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Audio Feature: This week in News for Rep. John Faso 20180807

Aug 04, 2018 10:45 am
Here's the week in the news for Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook), the District 19 Congressperson for the WGXC listening area. The Fivethirtyeight.com website currently reports Faso votes with Donald Trump's positions 90.0 percent of the time, the same as last week, as the House of Representatives has not been in session. Click here to download or play an audio version of this report (13:38).

Paul Brooks in the Times Herald-Record reports that the two-week-old "controversy" over criticism of the 2006 album put out by 19th Congressional Democrat candidate Antonio Delgado won't go away. SUNY New Paltz professor Gerald Benjamin has apologized to Delgado over his comments in a New York Times story about the kerfuffle. “He graciously accepted and agreed,” Benjamin wrote, reporting the meeting will take place after the November election. “I continue to agonize about the remarks I made to a New York Times reporter regarding Congressman John Faso’s divisive use of race in our local election for Congress. ... It is largely irrelevant, I now think, that I had no racist intent; my commentary is reasonably read as racist.” In the New York Times story Benjamin was quoted saying, “People like us, people in rural New York, we are not people who respond to this part of American culture." On July 26, the staff of his think tank, the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz, released their own email statement, saying, in part, that “White people must commit to undoing racism for real progress to be made.” Delgado declined to comment for the story, but Faso doubled down July 26 on his criticism of the hip hop album. “Mr. Delgado’s words are offensive, troubling and inconsistent with the views of the people of the 19th District and America. Moreover, he makes broad brush attacks on capitalism and free enterprise, and he uses derogatory terms about women and law enforcement. ... It’s his responsibility as a candidate to answer for the controversial views he expressed in his words and whether he continues to hold these views today.” Delgado has previously said, “My decision to pursue a career in hip-hop was consistent with hip-hop’s long and rich history of addressing the social and racial injustices that plague America. ... If you listen to the content of the lyrics, my mission is clear.” Read the full story in the Times Herald-Record.

David Lombardo is reporting for Capitol Confidential U.S. Rep. John Faso has joined five of his upstate Republican congressional colleagues to urge Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to remove the state’s tourism signs along New York's highways. In a letter dated July 26, the group reminded the governor the state is risking $14 million in federal funding if it fails to take down the signs in compliance with federal regulations. The state spent more than $8 million on the “I Love NY” campaign. The state Department of Transportation maintains the signs are safe and will work with the federal government to resolve the issue amicably. In February, the Federal Highway Administration notified the state of its intention to withhold federal highway funding if the state does not take the signs down by Sept. 30. “We believe these signs provide valuable wayfinding information to motorists and tourists,” DOT spokesman Joseph Morrissey said. “Out of respect for the ongoing process we are not in a position to comment on the content or timeline of those discussions, however we fully expect to have a mutually beneficial agreement in place well before the September deadline.” Read the full story at Capitol Confidential.

Paul Brooks in the Times Herald-Record reports that there is a second advertisement on the local airwaves from a pro-John Faso political action committee that criticizes the lyrics on Antonio Delgado's 2006 hip hop album. “The liberal resistance is going too far,” the ad from the Congressional Leadership Fund says. “Antonio Delgado is their candidate for Congress.” The CLF says it did not coordinate the ad with the Faso campaign. Days after the Democrat, Delgado, won the June 26 primary to run against the Republican, Faso began the campaign by attacking the lyrics of the old rap album by "AD the Voice." Then, on July 13 the Republican-backed super PAC the Congressional Leadership Fund began paying for a radio advertisement airing locally in the Albany and Poughkeepsie media markets, centered on Delgado’s recordings and lyrics. As recently as July 26, Faso made a statement about Delgado's hip hop lyrics. Now the CLF, the U.S. House Republican political action committee, has a second radio ad on local stations about the 2006 recording. Delgado responded on July 27 saying, “I again call on John Faso to disavow these divisive attacks. He should apologize on behalf of his supporters who created this hateful ad. John Faso’s strategy is 100 percent predicated on his low opinion of his constituents. Dr. Gerald Benjamin (a SUNY New Paltz professor), Faso’s close friend, recently acknowledged the Congressman’s ‘divisive use of race’ and respectfully apologized for his own commentary on the issue. Now it is Faso’s turn.” Read the full story in the Times Herald-Record.

