First-term New York Congressman Antonio Delgado held a conference call with reporters Tuesday. He spoke about what did during his in-district work week, and weighed in on President Donald Trump’s pass on attending a G-7 climate meeting.
Monday’s session on climate, biodiversity and oceans at the G-7 summit in France included an empty chair, as President Trump chose not to attend. 19th District Congressman Antonio Delgado says the U.S. should be leading on combating climate change.
“To know that we are not leading, and not just not leading, but that we are ultimately pulling ourselves out of the conversation altogether, I find that profoundly disturbing,” says Delgado. “And I will continue to call on the Administration to take this threat seriously, to heed the science and to understand that, if we don’t, we will continue to be disadvantaged, considerably.”
Delgado mentioned that he recently introduced with fellow Democrat Mark Pocan of Wisconsin the Green Jobs and Opportunity Act, intended to ensure there is a trained workforce ready to help transition to a clean energy economy. The bill serves as a roadmap to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Delgado sees lots of growth opportunities for training locations, such as at community colleges, where it would be useful to invest in pilot programs for green jobs.
“Weatherization of homes; solar installation; wind turbine technicians; all these type of things; geothermal technology; water infrastructure even and how we upgrade our infrastructure beneath the surface,” says Delgado. “There’s just a slew of different arenas or areas in which we could take advantage technologically of how we can move forward and address climate change.”
Delgado’s legislation includes 35 original co-sponsors. He says it brings together labor unions, educational institutions, green employers and environmental advocates and makes significant investments in targeted programs.
“And I think if we can at least begin the process of investing in this kind of program, and not just reach to the community colleges, but reach beneath the community colleges to the high schools and to the middles schools and develop apprenticeship programs and reinvent a curriculum how we could educate our young people for these types of jobs for the future, I think we’re better off," says Delgado.
The bill also establishes a National Advisory Committee on the Clean Energy Technology Workforce. On August 23rd, President Trump signed Delgado’s bipartisan Family Farmer Relief Act, which expands the debt that can be covered under Chapter 12 bankruptcy from just north of $3.2 million to $10 million. Delgado’s 19th District is home to almost 5,000 farms, 96 percent which are family-owned.
“And listen, during this down farm economy, with the tariffs, the trade war escalating, it’s one of those things to me that is critically important so we can provide real relief for our farmers,” Delgado says.
Delgado fielded a question about any forthcoming federal regulations on hemp and CBD, or cannabidiol, which is derived from hemp, and a growing business in New York.
“Needing regulations or needing some clarity, though, on its application is of critical importance. We did meet before the recess with folks at the USDA to talk about next steps in this space,” says Delgado. “And my understanding is that, in the coming months, there will be an interim final rule that’ll hopefully provide some clarity on the sale and distribution of hemp and the manner in which folks can proceed with the understanding that its application is legal.”
Asked whether he has thought about campaign strategies against Republican Tony German, who recently launched a bid for the 19th District in 2020, Delgado replied:
“I haven’t,” said Delgado.
Delgado then said he is focused on the work at hand. Delgado held a town hall Monday night in Rensselaer County, his 23rd since taking office in January.
“To be able to have discussions about health care, climate change, border security, immigration reform, opioids, all these things, in a roomful of individuals who might not share the same political views, but to have that conversation in a civil fashion, I think, speak volume to what we can do when we actually commit to the work,” Delgado says. “And I’m certainly proud of the district and the community that I represent because, 23 in, I have always felt out of every town hall, good coming out of the conversations. I’ve always felt that the community came there with the right intentions and to really have a conversation about how we can work together to improve our future.”
He intends to hold many more. Delgado said he spent the better part of last week focusing on priority issues for senior citizens.