Hinchey holds first town hall since taking office
Melanie Lekocevic is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, last week, held her first town hall meeting since she took office in January. The event was held in a virtual format on Zoom and Facebook Live. Since taking office, Hinchey said she has hosted community events across the district including Narcan training, park cleanups, blood drives, food drives and other events, including a document shredder program in Greene County. There are plans in the works to begin doing in-person events in communities across the district, and a schedule will be released this summer, she said. Mobile office locations will open this fall at libraries and other public spaces. “We have so far helped over 100 people access the unemployment that they are owed,” Hinchey said. “We have helped hundreds more get their vaccine appointments. We have secured COVID resources at a time when communities lacked the necessary infrastructure,...” The freshman Democrat spoke about a number of issues, but she also took questions from constituents. Tim, a Catskill resident, asked Hinchey what has surprised her the most since taking office. As a new senator from a rural upstate district, Hinchey said she was unsure how much impact she could have on state legislation, but was pleasantly surprised. “The fact that our colleagues have been so receptive to the issues that we are dealing with and fighting has been wonderfully surprising,” she said. After showing pictures to her downstate colleagues of washed-out roads following severe storms, their response surprised her. “They said, ‘We have a new Penn Station and you don’t have roads?’” she recalled. An Ulster Park resident asked how Hinchey can help to ensure a sufficient number of climate bills are passed. “Climate legislation and supporting our climate is incredibly important and it’s one of my top priorities,” Hinchey said. "...[O]ne of the first bills that I ever voted on and my first time speaking on the floor of the Senate was on the constitutional amendment we passed to make the right to clean air, clean water and a healthy environment part of the New York State Constitution. That is a huge step.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.