Rep. Delgado's Hyde Park Town Hall Draws A Full House | WAMC

Rep. Delgado's Hyde Park Town Hall Draws A Full House

Feb 10, 2020

New York Congressman Antonio Delgado held his first town hall of the year over the weekend. The 19th District Democrat was in Hyde Park Saturday, talking about his recent work and goals and taking questions from the audience.

Delgado spoke to a standing-room only crowd inside Hyde Park Town Hall. Delgado said he is “not thrilled” about the acquittal of President Donald Trump, but will keep doing what he was doing before the trial — working for his constituents.

“And I think it’s just important that we continue to find common ground. I have. I’ve introduced a number of bills. I think, last cycle, including this year, we introduced 31 bills, and nine of those bills passed the House, two were signed into law. I’m one of only six members in the House that got a bill… or two or more bills signed by the president, and I think it’s because I have decided to really focus on finding common ground, whether it’s helping our family farmers, whether it’s making sure we invest in our rural communities,” says Delgado. “This is where I know we can get some things done, and I’m going to focus on it with laser-like precision to make sure we get things done.”

Some constituents pointed out that it was not lost on them that Delgado was standing in the hometown of New Deal President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Other district residents wanted to know how Delgado would work to help more bills passed in the Democratic-controlled House get through the Republican-controlled Senate; specifically, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“I’m upset that one man in the Senate has that much power to effect all of our lives,” Samuelson says. “It is not fair.”

Dutchess County resident Ruth Samuelson:

“Not enough publicity about all the bills that have passed the House, good bills, gun control,  fighting corruption in the government, all these important bills, prescription medicine, reducing the cost, are caught on Mitch McConnell’s desk,” Samuelson says. “One man is preventing the good that all these bills can do to help all of our, all of us.”

She and Hyde Park resident Helen Hosting characterize Delgado’s answers on the topic.

“I thought he was very responsive,” says Samuelson.

“Respectful,” Hosting says.

“He was… Yes, very respectful,” says Samuelson.

Delgado, in his first term, said he would keep working to find common ground on topics that matter to people, not parties. Delgado held 33 town halls last year, in all 11 counties that make up the 19th District.

“I would just say that we, as a country, have got to get to a place where we’re at least able to engage in some level of restraint and mutual toleration,” Delgado says. “As long as we are unwilling to view each other as Americans, and we want to call ourselves or each other traitors or enemies, that’s not going to be the answer to our future. So that’s what I want to focus on and I will keep focusing on in all of my town halls across this district.”

Dutchess County residents Felix and Rosemary Maestri say this was their first Delgado town hall.

“I think he’s trying to do the best he can do based on the situation that it is in Washington. He’s pushing for his community,” Felix Maestri says. “If we could get other congressman and other senators to push for their communities instead of their parties, I think the country would be a lot better off.”

“Am I hearing you saying that, as Republicans, you think he’s doing a good job?” Dunne asks.

“I think he’s doing an excellent job,” Felix Maestri says.

“Yes, yes, I think he’s doing an excellent job,” Rosemary Maestri says.

“Because I think he’s got community at heart,” says Felix Maestri.

And, because of this, the Republican pair say they’ll vote for Delgado for a second term.

“Definitely,” Felix Maestri says.

“Definitely,” Rosemary Maestri says.

“Most definitely,” Felix Maestri says.

“No matter who you hear is running against him?” asks Dunne.

“No matter who I hear is running against him, correct, because he has done nothing but good for his district,” says Felix Maestri.

President Trump recently delivered his State of the Union address, and Delgado says he was happy to hear mention of a few items, such as rural broadband, infrastructure and the need to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. Delgado then spoke about bills he has sponsored or supports that match up with these topics. Hyde Park resident Brendan Lawler teaches social studies at Arlington High School.

“My primary concern is the fact that I have a lot of students who come to school regularly hungry. They don’t eat breakfast. They don’t have money for lunch. The fact of the matter is that they don’t qualify for free or reduced lunch, and I’m concerned that it’s difficult for them to learn in addition to the fact that we have hungry children in the wealthiest country on the planet in the 21st century,” Lawler says. “I think the congressman did a good job responding to it. He’s looking at income inequality. He’s looking at inequity as well. And I think that he’s looking for positive solutions to help make sure that our children are ready for school on a daily basis, including being able to eat.”