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Delgado’s town hall

By FRITZ MAYER
Posted 11/13/19

LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — U.S. Congressional Rep. Antonio Delgado held a town-hall meeting at SUNY Sullivan on November 9—his 28th such meeting since taking office at the beginning of the …

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Delgado’s town hall

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LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY — U.S. Congressional Rep. Antonio Delgado held a town-hall meeting at SUNY Sullivan on November 9—his 28th such meeting since taking office at the beginning of the year.

He mostly addressed the various bills he has been working on in Washington, with only a fleeting reference to the possible impeachment of President Trump.

“We’ve got a big week coming up with the hearing around the investigation, and that will happen, but I think it’s also important to talk about the work that’s going on,” he said. “I’ve introduced about 26 bills, and well over half of them have been bipartisan.”

Three of the bills that he introduced were approved by the House and Senate and signed by the president. One was the Connecting Lobbyists and Electeds for Accountability and Reform (CLEAR) Act. It requires the Federal Election Commission to include more information in reports they create that clearly indicate if a person donating to a political candidate is a lobbyist, and if so, who they are working for.

Delgado sponsored the Family Farmer Relief Act, which was also ultimately signed into law. “It helps family farmers seek relief in a very down-farm economy,” he said, adding that it was suggested by a member of his agricultural advisory group, which is comprised of members of his district.

Another bill he introduced aimed to help the 27,000 small businesses Delgado said are located in his district. The bill calls for a “centralized compliance assistance website,” with the goal of making it easier for small businesses to comply with federal regulations.

The congressman also listed several bills that have not yet become law, but that he is working on. These include the Mainstream Addiction Treatment Act, which would get rid of caps on prescriptions of the drugs buprenorphine and suboxone, which are used to treat addiction to opioid addiction. Delgado said, “Right now there’s a cap on those medications—no cap on the highly addictive drugs themselves.”

He also touched on his Medicare-X Choice Act, which would create a public option for members of the public to join Medicare. “If you like your insurance, you can keep it; if you want a more affordable option, well here is one.”

Delgado spoke on climate change as well. “The government is propping up outdated, outmoded sources of energy: fossil fuels. We’re propping up an industry that’s taking billions of dollars, and they don’t need our taxpayer dollars… they’re doing OK without it. We could be taking those tax subsidies and credits and investing in renewable energy, incentivizing investment in solar, in geothermal, wind, and we could also be growing out the economy with good-paying jobs, because all the economic growth is in that sector.”

He has introduced the Green Jobs and Opportunity Act to train workers for green jobs that will help the country become carbon neutral by 2050.

When he opened the room for questions, the first came from a man who said the initiatives Delgado talked about rarely showed up on the news. He wondered if many of the bills Delgado referenced would simply die in the Senate, and suggested that Delgado and like-minded representatives camp in front of the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pressure him to bring these measures to the floor.

Delgado said that, as a new member, he is coming to understand how much bureaucracy there is in the system, how much hierarchy matters in the committees and subcommittees. “And here I am a lowly first-term member of congress, determined to figure out what I can do for the folks that I serve, but also having to wrestle with this monstrosity of a system that is completely dysfunctional. And I could camp right outside Mitch McConnell’s office every day. But if I did that, would I be able to… get something like the Family Farm Relief Act through the House, the Senate and ultimately signed by the president?

I can’t make it my business at this point to figure out the communication strategy for the Democratic Party.”

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