Congressman Antonio Delgado Newsletter
An update on my work for NY-19: action on the opioid epidemic, PFAS contamination, rural broadband, and more
It’s been a busy start to the year: I wrapped up my first in-district work week of 2020 and introduced legislation to help support students in workforce development programs.
On Tuesday, Chatham Police Chief Peter Volkmann joined me as my guest for the State of the Union Address. Chief Volkmann is working on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, doing life-saving work in Columbia County to respond to overdoses and connect individuals with treatment facilities. His innovative program, Chatham Cares 4 U, is a model for the country when it comes to opioid treatment and recovery. We need to work together at all levels of government to end the opioid epidemic, and that’s why I’m lucky to have Chief Volkmann as a partner in these efforts.
Here’s an update on my work for NY-19:
MY WORK IN CONGRESS
INTRODUCED: the Gateway to Careers Act
It is imperative that our young people have the skills needed to fill jobs and grow our upstate economy. However, the need for social services including child care, health care coverage, and transportation—urgent needs in our rural communities—too often force young people out of these valuable training programs.
This week, I introduced the Gateway to Careers Act to help to close this skills gap by providing critical grants to support wrap-around programs that allow folks to remain enrolled in community colleges and other training programs. This legislation will create a career pathway grant program that would fund needed social services including child care, addiction treatment, transportation, and other support services for those in community college and career and technical education (CTE) programs. Learn more about this legislation here.
PASSED BY THE HOUSE: the PRO Act
From 1980 to 2014, income for the bottom half of wage earners grew by one percent, while income for the top one percent of earners grew by 205 percent. One way we can address widespread income inequality is by enabling our labor unions to organize and negotiate. Unfortunately, attacks on our labor laws, often funded by special interest groups, have impeded the ability of unions to protect the rights of workers. That’s why I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Protecting the Right to Organize or PRO Act, which protects and enhances workers’ rights, helps to combat union busting such as interference in union elections, empowers unions to negotiate with employers, closes loopholes in federal labor laws, and increases transparency. It also combats the harmful Right-to-Work laws that seek to undermine the work of labor unions. I’m glad to report that the PRO Act passed the House this week, and I’ll keep pushing the Senate to stand with workers and take up our important bill.
TAKING ACTION ON PFAS
After attending the Community Working Group in Hoosick Falls last month, I wrote to EPA Regional Administrator Lopez demanding an update and timeline on progress to set a Maximum Contaminant Level for PFAS chemicals in drinking water and designate PFOS and PFOA as hazardous materials under Superfund law. Too much time has passed without meaningful action from the EPA. I’ll keep fighting for our communities impacted by contamination.
A RURAL BROADBAND VICTORY FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES
In January, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that New York State was ineligible for Phase I Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) awards. This decision would have made New York State broadband providers completely ineligible for $16 billion in funding to improve broadband internet in unserved communities. Because this would increase the digital divide, hinder economic growth and opportunity, and stall quality of life improvements for residents in our state, particularly those living in rural communities, I led a bipartisan group of my colleagues in urging the reversal of the decision. After a phone call with FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, and a follow-up letter, I’m glad to say that the FCC reversed its decision to completely exempt New York from participating in the program. This is an important step for our state, but it is just the first of many needed to ensure upstate communities aren’t once again left on the wrong side of the digital divide.
MEETING FOLKS BACK HOME
KICKING OFF BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Black History Month celebrates the life, legacy, and achievements of African-Americans across our country. It was great to join folks at the Kingston YMCA to kick off this month and highlight the contributions of black Americans in Ulster County and across upstate New York. Thank you to everyone who organized this celebration honoring the culture and achievements of African-Americans in our region.
MEETING STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND STAFF AT WEBUTUCK CENTRAL SCHOOL IN AMENIA
I enjoyed meeting students and teachers in Amenia last week. Education is the gateway to opportunity for our young people and I’m working to ensure school districts that serve families in rural upstate, like Webutuck Central School District, are supported and have the resources they need to be successful.
MEETING YOUNG PEOPLE IN WORCESTER
Glad I got the chance to see the work the Creating Rural Opportunities Partnership (CROP) After School Program does for our young people in rural communities like Worcester. I’m committed to making sure programs that serve the needs of families in rural upstate like CROP are supported and have the resources they need.
ADDRESSING A COLLAPSED CULVERT IN STAMFORD
I had the chance to join state and local officials in Stamford to hear from folks on the ground about the impacts a collapsed culvert has had on the community and economy. I’m committed to finding ways the federal government can work alongside local municipalities to keep our roads and bridges safe.
SEEING THE IMPACT OF INVESTING IN RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE
I’m working to boost investment in infrastructure and improve the way the federal government supports development projects in upstate New York. I stopped in Hillsdale to take a walking tour and see firsthand how federal investment in roads and sidewalks has helped revitalize the town center. We’ll keep working to boost investment in our rural infrastructure through my Rebuild Rural America Act and the PIPE Act.
MEETING WITH FOUR ADVISORY COMMITTEES
It’s my job to amplify the voices and concerns heard from every corner of New York’s 19th Congressional District and advocate for your needs in Washington. That’s why I formed four in-district advisory committees — health care, agriculture, small business, and veterans — each with bipartisan representation from all eleven counties I represent. I spent a week traveling around NY-19, sitting down with each of my advisory committees, and formulating our priorities for 2020.
VISITING FOUR CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE ACROSS NY-19
Small business owners and entrepreneurs in counties across our district are the lifeblood of our upstate economy. Over the last year, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with small business owners and hearing about their experiences, which informs my work on the House Small Business Committee. As an extension of this work, over my last in-district work week, I joined chambers of commerce in Deposit, Ulster, Otsego, and Greene to talk about our shared priorities for 2020. I look forward to continuing to work together to support our small businesses and invest in our communities so we’re ready to meet the economic and workforce needs of the future.
ACCOUNTABILITY & ACCESSIBILITY
Need help with an issue with a federal agency?
Are you a veteran who is trying to replace a lost medal? Having trouble resolving a problem with your VA, Medicare, or Social Security benefits? For these and any other problems with federal agencies, my staff is here to help — and you can meet them at mobile office hours coming up this month. For more info, click here.
February 10: Rensselaer and Ulster Counties
Town of Sand Lake
8428 NY Route 66
Averill Park, New York 12018
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Stone Ridge Public Library
3700 Main Street
Stone Ridge, New York 12484
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
February 24: Otsego and Dutchess Counties
Kinney Memorial Library
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Stanford Free Library
Stanfordville, NY 12581
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.