Richard Moody is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media U.S. Rep. John Faso has appealed to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on behalf of Eger Communications and its pending application to build a new communications tower on Eger Farm in Livingston. Eger applied to build the tower in 2007, and the project was approved by the Livingston Planning Board in 2013. The tower was intended to be used by county emergency services and 911 dispatch. In 2015, the FCC informed the Columbia County Board of Supervisors a proceeding to review the project, initiated by Scenic Hudson, was pending. “It is unacceptable that after nearly 10 years, the FCC has not decided on the proposal to build a communications tower to replace two existing outdated structures,” Faso wrote in a recent letter to Pai. “This is a simple replacement and upgrade that is vital for our local emergency communication capability. Officials at the FCC must listen to local leaders who truly understand what their communities need.” The county is currently leasing space on telecommunication towers owned by Eger Communications along with a portion of an accessory building to serve the county’s emergency communication needs. “The telecommunications tower located on the Eger property is crucial to Columbia County’s emergency first responder communications,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

• WGXC is comparing candidates in the countdown to the New York's 19th Congressional District election in November between incumbent Republican John Faso and Democrat Antonio Delgago, and both candidates are not fully transparent with public meetings. Faso has yet to host a traditional town hall meeting, taking questions from constituents in person. He has held two similar events, with restricted rules on how many and who can attend, and the format of the town hall. Faso has held several telephone conference calls answering questions from constituents. Delgado says he has signed the "#TownHallPledge" to hold at least four town hall meetings per year, and currently holds public events that are similar to traditional town hall meetings. Neither candidate list their future public events on their public web pages. Faso used to update a "Public Schedule" on his website, but not usually until moments before any public events were beginning. Now, he is silent on most future appearances, but occasionally posts photos of public appearances after the fact. Delgado posts future events on a social media website, Facebook, that requires a subscription, and is accused of, at best, letting trolls, foreign agents, and bots interfere with the political discourse before the 2016 election.

Ariél Zangla is reporting for the Daily Freeman three independent candidates have filed petitions to run for the 19th Congressional District seat, election officials said July 31. Petitions for for Luisa Parker, of Callicoon, were filed July 27; petitions for Diane Neal, of Hurley, and Dal LaMagna, of Clinton, were filed July 31, according to the state Board of Elections. Parker's name will appear on the “Making the I’mpossible Possible” party line, while Neal will be on the “Friends of Diane Neal” line, and LaMagna will be on the “Hudson Valley Happiness” line. Objections to the petitions still can be filed. Parker is the prevention services coordinator for Catholic Charities Prevention Services of Orange and Sullivan counties. Neal is an actress best known for her roles on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and CBS’ “NCIS.” LaMagna founded the Tweezerman company, which he sold in 2005. In addition to the independents, incumbent first-term U.S. Rep. John Faso, a Republican from Kinderhook, is being challenged by Democrat Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck, Green Party candidate Steve Greenfield of New Paltz and Libertarian Party candidate Victoria Alexander of Dutchess County. Election Day is November 6. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.

Ariél Zangla is reporting for the Daily Freeman 19th Congressional District candidate, Democrat Antonio Delgado, has been endorsed by former President Barack Obama. Delgado was one of 81 Democratic candidates nationwide to get the nod, Aug. 1. “Today I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates — leaders as diverse, patriotic and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent,” Obama said on Twitter. Delgado and Anna Kaplan, a Democrat running for state Senate in Seventh District, were the only New York candidates endorsed by the former president. Delgado, of Rhinebeck, is seeking to unseat first-term U.S. Rep. John Faso, a Republican from Kinderhook, in the Nov. 6 election. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.

The Fence Post reports that Senate leaders named nine conferees to the farm bill Aug. 1, and Kirsten Gillibrand did not get picked. Senate Democrats put the less-senior Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota on the panel to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill. Heitkamp has a tough re-election this fall in a state in which agriculture is particularly important to the economy, while Gillibrand represents a blue state where she is expected to win in November against Republican Chele Chiavacci Farley. Congressperson Paul Tonko, who represents all of Albany County and part of Rensselaer County, was named by Nancy Pelosi to the conference committee July 19. Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) did not get named by Paul Ryan among the Republicans on the committee that will attempt to work out the differences between their versions of H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Read the full story at The Fence Post.