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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Apr 03, 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.

Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo reports for PBS station WSKG that Rep. Antonio Delgado visited a Delaware County dairy farm last week. At Clark Farms Creamery near Delhi, fifth generation dairy farmer Kyle Clark said supply chain issues have raised his operating costs. “The price of milk’s definitely improved, especially in the last couple months. But relative to the increase in input costs, and even the availability of a lot of those things… it’s not keeping up,” Clark said. Delgado said he is working to create more demand for milk. “Making sure that our milk can go to our schools, milk can go to our hospitals, milk can go to our community centers. Wherever there’s more localized opportunities to grow and build from, that should be the focus,” Delgado said. The Congressperson Delgado has cosponsored legislation to provide whole milk in schools instead of one percent and fat-free milk, and also wants New York City to keep serving chocolate milk to students. Delgado, though, does not comment in the story about whether farm workers should get paid overtime the same way grocery store and other workers are paid, when they exceed 40 hours a week. The Farm Bureau opposes farm workers getting overtime at 40 hours. Read more about this story at the WSKG website.

Nick Reisman reports for New York State of Politics that Rep. Antonio Delgado has waded into a contentious state issue. Farm workers want to get paid overtime wages just like grocery workers, and everyone else, while farm owners want to continue only paying overtime after 60 hours of work a week, rather than 40. The state Department of Labor is moving to the 40-hour threshold for farm worker overtime, but getting stiff resistance from the capitalist farm owners. Delgado, who represents the 19th Congressional district, is now the first Democratic House member from New York against the farm workers getting overtime pay like everyone else. "These farms have faced a difficult farm economy in recent years, and severe market disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," Delgado wrote in the letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul on an issue where he does not have a vote. "Lowering the overtime threshold from 60 to 40 hours adds another hardship for our farmers, and may cause many to close their doors." The story does not quote any farm workers, nor anyone advocating on their behalf. But Delgado gets his say. "Rather than move forward with the wage board’s decision, I urge you to work with farmers to find a better solution," he wrote. "Including farmer input will ensure potential changes are viable for farmers." Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

On April 1, Reps. Antonio Delgado, Paul Tonko, and Sean Maloney voted for removing cannabis from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. The measure, making cannabis legal across the country, passed 220-204 with only three Republicans voting with the majority. Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, who represents the northern Hudson Valley, was not one of them. Similarly, on March 31, Delgado, Tonko, and Maloney all voted for the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which would cap insulin prices at either $35 a month or 25 percent of an insurance plan's negotiated price — whichever is lower. Fortune magazine reports that in the United States insulin costs on average 800 percent more than in other developed economies. The bill passed in the House of Representatives 232-193 with only 12 Republicans voting for the measure. Again, Stefanik was not one of them.

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