Delgado on healthcare, jobs, education
NEW YORK 19th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT — Antonio Delgado has an impressive history. He was a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Harvard Law School. He has worked as a hip-hop artist and also as a lawyer for the country’s biggest lobbying firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP.
On May 12 the Albany Times Union reported that he has raised $1.9 million and was the only one of the seven Democratic candidates who could say he has more campaign cash than Republican incumbent John Faso.
Delgado wants people to know that he has pledged not to take donations from any corporate political action committees, and his large campaign war chest is attributable to his work ethic and a large base of support.
Asked about the most important issue in the race, he says there are three critical ones, jobs, education and healthcare. In a phone interview with The River Reporter he said, “Hospitals are the biggest employers in the entire district, and we have a congressman who voted to take away healthcare from thousands of constituents, roll back Medicaid expansion. We’ve got rising premiums, rising deductions. Access to care is a problem, and of course Medicare at this point cannot negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry. It’s a very big problem, and it needs to be corrected.”
In the arena of employment he said, “People are looking for jobs that pay good wages, like the ones that my parents had when they worked for General Electric back in Schenectady. We don’t see those kinds of jobs anymore, so it’s important that we have investment in infrastructure: roads, rails, broadband access and cell service.”
In terms of education, he said “We’ve got to make sure that our young people are properly trained for the jobs that are available to them. If we do those three things, I think we’ll get back on track.”
Asked whether his ties to the district were strong enough for him to win the race he said, “I grew up in Schenectady [which is just outside the district, but in the Hudson Valley,]… my wife grew up in Woodstock, her mother is the chair of the Saugerties Chamber of commerce; this is home. I proposed to my wife in Kingston. I don’t think I’ll have a problem making it clear that these are my roots.”
Asked to comment on the fact that he is one of seven Democratic candidates in the race, he said, “My focus is on making sure that people have a good sense of who I am, have a good sense of what I’m going to do and are excited and enthusiastic and energized. The fact that we do have so many candidates it helps keep people excited, keep people engaged.”
[This is the second of seven interviews with the Democratic candidates for NY’s 19th Congressional District The River Reporter plans to print before the primary.]