Congressman Antonio Delgado Newsletter
I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. Transparency and accessibility are two of my most important responsibilities in Congress, and staying in touch with constituents through emails like this one is a key part of that. Accordingly, as we move forward together, I will be consistently reaching out, asking for your feedback and updating you on my work in D.C. and back home.
Our first in-district work period was from February 16th to the 25th, where I held six town halls and focused on agriculture issues. As the representative for the third most rural Congressional district held by a Democrat and the eighth most rural district in the country, I’m deeply committed to working with farmers and being an advocate for them in Congress, especially as the Farm Bill is being implemented. The town halls are an essential opportunity for folks to come ask me questions and hear from me, whether or not we agree. I’m holding a town hall in each county in our district in my first year in Congress, because that is what I came here to do: Listen to what people are saying here at home and work on your behalf. We’ve also opened three offices so far and will be announcing more in the coming weeks, and all of our public events are listed on our website; you can find one near you here.
Rep. Delgado meets with Coast Guard members in Saugerties to discuss impact of the government shutdown
The in-district work period came on the heels of Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate coming to an agreement to fund the government. During the government shutdown, I heard directly from federal employees, farmers, members of the Coast Guard, and so many others. We kept the phone lines in our offices open on weekends and worked to alleviate the impact of the shutdown, including through writing to the Department of Agriculture to protect SNAP benefits. In addition, I decided to have my own pay withheld in solidarity with impacted federal workers. The shutdown was deeply irresponsible and unnecessary at a time when Congress should have been focused on getting to work for the people.
That’s why I was pleased that we were able to pass a bill to fund the government. However, that such an agreement could only be reached with the threat of yet another government shutdown is an indictment of our failing political system. Unsurprisingly, the terms of the agreement are far from perfect, but the bipartisan legislation does avert another harmful shutdown. I am, however, deeply concerned that in response to the agreement, the President chose to do what I view as an end run around Congress and declare a national emergency. Under Article I of the Constitution, the power of appropriations lies exclusively in the hands of the Congress.
Bipartisan Members of Congress launch the PFAS Task Force to address water contamination
I’ve met with constituents and community leaders on a wide range of issues including environmental protections, affordable health care, and veterans’ benefits. It’s also important to note that as a member of three committees very relevant to our district—the Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Small Business Committees—I will have a platform from which to advocate for economic opportunities here at home. Lastly, I’ve joined the bipartisan PFAS Task Force, the Lyme Disease Caucus, the Rural Broadband Caucus, and the Heroin Task Force in order to further action on these issues that really hit home for so many in Upstate New York.
Read on below to learn more about my legislative efforts during my first weeks in office, to see what we’re doing here at home across the district, and to share your priorities with me.
SURVEY: YOUR PRIORITIES
With just over one month in office, I’ve focused on listening: sitting down with farmers and small business owners to learn about how I can support them, hearing from those affected by the shutdown, and answering questions at town halls I’ve held throughout the district.
I want to make sure I hear from you about what you think my priorities should be.
My first legislative priority was ending the shutdown and ensuring that the government stayed open. In addition to voting 11 times to re-open the government, I was proud to:
- Repeatedly call for reopening the government and continuing negotiations. Before the agreement to reopen the government, I joined fellow House Democrats on a letter to Speaker Pelosi in support of continuing ongoing efforts to immediately open the government followed by negotiations on bipartisan border security measures.
- Sign on as an original cosponsor of a bill that requires the Congressional Budget Office to submit daily reports to Congress on the cost and impact of a government shutdown on the economy.
- Send letters to the Department of Agriculture asking how it would address the possible lapse in benefits under the SNAP program due to the government shutdown.
I introduced my first bills in Congress, including:
- The CLEAR Act, a campaign finance reform bill that increases transparency and reduces corruption by requiring additional publicly available disclosures for lobbyists funding political ads or other political activities. It helps to shed light on dark money in politics, taking power away from special interests and putting it into the hands of the people. I was proud to work with House leadership to ensure the bill’s provisions are included in the historic H.R. 1 government reform bill.
