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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Mar 15, 2022 3:00 am

Here is this week's WGXC Congressional Report, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives and candidates for the 19th and 20th Congressional seats in New York. Current Democrat Reps. Antonio Delgado and Paul Tonko vote with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Click here to listen to this report.

Nick Reisman reports for New York State of Politics that seven members of New York's congressional delegation are endorsing tuition assistance for people in prison. But Reps. Antonio Delgado and Paul Tonko, who represent citizens locally, are not on the list to end a decades-long ban on tuition for prisoners. Reps. Ritchie Torres, Nydia Velazquez, Greg Meeks, Jamaal Bowman, Grace Meng, Hakeem Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney, and Mondaire Jones, are backing Gov. Kathy Hochul's proposal to extend higher education courses for people in New York prisons. Proponents argue that re-establishing access for people in prison to the Tuition Assistance Program would reduce recidivism, increase the job opportunities out of prison, and help narrow a racial inequality gap. "Allowing incarcerated students to benefit from TAP is a long overdue and straightforward action that builds opportunity, promotes equity, strengthens democracy, and affirms our commitment to racial justice in New York state," said the lawmakers in a letter they all signed. Nationally, Congress has already lifted a ban on Pell Grant eligibility for people in prison after a 25-year ban. Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

There aren't too many times the entire Hudson Valley delegation in the House of Representatives votes the same way, but they did March 9 on the "Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act." Republican Elise Stefanik and Democrats Antonio Delgado, Paul Tonko, and Sean Maloney all voted for the measure, which passed 414-17. The bill to cut off American oil funds from Russia after their invasion of Ukraine was opposed by two far-left Democrats, Ilhan Omar and Cori Bush, and 15 far-right Republicans such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, Madison Cawthorn, and Paul Gosar.

Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman that dairy farms have been complaining recently about having to pay overtime wages to workers, the kind that grocery store employees get. Now they also want New York City not to ban chocolate milk because they say they will sell less of the dairy product. And they have Democrats such as Rep. Antonio Delgado and Republicans such as Assemblymember Chris Tague on their side. “It is critical that children have access to school meals that support their growth and wellbeing,” Delgado said in a statement. “I am deeply concerned by attempts to ban flavored milk from New York City Schools. This would limit access to the life-enhancing nutrients within milk and negatively impact our dairy farmers, producers, and agriculture partners across New York.” Delgado and other New York state members of the Congress have signed a letter objecting to the removal of chocolate milk from New York City schools. They include Republicans Elise Stefanik, John Katiko, Tom Redd, Claudia Teeney, Chris Jacobs, and L:e Zeldin and Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney. “Studies have shown that reducing or eliminating the availability of flavored milk in schools has led to overall decreased milk consumption and increased food waste,” the letter said. “In fact, a study of Oregon schools by Cornell found total daily milk sales declined by 9.9 percent when flavored milk was removed from the cafeteria and was associated with 6.8 percent fewer students eating lunch.” Tague agreed. “Cold, refreshing chocolate milk with a school lunch is a small, timeless joy that has carried students through the challenges of academia for decades,” Tague said in a statement. “The thought of taking this small treat from our children, along with significant revenue from our dairy farmers, is incredibly callous and reeks of nanny-statism.” The elected officials did not tout chocolate milk as better nutrionally for children, but instead focused on sales of milk for dairy farmers. Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

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