the Rensselaer County Village of Hoosick Falls Tuesday night.

The 19th District Democrat hosted his third in-person town hall Tuesday since the easing of pandemic restrictions.

Before a crowd spaced apart in the Hoosick Falls Armory, Delgado began by recognizing three National Guard troops who were deployed to the U.S. Capitol after the January 6th riot.

“And it is with great pride and great humility that I present to you this American flag…”

When the second-term Congressman jumped into the issues, he voiced support for President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan infrastructure bill that is currently being met with resistance in a divided Senate.

In a community that has struggled with drinking water supplies contaminated with PFAS chemicals, Delgado said an investment in infrastructure is long overdue.

“We’re talking about water infrastructure, wastewater management systems to make sure that our communities can drink clean water, that our children can drink clean water. We know what our communities here have been through in that vein. And I know that the DEC recently issued some recommendations on the remediation around PFAS – we’re tracking that very closely – but we have to invest, we have to invest in our infrastructure above ground and below ground,” said Delgado.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is welcoming comments on a Proposed Remedial Action Plan for the Saint-Gobain superfund site in the village until June 25th. Some locals are concerned about the proposed plan that would develop new drinking water wells, preferring an option to bring in drinking water from the Tomhannock Reservoir in Pittstown.

Biden’s American Jobs Plan aims to make investments in transportation, with funding planned for public transit, passenger and freight rail, and electric vehicles and charging stations.

One resident asked how a transition to a more electrified transportation system will affect the automobile repair industry and mechanics, and whether the Congressman has a plan to reduce the impact on workers used to a fossil-fuel transportation system.

Delgado said the infrastructure package will direct funds toward workforce development, but he also pitched his Green Jobs Bill, which calls for a one-year federal study to examine the country’s workforce with a green energy future in mind…

“To calculate or to verify what jobs we have right now that we think are really jobs that we would say belong in the green economy – that are going to bring down carbon emissions – create a whole list of those jobs, and then figure out what jobs need to be created – or are on track to be created – and then calculate what jobs can be filled with the current workforce that we have,” said Delgado.

With the country emerging from COVID-19, one constituent asked the Congressman if the pandemic had changed his position on Medicare For All. Delgado, a Democrat serving a swing district that went for President Trump in 2016 and President Biden in 2020, has resisted an outright single-payer model but supports expanding the Affordable Care Act.

“All [the pandemic] actually made me do was double down on my belief that getting a public option into the mix would be the most direct and most efficient way in this moment to transform the system as we know it,” said Delgado.

Delgado also supports a bill that would give negotiating power to Medicare as a way to reduce to the cost of prescription drugs.  

The 19th District includes all or parts of 11 counties and is one of the largest districts geographically in New York. Delgado was asked if had any insight as to how the 2020 Census would affect his district. New York missed a threshold to keep its 27 seats by coming up just 89 people short and is in line to lose a seat in 2022. The state is contesting the Census result in the meantime.

The state has an independent redistricting commission but the state government is also entirely controlled by Democrats. Delgado was asked if he had heard anything about how the redistricting would affect the current 19th District.

“I don’t. I wish I had more visibility. All I can do is continue to show up in every part of the district, continue to do my job. I love every part of NY-19. I was just telling my District Director Amanda on our way over here, I was saying, you know, even the thought of somehow, maybe losing a piece of the district is kind of sad to me. So hopefully we’ll just grow,” said Delgado.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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