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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Mar 21, 2022 4:00 am

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.

Natasha Vaughn-Holdridge is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media that more than $800,000 in federal funding is expected for broadband in the towns of Ghent, Canaan, New Lebanon, and Austerlitz. Congress passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill last week which allocates nearly $830,000 in funding, which will become available after the measure is signed into law by President Joe Biden. A broadband study conducted for Columbia County in 2021, found there are more than 1,200 unserved addresses that do not have access to broadband. Columbia Economic Development Corporation President and CEO F. Michael Tucker said, “With these funds it is anticipated that close to 25 percent of those addresses will get access to broadband service, reducing the need for the funding necessary to serve all of Columbia County.” Three hundred homes and businesses of the 1,250 unserved addresses in the county are located in the four towns named, Tucker said. “We have seen estimates of $10 million to $12 million needed to serve all 1,250 addresses but are awaiting detailed cost estimates from the four broadband providers in the county," he said. The four towns began issuing Requests for Proposals for the broadband work in January. U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado announced he voted for the federal bill last week, which his office said included funding for nine Delgado-led community projects in the district. “The investments in this package address some of our nation’s biggest challenges while providing much needed support to my constituents in upstate New York,” the Rhinebeck Democrat said in a statement. “With this funding we are investing in the middle class, lowering costs for working families, creating American jobs and supporting vulnerable folks in our communities.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

Justin Dawes is reporting for the Albany Business Review a federal report released last week by the Veterans Administration included a number of proposed changes for veterans health-care services in the Capital Region totaling $1.5 billion. The plan calls for the closing of Albany Stratton VA Medical Center after the construction of a new hospital. Albany Stratton was last renovated in 1985. The VA says the building’s infrastructure and layout do not meet modern health care standards, and it would take more than $222 million for a full upgrade. The replacement facility would offer inpatient mental health, nursing home, rehab program, urgent care, primary care, outpatient specialty care and outpatient mental health services. The federal Asset and Infrastructure Review report said the existing hospital, located between Holland and New Scotland avenues near Albany Medical Center, would be shut down after "the realignment of services to the new Albany [VA Medical Center].” The new facility would consolidate the clinical services currently located in Clifton Park, Troy and Schenectady, as well. Meanwhile, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan is upset that the VA also recommended closing the Castle Point VA Medical Center in Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County. Ryan wrote on Twitter that, "tens of thousands of veterans and military families rely on" the facility. "This is unacceptable and we are rallying to push back on these recommendations and push for real investment in strengthening our regional VA services," Ryan wrote, about a March 19 rally at the Ulster County Office Building about the proposed closure. Rep. Antonio Delgado and state Sen. Michelle Hinchey attended the rally, the Times Union reports. “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. Click here to download or play Delgado's speech at the rally. Read more in the Albany Business Review.