Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report
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.
Tim Blydenburgh is reporting for the Daily Freeman the public, along with U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, state Sen. Michell Hinchey and Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, rallied in Kingston March 19, in opposition to the closing of the Castle Point VA Medical Center in Wappingers Falls, Dutchess Co., as well as cuts in other health care services for vets. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs made the cutback recommendations. Ryan, a West Point graduate and combat veteran, wants the preservation of a VA medical center level facility in the Hudson Valley plus the addition of services for mental health, substance abuse recovery, burn pit and other toxic exposures. Ryan said in a statement, "...the VA recommended drastic cuts to critically-needed veteran health services in the Hudson Valley, including closing the Castle Point VA Medical Center, which tens of thousands of veterans and military families rely on. This is unacceptable and we are rallying to push back on these recommendations and push for real investment in strengthening our regional VA services.” Ulster County has more than 11,000 veterans who access VA services at Albany's Stratton Veteran Affairs Medical Center and Castle Point, officials said. Currently the Ulster County Veteran Services Agency transports thousands of veterans to both sites every year. “Closing the Castle Point VAMC without first clearly establishing a replacement facility that provides equally accessible services of the same or higher quality is unacceptable,” Delgado said. The same report recommended the Stratton VA facility be replaced and proposed a $1.5 billion plan to reconstruct the main hospital and restructure outpatient care throughout the Capital Region. The report's recommendations must be approved by an independent body to be appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.
On March 22 New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York is now first in the nation with more than one gigawatt of community solar installed and operational. That is enough to power 209,000 homes across the state. And Hochul says there is enough community solar under construction to serve an additional 401,000 homes. “Reaching this nation-leading milestone – with more than one gigawatt of community solar installed – is a testament to New York’s aggressive pursuit of clean-energy alternatives that will supercharge our economy and bring us one step closer to a carbon-neutral future,” Hochul said. The governor's plan calls for New York to reach ten gigawatts by 2030. "Currently, many residents who want to transition to solar are barred because they cannot afford the cost of panels, they live in rented properties, or their rooftops simply don’t support solar. Community solar is a game changer for overcoming these barriers, allowing more New Yorkers to be part of the clean energy transition," said Rep. Paul Tonko, who represents the 20th District, including Albany County.
On March 28, all four Hudson Valley Congressional representatives, Republican Elise Stefanik and Democrats Paul Tonko, Antonio Delgado, and Sean Maloney, voted "To obtain and direct the placement in the Capitol or on the Capitol Grounds of a statue to honor Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Sandra Day O’Connor and a statue to honor Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg." The measure passed 349-63, with all the no votes from Republicans. All the Hudson Valley representatives also voted for H.R. 1621 which, "limits the consideration of acquitted conduct (e.g., conduct underlying criminal charges for which an individual was found not guilty) by a federal court at sentencing." Lee Zeldin, the Long Island Republican who is running for governor, did not cast a vote on either measure.