Antonio Delgado Newsletter June 2019
Welcome to my News from the 19th newsletter! I enjoy connecting with you to send updates about my work in Congress to ensure I am transparent, accessible, and accountable to everyone in NY-19.
Since I wrote you last, I have had busy weeks in Congress, both introducing legislation as well as travelling around the district and holding fourteen town halls to hear from people directly about their concerns and what they would like to see from me in Washington.
During the last work period, I introduced several pieces of bipartisan legislation to address priorities important to the district. Notably, I introduced legislation to assist family farmers and make more farms eligible to declare Chapter 12 bankruptcy, to require companies to publicly disclose use of PFAS and PFOA chemicals, to increase access to lifesaving buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction, and legislation to make it easier for military spouses to find employment. These issues are deeply important to me and reflect the priorities I hear from folks in Upstate.
In addition, I am proud to announce that I opened my fourth district office in Liberty in Sullivan County. I also have district offices in Kingston, Delhi, and Oneonta as well as mobile office hours with members of my staff across New York 19.
Read on below to learn more about this busy legislative season and my in-district work period where I focused on hearing from students and school administrators as well as workforce development programs. Thanks for tuning
SURVEY: YOUR PRIORITIES
Hearing from you is critical to my work as representative. Click the link below to tell me about your priorities.
As a proud member of the House Agriculture Committee, I want to better serve our farmers in Upstate New York. Following conversations with small farmers in NY-19, I introduced the bipartisan Family Farmer Relief Act to restructure the rules to make more farms eligible to declare Chapter 12 bankruptcy amid a continued downturn in the farm economy. During these challenging times we must come together to help our family farmers overcome years of low prices and increased market consolidation.
We all deserve access to clean water and the more we learn about the PFAS chemical class, the more we discover that the toxin is poisoning our water and making us sick. The federal government has fallen short in both their understanding of the chemical; and their measures to protect the American people. That is why I introduced the PFAS Right to Know Act, which would require all PFAS chemicals to be listed on the Toxic Release Inventory at the Environmental Protection Agency. Businesses using PFAS will need to report the amount they release into the environment and make this information available to the public. This would be a significant step in making sure that we know where the chemical is entering the environment, so we know where to check for possible contamination.
Opioid addiction continues to be an epidemic in many of our communities. That is why I introduced the bipartisan Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act to eliminate the requirement that health care providers obtain a special waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for addiction treatment. Buprenorphine is used for medication-assisted treatment to help people reduce or quit their use of opioids. Currently, practitioners without a special waiver can prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of pain, but not to treat addiction. Removing this onerous waiver requirement would allow any provider with a license to prescribe controlled substances to offer buprenorphine.
I also introduced the Military Spouse Hiring Act, a bipartisan bill that incentivizes employers to hire spouses of members of the United States Armed Forces. The unemployment rates for military spouses far exceed that of the national average and this bill would help close that gap by expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to include the hiring of qualified military spouses, allowing employers to claim a tax credit equal to a portion of the wages paid to those spouses. This legislation was endorsed by the National Military Spouse Network.
In addition to introducing the above legislation I was excited to help launch a Congressional Task Force on Rural Broadband. Many of us in the 19th District of New York deeply feel the impact of poor or nonexistent broadband service, and I will keep fighting to ensure that our community is not left further behind as the digital divide continues to grow. I am deeply committed to finding a solution to the needs of rural communities when it comes to high speed internet service.
I was also glad to cosponsor the following key bills that passed the House:
- The Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act aims to lower the price of prescription drugs by helping to bring generic and biosimilar drugs to market more quickly. The bill would bolster enrollment in Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces by restoring funding to promote ACA health plans and help individuals find affordable plans while also providing funding for states to establish their own state-operated insurance marketplaces. In addition, it revokes a Trump administration rule that expands the availability of short-term health plans that don't have to comply with ACA consumer protections.
- The bipartisan SECURE Act, which goes a long way in addressing the United States’ retirement income crisis. This legislation allows employers to join together to offer multi-employer retirement plans, creates a tax incentive for small businesses who offer workplace retirement plans, streamlines employee participation, and makes it easier for people to set savings goals and track their progress.
- The Equality Act would ensure that LGBTQ Americans are guaranteed full protections under federal civil rights laws. It would do this by amending existing federal civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender.
- The American Dream and Promise Act, which provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers – young people who were brought to this country as kids – and those who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status, designations granted by the president to individuals living in specific countries with dangerously unsafe living conditions.
I had an active, excellent district work period focused on learning more about education and workforce development programs across Upstate.
While I was home, I visited seven schools and two workforce development programs including SUNY Sullivan, Onteora School District, Rhinebeck High School, Red Hook High School, Middleburgh Jr/Sr High School and Elementary School, and even played a little kickball at the Richmondville 4-H after school program.
I had excellent, open conversations with students about the issues most important to them including the student debt crisis and keeping young people safe from gun violence in schools. I also met with administrators and school boards to discuss the importance of Pre-K and after school programs which are vital to early childhood development.
In addition to visiting schools, I also toured the Capital Region BOCES and Hudson Valley Fish Farms which both have partnerships with local universities to train young people and ensure they can develop a skill set that leads to gainful employment and helps our local economy.
In addition to my school visits I met with the New York 19 Veterans Advisory Committee and coordinated my first Veterans Resource Fair at Columbia Greene Community College. I also held the second meeting of my New York 19 Agriculture Advisory Committee where we discussed the economic opportunities in empowering our local farmers to both take on and protect themselves from the impacts of climate change.
As I mentioned above, I opened a fourth district office, this one in Sullivan County in Liberty, and held my thirteenth and fourteenth town halls in Ulster and Schoharie Counties.
Transparency, accountability, and accessibility are vital to my role as representative, and having four district offices, holding 14 town halls, meeting with advisory committees and collecting resources for the 40,000 veterans living in the district are a continuation of the work I am doing to follow through on my promise to be transparent, to be accountable, and to be accessible to the community.
Rep. Delgado touring Capital Region BOCES to learn about workforce development programs in Upstate and their partnerships with local colleges.
I’ve also announced my mobile office hours for June, where folks can come by and meet with my staff to get assistance with casework, which can include any type of support with federal services, from small business grants to Social Security benefits to VA services. You can find details and locations here.
HIGHLIGHT: SUPPORTING OUR VETERANS
Over the last district work period, I held a Veterans Resource Fair to serve as a one-stop-shop for local veterans with resources related to applying for jobs, accessing health care, and receiving information about local veterans’ organizations.
I’m glad to have a robust Veterans Advisory Committee that I meet with to understand the unique needs of veterans here in NY-19. I’ve already worked on a number of bipartisan bills to support our veterans, including legislation focused on better serving families of veterans with disabilities and increasing mental health support for veterans.
Rep. Delgado meeting with members of the NY19 Veterans Advisory Committee, prior to the Veterans Resource Fair
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), visit the Oneonta Office at 189 Main Street #500 (open 10 AM – 4 PM Thursdays and Fridays), or visit the Liberty Office at 59 North Main St. #301 (open 10 AM – 4 PM Thursdays and Fridays).
- Come to one of my town halls or public events: https://delgado.house.gov/about/events