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Audio Feature: This week in news for Rep. John Faso
• Amanda Purcell is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media nine protesters, who were arrested in December after they failed to leave U.S. Rep. John Faso's Kinderhook office, were arraigned in Kinderhook Village Court February 5. The group of nine, who have dubbed themselves the “Clean DREAM Faso 9,” appeared before Justice David Dellehunt, and pleaded not guilt to charges of violating the local building occupancy code and obstruction of governmental administration. The group is made up 19th Congressional District constituents, including members of Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, Ulster Immigrant Defense Network, ICE-Free Capital District, Showing Up for Racial Justice Hudson, Showing Up for Racial Justice Ulster, Tin Horn Uprising and others. Other 19th Congressional District residents were present at court Monday in a gesture of support. The nine used their court appearance to call on Faso and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer to pass a clean DREAM Act and a legislative solution for those who have received Temporary Protected Status. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.
• Ariél Zangla reports in The Daily Freeman that Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck and Brian Flynn of Elka Park raised more money in 2017 than Rep. John Faso in their efforts to unseat the Kinderhook Republican in the November election. One other of the six Democrats vying to take on Faso, Patrick Ryan of Gardiner, was close behind Faso's fundraising totals. The six Democrats are in a June 26 primary, to see who will face Faso in the Nov. 6 general election. Here are the totals for 2017 fundraising for all seven candidates:
• Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck, $1.5 million;
• Brian Flynn of Elka Park, $1.25 million;
• John Faso of Kinderhook, $1,193,935.93;
• Patrick Ryan of Gardiner, $906,978.88;
• David Clegg of Woodstock, $485,795.20;
• Gareth Rhodes of Kerhonkson, $450,338.54;
• Jeffrey Beals of Woodstock, $174,442.85.
The 19th Congressional District represents all of Greene, Columbia, Ulster, Sullivan, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego counties; most of Dutchess County; parts of Rensselaer and Montgomery counties; and a small piece of Broome County. Read the full story in The Daily Freeman.
• William J. Kemble is reporting for the Daily Freeman actress and Hurley resident Diane Neal has launched an independent bid for New York’s 19th Congressional District seat, Feb. 4. Neal, 41, best known for her role as a prosecutor on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” is a registered Democrat, according to the Ulster County Board of Elections. She will need 3,500 petition signatures to secure a spot on the November ballot as an independent. Neal has lived in Hurley since 2014 and has been active with a number of organizations, including the Urban Arts Partnership, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Young Leaders of the RFK Center for Human Rights. She expects to complete her undergraduate degree at Harvest University in May. Neal describes her politics as "...a little Libertarian,...a lot liberal, mostly progressive." After listening to the Democratic candidate debate in Woodstock recently, Neal said, “I heard a lot of really dedicated people who are passionate about this,” she said. “However, what I didn’t hear was how any of them would appeal to anyone outside of this room, [such as] my cross-bow neighbor who gives me sweet venison. He’s not even going to listen to these guys.” Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.
• Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) released a press release Feb. 7, saying he assumed primary sponsorship of H.R. 1057, the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act of 2017. That proposed law is designed to stop synthetic drugs like fentanyl from being shipped into the United States. Faso claims that the U.S. Postal Service is not thoroughly tracking synthetic drugs from other countries. The bill has 252 cosponsors from both political parties. “Synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil are hundreds of times more potent than heroin, which itself has been a catalyst of this epidemic. A large portion of these dangerous synthetic drugs come into the country across our borders through mail packages. We should be doing all we can to stem this flow of drugs," Faso was quoted in a press release. In other news about the legislator, Faso last week backed the release of a controversial memo that may have revealed top secret intelligence information, and that President Donald Trump claimed cleared him in the Russian investigation. “Rep. Faso read the memo and is disturbed by its contents and thinks it should be released to the public,” said his spokesperson, Joe Gierut, last week. “The Democratic memo should also be available to members of Congress and he intends to read it upon his return to Washington.”
• Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) voted with all but one Republican and 32 Democrats to rollback some restaurant food labeling regulations. Faso voted for the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017 Feb. 6, which passed 266-157. That changes a part of the Affordable Care Act that mandates food establishments that have 20 or more locations and vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more machines must show consumers calorie information labels. But with this vote, CNN reports, "instead of listing the total calories contained in a menu item when it is offered for sale, such as a shared appetizer, businesses would be allowed to provide just the calories per serving in that 'multiserving' menu item, without disclosing total calories." Carry-out restaurants will only have to put the calorie information on the internet if the bill becomes law.
• Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, delayed a vote on a federal government funding bill Feb. 8, causing a short government shutdown Feb. 9. Rand said the bill added another trillion dollars to the deficit, after Republicans had complained for years about the need to reduce government debt. Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) voted to pass the bill, and did not mention Rand's concerns about the deficit in his statement about the vote. Instead, he plugged the pork he managed to bring back to the area in the bill. "I am thrilled to see my legislation improving the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program included," his press release read, in part. "The budget caps deal also included an extension of the Fuel Cell Investment Tax Credit which is critical to companies such as Plug Power in the Capital Region and two much-needed fixes to the Dairy Margin Protection Program and the Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy program. These provisions will broadly benefit dairy farmers throughout upstate New York." New York Senators split their votes. Chuck Schumer voted with Faso for the spending bill; Kirsten Gillibrand voted with Rand against the funding.