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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Jul 02, 2023 6:03 pm

Here is this week's WGXC Congressional Report, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives and candidates for the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st Congressional seats in New York. Democrat Pat Ryan is representing the 18th Congressional District, Republican Marc Molinaro represents the 19th Congressional District, Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko represents the 20th District, and Republican Elise Stefanik represents the 21st District. Click here to listen to this report.

New York State of Politics reports that while one goal of a bill passed in Albany and awaiting Gov. Kathy Hochul's signature is to save money on elections by consolidating voting dates, many current election dates will remain on the calendar. The bill would move most elections currently in odd-numbered years, to even-numbered years, when more people vote in Congressional and Presidential elections. But Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny points out the legislature did not, and could not, move all of the odd-numbered elections to even-numbered years. Czarny said, “Any judicial race would not be affected. Supreme Court justices. Town justices. Any other kind of judicial race.... Also, what will not be affected are any races that happen inside cities are protected by the Constitution." Jude Seymour, the Republican elections commissioner for the Jefferson County Board of Elections, points out the ballot will now be much longer now, and defends staggered-year voting saying, “They protect against a wholesale change of government based on the whims that may not last until the next election.... Alexander Hamilton and James Madison warned us centuries ago to protect against factions breaking apart our republic. I think putting all the elections in one year makes that harder to prevent.” Czarny admits that more people will vote in elections moved to even-numbered years saying, “In even numbered years since 2009, we averaged 63 percent turnout. In odd numbered years, we averaged 32 percent turnout. That’s a huge difference. That’s double." Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

Kate Lisa reports for New York State of Politics that Rep. Paul Tonko joined U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona at Hudson Valley Community College in Rensselaer County on June 27 to discuss education. Tonko spoke about careers in science, engineering, technology or mathematics for young people locally. PLAY BRIEF TONKO CLIP HERE. Cardona, the Education Secretary, said, "We're gonna make sure that we have students that are prepared to take on these high-skill, high-career jobs to make that possible." Labor Department Commissioner Roberta Reardon was also there, and reminded the men, "Don't leave women out of the workforce.... Over 50 percent of the workers in this country are women, but they are under employed or not employed at all, and we need them desperately. We need young women to know that they can be in the building trades. They can do CHIPS, they can do anything they set their minds to. And they can certainly come here to Hudson Valley and get a great education." Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

Raga Justin reports in the Times Union that Rep. Paul Tonko crowed about Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act on June 29 at the newspaper's office building in Albany. Part of what the bill does is expand the number of medical professionals who can prescribe a medication called buprenorphine from 130,000 to 1.8 million people. Buprenorphine is a drug that is now a little easier to prescribe to people struggling with opioid addiction. "There is some progress afloat," Tonko said. The Albany County Congressional representative also cited statistics from France, where they made access to drugs that can help with opioid addiction easier, overdose deaths declined nearly 80 percent, according to the National Institute of Health. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman that Rep. Marc Molinaro, the Republican representing the 19th Congressional District, wants the Government Accountability Office to conduct a comprehensive study on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted educational outcomes for students with disabilities. Molinaro said, “I’m the father of four children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum.... During the pandemic, parents like myself saw learning loss in their children firsthand. While many academic studies have sought to understand the full scope of these educational setbacks, very little attention has been given to the educational needs of students with disabilities.” Molinaro explained that when school staff meet with parents of a child with a disability to develop an educational plan for the student parents have the right to bring a third-party advocate, such as a therapist, lawyer, or knowledgeable family member. Molinaro is backing a bill to tell parents that. "Most parents are not aware of this right,” Molinaro's office said in a statement. Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

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