Hoosick Falls residents get within feet of meeting Cuomo
Jun 16, 2016 12:03 am
Above, Hailey Bussey, 10, of Hoosick Falls reads a letter for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Videos are from Kyle Hughes of NYSNYS.com.
Casey Seiler in Capitol Confidential reports that two dozen residents from Hoosick Falls with elevated PFOA levels after drinking poisoned water in the town got within a few feet of the New York Governor June 15, but did not meet with Andrew Cuomo. Instead, they talked to a Cuomo aide. The group first held a news conference with Assemblymember Steve McLaughlin (R-Schaghticoke) about the PFOA contamination of the Rensselaer County community’s water, again asking for hearings on the issue. After the press conference, they were allowed to meet Cuomo’s state Operations Director Jim Malatras for more than an hour, with Cuomo in an adjacent room talking to politicians. The media was not allowed in the meeting, but Karen DeWitt of New York State Public Radio and the “New York Now” TV show mixed with the residents past the security gate, and then refused to leave, becoming the pool reporter for the meeting. Malatras told the group Cuomo would meet with them in the future, and said that he has children to that he worries about, which had the residents jumping mad with complaints about cancers, autism, and other illnesses and a lack of answers from the administration. Malatras said the Department of Health was struggling with so many blood tests and the lack of research on PFOA, which until recently was an unregulated chemical in New York. He did not address accusations that Cuomo's administration knew about the PFOA problem up to 18 months before they warned residents not to drink the Hoosick Falls water. Malatras promised more direct contact with the governor’s office and said residents could get more help from doctors from Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. After the meeting Hoosick Falls music teacher Rob Allen said, “the next few weeks will be critical” for Cuomo to regain the trust of Hoosick Falls residents. Michele Baker said she received more answers in the meeting than at any other time since the PFOA in the water was publicized. Read the full story in Capitol Confidential.
Above, Rob Allen and Anna Wysocki, who just graduated from Hoosick Falls High School, talking to reporters after the meeting.
Assemblymember Steve McLaughlin, who represents Hoosick Falls, and parts of Columbia and Rensselaer counties, speaking after the meeting with an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.