March has been consumed with work on the $175 billion state budget, which affects just about every issue you can think of – education, health, environment, transportation, taxes, criminal justice, libraries, the opioid crisis, housing, elections, and the list goes on. The process works like this: The Governor issues his proposed Executive Budget, the Senate and Assembly then independently develop separate "one-house" budget proposals containing each house’s budget priorities, and negotiations ensue to produce the final enacted budget by the April 1 statutory deadline. While the negotiations are between the three parties – the Governor, Senate, and Assembly – the reality is that the Governor has significantly more control over the budget as a result of the court's Silver v. Pataki decision. Even if two of the parties are united on a given budget item, there is no guarantee it will end up in the final budget. As I write this, we are now in the homestretch, and will deliver a final budget by tomorrow's deadline. I’ll send out a special newsletter soon that digs into what the budget did and did not include.
While the budget dominated our work this month, the Senate nonetheless passed important legislation in other areas, including campaign finance reforms, a program to help small businesses weather hard times, a change in school food procurement rules to support buying local, and measures to reduce maternal mortality – all of which are discussed in this newsletter!
As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and concerns with me at Metzger@nysenate.gov.
All my best,
New York State Senator, 42nd District
In this Newsletter...
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks in Washington as well as back in the district, hitting a lot of core milestones as part of my commitment to accessibility and accountability, and being a voice for the priorities of Upstate New York in Congress.
This month, I held town halls in Schoharie County and Broome County, marking 11 town halls in just 11 weeks, one in each of the 11 counties that make up the 19th Congressional District. People coming together to ask questions of their representatives – that's the real work of democracy. The turnout at every one of these town halls shows a real thirst for a true, participatory democracy. Ensuring this happens is critically important to my work as your congressman.
Rep.Delgado discusses government account- ability at a Columbia County town hall.
As you may know, the House took a historic step toward fixing our broken political system by passing the government reform bill, H.R. 1. The bill’s passage was a culmination of years of people demanding that Congress reject the outsized influence of special interests and money in politics. When 80% of folks in this country are asked to share just 20% of the wealth, when 80% are asked to live paycheck to paycheck, and when an unlimited amount of money is allowed to influence our politics, only a few truly have access to their government officials as only a few have the means to do so – that’s an oligarchy, not a democracy. H.R. 1 changes that. I was very proud to be a leader on this bill, which included the CLEAR Act, a standalone bill I introduced earlier this year to shine a light on dark money in politics by requiring additional publicly available disclosures for lobbyists funding political ads or other political activities.
The Administration recently announced its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget proposal and, unfortunately, I believe it doubles down on many of the harmful policies we’ve seen under this Administration. I think it's the wrong approach to continue tax breaks for the wealthy few at the expense of communities here at home in Upstate New York by calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and devastating cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; the elimination of important rural development programs; and cuts to crop insurance. I'm also concerned that it makes severe cuts to education aid as well as critical environmental protections, and continues to balloon the deficit without investing in ways that provide real returns for everyday Americans in search of upward mobility and shared prosperity. I look forward to working with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to advocate for funding that supports rural communities like those in our district instead of leaving them behind.
Read on below to learn more about my legislative efforts over the last few weeks and see what we’re doing here at home across the district.
Welcome to our new monthly newsletter! The 2018 election year was a stellar success for Democrats and we in Delaware County did our part when we turned out the vote in record numbers. We made some blue waves, for sure. And the results are already producing progressive legislation and action! Is your head spinning with the speed of the bills passing in the State Senate?! Thank you, Senator Metzger! And have you already lost track of how many town halls our Congressman Delgado has held since January?
So now, what happens in 2019?
We go LOCAL and build out our political infrastructure.
And we do that by focusing on these three main goals that we've compiled and condensed from our last few meetings:
- Grow our local footprint.
- Register more voters.
- Win local seats in 2019.
Every action we take this year, singularly and as a team, that brings us closer to these goals, will make us stronger and better prepared for the 2020 elections and beyond. And there's no time to waste!
The new NYS election calendar has eliminated a primary election, and has also moved petition gathering to March! Yes, NOW!
This schedule change, plus our upcoming annual dinner, May 2nd, stacks a whole lot of tasks into the next 6 weeks! During the rest of this month and most of April our task is to simultaneously:
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.
Yes, YOU should run for local office.
In 2019 there will be hundreds of county and town offices across New York that will go uncontested by Democrats, especially in rural areas. In my opinion, this is bad not just for the Democratic Party but for democracy itself.
One year ago, I wrote this: 10 Reasons Why Democrats Should Contest Every Election in Every Location in 2018
In 2019, I still think these reasons are as true as ever. We made some significant gains in New York in the last cycle but we can't let up the pressure. The good news is you can help. Get in touch with your town or county Democratic committee or your county board of elections and ask them what local offices are up for election this year. If you live in a small town or rural community there is a very good chance that no Democratic candidate has stepped forward to place their name on the ballot for at least one local elected position in your area.
