Congressman Antonio Delgado Newsletter
It’s been a busy few weeks both in the district and in Washington. In addition to introducing several bills, I convened discussions on the issues important to our region, including strengthening our rural infrastructure and combating the opioid epidemic plaguing upstate communities. I also held my 24th, 25th and 26th town halls.
Investing in rural infrastructure is investing in our communities. Small businesses, families, schools, and health care providers across upstate suffer daily from a lack of access to broadband. That’s why I brought FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks to Hudson to hear directly from folks about the issues they face getting connected and how the federal government can support local efforts to expand broadband access. Following our conversations, I introduced legislation to address two of the biggest challenges we face: 1) inaccurate broadband maps; and 2) inadequate internet speeds. Investing in rural infrastructure and ensuring connectivity for upstate communities will continue to be a priority as long as I represent you in Congress.
The opioid crisis is deeply prevalent in upstate New York—the 11 counties in our district are home to some of the highest overdose rates in the state. In Dutchess County alone, my home county, overdose deaths have increased by 83 percent since 2016. I have discussed this crisis at length with my Health Care Advisory Committee. Recently, I held a panel bringing together first responders, medical professionals, non-profits, and those in recovery from across the district to discuss the different ways to meet the challenge of this crisis.
I also visited with hospitals and substance abuse treatment centers as well as with veterans living with chronic pain who rely on pain medication and opioids from injuries sustained while serving our country. My discussion with veterans was an important one that highlights the complexities of addressing this crisis: there are millions of Americans living with chronic pain, and we can’t abandon them in our fight to correct the fall out from the pharmaceutical industry pushing the over-prescription of these highly additive substances in cases where they weren’t warranted. All of these visits and conversations inform my work to address this crisis at the federal level while supporting the work happening on the ground.
I hope to see you all at a town hall or at an event during the in-district work period soon! My staff also holds mobile office hours each week to bring resources from my office closer to you. You can find more details by clicking here.
I am looking forward to continuing to tackle the issues impacting our communities. Thank you all for joining me in this process and I hope to see you at a town hall in your neighborhood soon!
Introduced Legislation on Rural Broadband
Following conversations at my Rural Broadband Field Hearing, I introduced two bills to improve flawed broadband mapping procedures and empower communities in the process. The first, the Broadband Speed Act, would ensure that we stop taking internet service providers at their word when it comes to the broadband services they provide. My bill would require these companies to report annually on actual provided speeds, rather than advertised speeds, and would impose fines on bad actors. With this data, we will finally be able to determine where there are gaps in service and where federal funding should be prioritized. Importantly, my bill would also require that any projects receiving federal funding be built to last at speeds of 100 mbps or higher.
My second bill, the Community Broadband Mapping Act, would make local governments, electric and telephone cooperatives, community groups, and small internet providers eligible for USDA grant funding to create their own local broadband maps to challenge inaccurate state or FCC data.
House Committee includes Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Rising College Costs in its Landmark College Affordability Act
My bipartisan bill to increase access to higher education and financial support for students, Strengthening FAFSA, was included in the Committee on Education and Labor’s College Affordability Act—landmark legislation that comes more than 10 years after the last reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The College Affordability Act would lower the costs of college for students and families, improve the quality of higher education through stronger accountability measures, and create more opportunities for students by providing the support and flexibility they need to succeed. Additionally, this bill includes my proposal to increase the lifetime Pell Grant eligibility, makes existing student loans easier to pay off, restores state and federal investments in public colleges and universities, and fortifies the Income Protection Allowance program. Read more here.
Naming Local Post Office After Fallen Pine Plains Navy Hero
There's no higher calling than to serve one’s country and Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent answered that call with unparalleled devotion. On January 16th of this year, Senior Chief Kent of Pine Plains was killed in a suicide bombing while serving in Syria – her fifth combat tour in the Middle East. At just 35 years-old, she left behind a husband and two sons.
I'm proud that my bipartisan bill to rename a post office in Pine Plains in Senior Chief Kent’s honor recently passed the House. I will continue to work to make this bill law to serve as a daily reminder of her heroism and sacrifice. Watch a video of my remarks on the House Floor here.
Listening to Rural Broadband Challenges Faced by Small Businesses, Health Officials, Educators, and Residents
Rep. Delgado joins Congressional Field Hearing in Hudson focused on rural broadband
I joined a Congressional Field Hearing with a FCC Commissioner in Hudson to hear about broadband needs in our district, the challenges our communities face, and how we can work together toward solutions. After hearing from folks, I introduced two bills that work to solve the issues folks discussed and will keep working until they become law.
Learning More About Winter Readiness and Rural Infrastructure at Hunter Highway Department
As the seasons change in upstate, checking in on our rural infrastructure readiness is important. I visited with Highway Superintendent John Farrell in Hunter to learn about winter readiness and highway safety in preparation for the winter months. We discussed how I can be of assistance at the federal level.
Rep. Delgado discusses winter readiness at the Hunter Highway Department
Discussing Solutions with Those Working on the Front Lines of the Opioid Crisis
Addressing the opioid crisis in our communities is urgent. As I hold town halls across the district, I hear heartbreaking stories from folks about the impact addiction is having on our families, communities, and region. We brought together law enforcement, medical professionals, non-profits, and those recovering from addiction because this crisis demands our full attention and collaboration at every level of government – local, state, and federal.
Rep. Delgado convenes panel discussion on combating the opioid crisis
Treating the Opioid Crisis at Ellenville Regional Hospital
Ellenville is leading the way in tackling the crisis of opioid addiction in our region. I visited the hospital and met with staff and leadership to hear more about their work, specifically the Medicaid Accelerated eXchange (M.A.X.) Series Program, which is an opioid abuse reduction initiative that tracks addiction treatment among patients and works to reduce the need for hospital and emergency department visits.
Rep. Delgado visits staff and leadership at Ellenville Regional Hospital to discuss the opioid crisis in our communities
Honoring the Lives of the Schoharie Limo Crash Victims with Action and Legislation
Rep. Delgado joins families of Schoharie crash victims, Rep. Tonko, and Sen. Schumer in Schoharie to remember the lives of the victims one year after the crash
One year ago, our community experienced unspeakable pain in Schoharie, as a limousine crash claimed the lives of twenty individuals. I joined my colleagues, Representative Tonko and Senator Schumer in honoring the twenty lives lost with action to ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again. We introduced the SAFE Limos Act to address the systemic safety failures that allowed this limousine on the road and close loopholes to keep our community safe from undue harm.
CONNECT WITH US
We’re always here to help — each week, my staff holds mobile office hours to bring important information and services directly to the communities I represent. Find out more information here.
You can also always get in touch with us in the following ways:
Reach out online: Delgado.house.gov/contact/email-me
Visit one of my many offices:
- Kingston Office at 256 Clinton Avenue (open 9 AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday)
- Delhi Office at 111 Main Street (open 10 AM – 4 PM Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
- Oneonta Office at 189 Main Street #500 (open 10 AM – 4 PM Thursdays and Fridays)
- Liberty Office at 59 North Main St. #301 (open 10 AM – 4PM Thursdays & Fridays)
- Hudson Office at 420 Warren St. (open 10 AM – 4PM Tuesdays & Wednesdays)
Come to one of my town halls or public events: Delgado.house.gov/about/events