Delgado holds Monticello town hall

MONTICELLO, NY — Antonio Delgado, the Democratic nominee for the NY 19th Congressional District, held a town-hall style meeting at the Ted Stroebele Recreation Center on October 6. The meeting, which drew a crowd of more than 120 people, was the second out of 11 town hall meetings he plans to hold—one in every county of the sprawling district.

The public meetings stood in contrast to those of John Faso, who has been criticized for not holding town hall meetings open for any constituent to attend and ask questions. Delgado addressed that issue early in his remarks.

“We do have a congressman right now who has chosen not to put himself out there, who has closed offices, who doesn’t post his calendar on his website so you know where he’s going to be, who views town hall meetings as counter-productive,” he said. “That’s not democratic.”

Delgado credits educational opportunities for allowing him to be successful in life, and said if elected, that will be at the top of his agenda.

“Mr. Faso will tell you that the government has no role to play in K through 12 education. He’s on record, I don’t know if that’s possible—by definition public schools involves government,” he said. “Why aren’t we talking about universal pre-K and rethinking how we educate our young folks: vocational schools, trade schools, apprenticeship programs, debt-free tuition, loan forgiveness? We could be doing this work if we prioritize it.”

Turning to the economy, Delgado said that during the recovery of the past several years, the middle and working classes have been left behind. “Do you know that since the 2009 recession, 95% of all the gains of the recovery have gone to the top 1%? So after everybody lost their homes because of the mortgage crises, and lost their assets and their 401Ks—after all that devastation, 95% of the gains to the top 1%.”

On the topic of agriculture, he said small farms are being overlooked. He said, “Mid- and small-tier farming communities that make up a lot of this district are being left behind because big ag is just soaking up all the opportunities,” he said.”The Farm Bill that John Faso voted for, 40% of all the subsidies go to the 3% of the wealthiest farmers in this country. All corporate mega-farmers. Can you find one corporate mega-farmer in this district? I can’t. So who’s he working for?”

Faso voted to end the Affordable Care Act and to advance legislation that would have replaced it with the American Health Care Act. The Faso campaign, along with the Republican National Congressional Committee and its supporters have repeatedly attacked Delgado for wanting a “complete government takeover of healthcare” with a Medicare-for-all-system. Delgado responded to that Saturday.

“I made clear from day one—and I got beat up quite a bit for it in the primary—that I’m for a public option. I think if you give folks a choice to opt in to Medicare, which I think is very doable, it allows folks who have their private insurance and want to keep it—because some people do like what they have—they can keep it,” he said. “But for the folks who don’t have quality, affordable healthcare, they could opt in to Medicare.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office, replacing the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act would have caused 24 million people to lose healthcare coverage over 10 years.


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