Running for office can be very fun and rewarding, even if you don't win. Want to learn more about the mechanics and realities of running? Call me at 607-463-0860 or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be very happy to give you all the advice and help I can.
Need a little push? Here is a short (and blurry) video of me trying to convince 1500 people at UPAC in Kingston to run in 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITSldzlsRAg
For those in Otsego County here is a list of all offices up for election in 2019. We are actively looking for Democrats who live in the towns of Laurens, Otego, Unadilla, Hartwick, Milford, New Lisbon, Decatur, Maryland, Westford, Worcester, Burlington, Edmeston, Exeter or Plainfield who will put their name on the ballot for county board. We need you! Control of the Otsego County Board hangs in the balance.
Also, please remember the petitioning timeline has changed significantly in 2019 and signature gathering will begin on February 26th.
These last two weeks have seen the passage of important legislation to protect our coast and fisheries, along with budget hearings on education, health, and transportation, and legislative hearings on sexual harassment in the workplace to help us identify further actions the state can take to combat harassment in the public and private sectors.
We have also begun work to address one of the biggest challenges threatening humanity – climate change. The science is unequivocal: we must take meaningful action now if we are to mitigate the worst-case scenarios for our planet. The Senate’s Committee on Environmental Conservation, which I serve on, held public hearings this past week in Albany, New York City, and on Long Island (the Senate will upload the video of LI's public hearing tomorrow, 2/20, on Youtube) on the Climate & Community Protection Act (CCPA) – legislation to comprehensively address New York's share of the problem and accelerate the reduction of climate-polluting greenhouse gas emissions. If you are not familiar with the legislation, I encourage you to review it here.
I believe it is critical that we have our own hearing here in the Hudson Valley – the birthplace of the environmental movement – and have invited Senator Skoufis to join me in convening one on Friday, March 1, in New Paltz. (You can find more details on the hearing and how you can participate, below.) We need the input of a broad array of stakeholders – community-based organizations, farmers, local businesses, local governments, labor, and of course, our citizens. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to communicate your views to me by email or regular mail.
I hope you find this newsletter informative. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and concerns with me at Metzger@nysenate.gov.
All my best,
New York State Senator, 42nd District
In this Newsletter...
February 1, 2019
KINGSTON, NY – Today, U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) announced his key priorities for creating new green jobs and addressing climate change.
In a piece published today, Delgado writes, “It is critical that our nation enacts policies that lower carbon emissions and increase investment in renewable energy sources. And equally important, these policies must do right by our communities here in Upstate New York.”
Focusing on the potential for economic growth, Delgado emphasized the importance of creating new green jobs in Upstate New York and discussed legislation he is preparing to introduce that would require the Department of Energy to conduct a study identifying demand for green jobs and establish a pilot program to award grants to community colleges and small businesses to provide job training accordingly.
You can read Delgado’s piece here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2019
Contact: Laura Epstein
Rep. Antonio Delgado to Open First District Office in Kingston
Community members are invited to come by Sunday's open house to meet Delgado & learn more about services offered
KINGSTON, NY – On Sunday, January 13th, Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) will open his first district office in Kingston and host an open house for folks to stop by, meet him and his staff, and learn more about the services offered through the office.
“Ensuring that folks across the district have a place to get their questions answered and voice their concerns is one of my most important responsibilities as a Congressman," Delgado said. "I hope to meet many new people on Sunday, and that throughout my time in Congress, 19th district residents see our offices as a resource -- we're here to help and to listen."
The Kingston office is the first of many offices and mobile offices that Delgado will open throughout the district as part of his commitment to transparency and accessibility. The offices serve as a place for 19th Congressional District residents to call, email, or come by in person to share their views as well as get 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.
WHO: Rep. Delgado, members of the public
WHAT: Open house for Kingston District Office
WHEN: Sunday, January 13th, 12 - 2 PM
WHERE: 256 Clinton Ave, Kingston, NY 12401
RSVP: Media is required to RSVP to email@example.com.
Statement from Congressman-elect Antonio Delgado:
I have always said that the only people I am beholden to are the people of my district and every decision I make as their representative will be to best serve them.
I've recently met with Leader Nancy Pelosi and discussed crucial issues facing upstate New York and how they can be addressed in the 116th Congress. During the discussion, she committed to help me lead the effort within the House to bring broadband access to our rural communities and help places like Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh which have been forced to endure a crisis of contaminated water. We also agreed on the need to prioritize legislation from the bipartisan heroin task force that will help family members cover treatment costs and better fund prevention in rural communities and we discussed me taking a leadership role on this task force. I also expressed that I will work tirelessly to ensure that the people of upstate New York have access to quality affordable healthcare that is accessible to everyone.