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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Delgado Holds Town Hall in Arkville

Written By Editor on 11/29/19 | 11/29/19

By Brian Sweeney

Congressman Antonio Delgado held this 30 th town hall meeting of the year when he spoke to a
gathering of constituents at the Union Grove Distillery in Arkville on Saturday, Nov. 23.
Approximately 75 community members turned out to hear Rep. Delgado give an update on his
work as a freshman in New York’s 19 th Congressional District.

Rep. Delgado explained that his number one priority has been traveling throughout his far-
reaching district and listening to concerns from citizens and using that feedback as the basis
for developing legislative priorities. The Congressman recalled asking Chris Gibson, who
previously represented the district, how he managed to achieve a strong reputation and
considerable bipartisan support. He learned that being “accessible and accountable” were the
key traits to bring to the position. Rep. Delgado said he always tries to emulate Rep. Gibson in
his outreach efforts.

In his opening remarks, the current Congressman told the audience at Union Grove that he
was pleased that the Family Farmer Relief Act, his first sponsored bill, was signed into law in
August. This legislation streamlines the process of Chapter 12 bankruptcy reorganization for

Top issues

Rep. Delgado also outlined some of his other primary legislative concerns during his first year
in office. He cited his support for two bills involving broadband and cell service expansion to
rural areas; proposed legislation that would allow sole proprietors to deduct health care
expenses; a bill to lift the cap on paying for drugs used to treat opioid dependency; and
legislation that would ban pharmaceutical companies from contributing to Political Action
Committees (PACs).

In addition, the Congressman touched upon two other priority legislative proposals he
supports: the Medicare-X Choice Act legislation that would create a public option health plan
available for purchase by individuals and small businesses; and the Green Jobs Opportunity
Act that would provide training for renewable energy sector jobs.

He also addressed the ongoing inquiry and hearings that will likely lead to a formal House vote
to impeach President Trump.
“I was not out there pushing for impeachment from Day One,” Rep. Delgado explained. “I did
not run to impeach the president – I wanted to figure out how to serve and help everyday

The Congressman continued, “I have found the testimony of many of the witnesses to be
credible and alarming. Impeachment is a political tool and if we’re going to implement it, we
have to be thoughtful in the way we pursue it.”

All in this together
Commenting on polarized national political discourse, Rep. Delgado commented, “I hope that,
as we endure through some pretty divided times, we can remember we are all Americans. I
hope we can at least be agreeable to each other. I don’t like how nasty the rhetoric has

Audience members touched upon a number of topics during the question-and-answer
segment. The Congressman was asked about the status of the State and Local Tax (SALT)
provision of the 2017 tax bill that limits tax deductions on federal tax filings.

Rep. Delgado said legislation has been introduced to repeal the cap, but he’s not hopeful of
the bill gaining traction. He noted the tax overhaul that significantly lowered corporate tax rates
added $1.5 trillion dollars to the federal deficit. Instead of spurring reinvestment and higher
wages, most of the savings went into stock buy-backs and investor dividends, he pointed out.

“Trickle down never works – more often than not, it’s a sugar high and it never lasts,” he
stated. “That money was tossed away. We were told funds would go to infrastructure.”
Instead, he noted, there’s a record deficit of $22 trillion and no infrastructure funding.
The Congressman added that the country faces record debt and higher income inequality and
all economic indicators point to a looming recession.

“The tax bill exacerbated the problem and threw gasoline on the fire,” he stated.

Population drain

New Kingston resident Steve Finkel asked what can be done to help keep people who grew up
locally from leaving the area after completing school. He cited a “desperate need for qualified

Rep. Delgado agreed that rural communities are at a significant disadvantage when it comes
to population retention. He indicated that a big part of the problem is that, “Over time, many
elected officials turned to a capital mindset – instead of a people mindset.” That type of
thinking has resulted a lack of investment in rural areas.

The Congressman pointed to his focus on expanding rural broadband and cell service as
essential to creating educational and employment opportunities.

“We’re in New York in the 21 st century. The notion that we have to struggle to get broadband is
absurd,” Rep. Delgado stated.

In response to this and general upstate disparities, Rep. Delgado said he is among the
sponsors, including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, of the Rebuild Rural America Act. This
proposed legislation would address projects like transportation, housing, healthcare (including
loan forgiveness for workers who agree to serve rural communities for a designated period).
“There has to be a recommitment to our rural communities,” he explained. “We don’t spend
enough money where we ought to be spending it.”

Supports legalization

Another audience member raised the issue of marijuana legalization. The Congressman said
he supports legalization, emphasizing that it needs proper regulation in much the same
manner as alcohol.

“We have to help people to understand the ill effects of legal substances. I think we have to
educate people on these issues,” he explained.

He pointed to the fact that keeping marijuana illegal has been used as a tool to incarcerate a
lot of people.

Former Margaretville Mayor Bill Stanton asked the Congressman his thoughts about the
impact of long-term wars, such as the one in Afghanistan.

Rep. Delgado responded, “Our military strategy has become more about presenting might and
power, rather than developing a strategic end (to conflicts). Our men and women put too much
on the line to be used in that fashion – we need to rethink our strategy. We’d be better off
making sure our presence is felt more from a values standpoint, rather than a show of force.”
He also questioned why so much funding is allocated for military conflicts, but funds are
lacking to support troops when they return home. “Why aren’t (our military personnel) cared for
to the fullest extent possible when they come back?”

In his closing remarks, Rep. Delgado said he’s focused on keeping lines of communication
open with all of his constituents, no matter their political affiliation.

“I want to try to figure out how to bring people together. The important thing is the process of
how we communicate. No one should be judged because of their point of view,” Rep. Delgado

Todd Pascarella, left, and Brian Mulder, right, owners of the Union Grove Distillery in Arkville pose for a photo with Congressman Antonio Delgado follow the representative’s town hall meeting on Saturday, Nov. 23. — Photo by Brian Sweeney

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