First-term New York Congressman Antonio Delgado held a conference call with reporters today. He spoke about his latest work in the 19th district and addressed recent headlines.
Congressman Delgado, a first-term Democrat from New York’s 19th District, addressed the weekend fatal shooting at a California synagogue. He says it’s time to tamp down the rhetoric.
“There’s no doubt in mind that hate is on the rise. And the way we are communicating as a county, the dialogue that is coming from the highest seat in the land and is also permeating in the halls of Congress is incredibly divisive and it’s pitting people against each other. It’s sowing the seeds of hate and division,” Delgado says. “And, when you combine that with the fact that we are still struggling with the problem of gun violence in this country, it is a combustible situation.”
Also, Congressional Democrats are deciding whether to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Delgado says such proceedings should be bipartisan and investigate the details of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“It’s important for Congress to continue its work, to oversee this process, to have public hearings, which I think will ultimately, at least, move us in the direction where everybody is not just talking about this with sound bites, but ultimately has real visibility into the nature of the problem and how best to move forward collectively to solve it,” says Delgado.
The Rhinebeck resident spent the first week of break visiting family-friendly destinations in the district with his wife and twin boys. During the second week, he held a few student town halls.
“I also was able to hold a small business roundtable in Greene County earlier in the week; toured a farm, a little seed farm in Valatie, which was nice as well; and, of course, held my twelfth town hall in Hoosick Falls,” Delgado says.
He toured the State University of New York at New Paltz, and met with President Donald Christian. In Sullivan County, Delgado stopped by Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection water supply control center in Grahamsville.
“I also stopped by the new Catskills Food Hub in Liberty. I talk a lot about the ways we can empower our small, family-owned farms and figuring out ways to shift away from economies of scale toward economies of cooperation in my estimation is the best way to do that,” says Delgado. “And food hubs are a critically important piece to achieve that work, and it’s nice to see that they’re developing across the district.”
He stood with Planned Parenthood in Monticello in opposition to a proposed gag rule, and he threw out the first pitch at the Kingston Little League opening day. He says a theme emerged as he toured the district.
“There’s a consistent thread line of how do we create more economic opportunities for the region,” says Delgado. “And, whether it’s the small business owner or the high-school kids telling me why is it that we have horrible or lack of broadband access or why is it that our cell phone service so bad, and how is that these things can impede our capacity to spur economic growth and incentivize private investment, and what can we do to change course and create the, I would argue, building blocks, necessary building blocks to create access points to localized markets both here in upstate New York and even downstate.”
Regarding workforce training, Delgado says a Greene County constituent told him the average age of a plumber in the region is 55.
“He expressed the fact that we’re not training our young people anymore to take on more skilled jobs, or vocations or going through apprenticeship programs,” Delgado says. “None of that is happening, and so we have a dearth of trained workforce, and that’s an issue.”
Amid reports of a White House meeting on the topic between the president and Democratic leaders, Delgado says he is working to address infrastructure.
“I do think that nonetheless we have to, we will pass an infrastructure bill. And I’m going to be working very tirelessly to make sure that a lot of that bill is meant to help more rural parts of the country and particularly here at home,” Delgado says. “We have got to make sure that we are setting money aside specifically for investment in infrastructure in the more rural parts, and that would include transportation, public transportation.”
Delgado has previously spoken to his work on rural broadband and how he is trying to address the issue legislatively.