- The Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act, a bipartisan bill which would expand contracting preference to surviving spouses of veterans with service-connected disabilities.
- A bipartisan resolution honoring the life of Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent, a native of Pine Plains who was killed by a suicide bomber while she was serving our country in Syria.
I was also glad to cosponsor key bills such as:
- H.R.1, the For the People Act, a historic government reform package that will address the imbalance of corporate power in our democracy and make government work for the people. The package includes reforms in key areas including leveling the playing field by creating a matching system for small donations, ending partisan gerrymandering by requiring states to create independent redistricting commissions, enhancing voting rights, and expanding conflict of interest law.
- H.R. 535, the bipartisan PFAS Action Act that would designate all PFAS/PFOA chemicals under the Superfund program, helping to address the urgent need to tackle water contamination in Hoosick Falls, Petersburgh, and across the country.
- H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, a commonsense bill that would require universal background checks for all firearm sales with reasonable carve-outs for family transfers and hunting.
- H.R. 188, the bipartisan SALT Deductibility Act that would eliminate the harmful cap on state and local tax deductions enacted as part of the 2017 federal tax law.
- H.R. 555, the bipartisan Disability Integration Act that would support Americans with disabilities by increasing their options for independent, in-home care.
- H.R. 299, the bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act to ensure that Vietnam veterans in Upstate New York and across the country who were exposed to Agent Orange receive the benefits that they deserve.
- H.R. 1046, the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, that would bring down drug costs by allowing the government to negotiate the price of Medicare Part D prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies.
- H.R. 1185, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, that would ensure folks have access to paid leave when there’s a new baby in the family or are dealing with a serious illness of their own or of a family member.
And I was proud that the first two amendments that I introduced as a Member of Congress were included in the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act that passed the House of Representatives. The first amendment, a bipartisan one, added emergency mental health services as a covered service under the bill and the other added extended-day programs—before and after school programs—to the child care services that qualify for a stipend or reimbursement under the bill.
Rep. Delgado takes questions on infrastructure, health care, and more at a town hall in Rensselaer County
I said from Day One that accessibility and transparency were key priorities. That’s why we will have as many as nine town halls completed before the end of February—with each town hall in a separate county. I really value these in-person, direct conversations because they shape what I’m working on and how I approach key issues.
We want to ensure these events are open to all, even folks who can’t make it in person. So we livestream all of our town halls at www.facebook.com/repantoniodelgado. If you haven’t made it out to one of our recent town halls, you can check one out online here and send us a message with any additional questions you may have.
We’ve also opened three offices so far (see locations below), which serve as a place for 19th Congressional District residents to call, email, or come by in person to share their views. Constituents can also receive assistance with federal services, from farmers applying for grants to seniors having issues with their Social Security benefits to veterans needing more information on VA services.
HIGHLIGHT: STATE OF THE UNION
I had the honor to bring Michael Hickey as my guest to the State of the Union. He is a hero in our community who brought to light the water contamination crisis we know today in Hoosick Falls. I truly valued the chance to learn from him and together highlight the urgency with which we must address water contamination in our communities.
As a founding member of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, water safety issues are one of my top priorities. In addition to bringing Michael with me to the State of the Union, I urged the Environmental Protection Agency this month to set maximum contaminant levels for PFOA/PFAS as well as additional provisions to address water contamination in Upstate New York and across the country.
Rep. Delgado brought Michael Hickey as his guest to the State of the Union to highlight PFAS contamination in Hoosick Falls & Petersburgh
CONNECT WITH US
I hope you’ll connect with us soon. We’re always here to help, and you can get in touch with us in the following ways:
- Call 202-225-5614
- Reach out online: Delgado.house.gov/contact/email-me
- Visit the Kingston Office at 256 Clinton Avenue (open 9 AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday), visit the Delhi Office at 111 Main Street (open 10 AM – 4 PM Tuesdays and Wednesdays), or visit the Oneonta Office at 189 Main Street #500 (open 10 AM – 4 PM Thursdays and Fridays).
- Come to one of my town halls or public events: Delgado.house.gov/about/events