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Audio Feature: Hudson Valley Congressional Report

Apr 17, 2022 11:00 pm

Here is this week's Hudson Valley Congressional Report from WGXC, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives of the Hudson Valley in Congress and the candidates who want to replace them. Current Democrat Reps. Antonio Delgado, Paul Tonko, and Sean Maloney vote with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Republican Elise Stefanik voted with Biden's positions 18 percent of the time. Click here to listen to this report.

Cloey Callahan reports in the Times Union that Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has backed off, for now, his plan to give $12.5 million in taxpayer money for a minor league baseball stadium. This comes after the state was going to give almost a billion dollars in taxpayer money to the billionaire owners of the Buffalo Bills for a new stadium. Gov. Kathy Hochul eventually lowered that number somewhat, but still gave the billionaires a lot of taxpayer money. In Dutchess County, Molinaro backed off and redirected $9.5 million of the stadium money for housing needs. Molinaro, a Republican, is running for Congress, trying to unseat Democrat Antonio Delgado, and likely did not want the stadium money criticism lingering over his campaign. “This should have been the case from the get-go,” Dutchess County Minority Leader Yvette Valdés Smith said. “Our county needs so much assistance. Our housing market has really boomed, but it has really hit us hard as communities. There are a lot of renters in my own district … trying to buy their first home and simply cannot. Prices have really gone up.” Last month, Molinaro was defending the money for the stadium. “If there was one industry impacted the most by the closures of the economy, it was tourism,” Molinaro said. “In the case of Dutchess Stadium, it’s the tourism destination for thousands and thousands of people every night for most of the year.” Now, though, he is talking about the housing shortage. “It’s a real crisis for ordinary families. Compound that with highest rate of inflation in years, high mortgage rates, it’s a challenge," he said. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Maury Thompson reported in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that Hudson Valley Democrats in Congress voted April 1 to decriminalize cannabis in the United States, while Republican Elise Stefanik voted against the measure. “The soft-on-crime approach to this legislation would incentivize bad actors and transnational criminal organizations to flood our communities with drugs,” Stefanik said in a statement. Rep. Paul Tonko, who represents Albany County and much of the rest of the Capital Region in New York's 20th Congressional District, co-sponsored the legislation. The bill, HR 3617 removes cannabis from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substance Act. NY-21 Democratic congressional candidate Matt Putorti, who is trying to replace Stefanik in Congress, said he supported the legislation. Liz Joy, a Republican trying to replace Tonko in NY-20, Tweeted her opposition, writing, “Glad to see that they have their priorities straight with everything else going on in our nation and the world.” Read more about this story in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Ted Potrikus reports on the All Otsego website that while Rep. Antonio Delgado, a Democrat representing the 19th Congressional District and Republican Marc Molinaro, who wants to replace Delgado in the November election, are on the same side of a state issue they have no say in, and Molinaro still managed to create an argument in their agreement. Both Delgado and Molinaro are against New York farm workers getting overtime pay after 40 hours of work a week, like almost all other workers receive. Instead, they both want New York to retain an antiquated law that keeps farm workers from overtime wages until they work 60 hours in a week. “Agriculture already faces a growing labor crisis, and lowering the farmworker overtime threshold to 40 hours puts farm operations in New York State at serious risk,” Delgado says. “Many farmers and producers have expressed concerns that the resulting increase in costs will put them out of business.” Molinaro agreed with Delgado on the issue, but still tried to disagree with him. “Antonio Delgado waited till the cows came home to address this issue, an 11th-hour appeal opposing the proposed Farm Workers Overtime, with the knowledge that the budget will contain a tax credit to mitigate the cost,” Molinaro said. Neither gets any say on the issue, as New York State's Farm Laborers Wage Board decided to lower the farmworker overtime threshold from 60 hours per week to 40 hours per week, and Gov. Kathy Hochul is currently contemplating rejecting the board's decision. There will be no federal vote on the issue, nor one in Dutchess County. Read more about this story on the All Otsego website.

Axios reports that a national Republican group is backing Marc Molinaro over Antonio Delgado in New York's 19th Congressional District election this fall. The Congressional Leadership Fund announced backing for Molinaro last week, among seven new endorsements. "I think that people are frustrated and fearful ... that the policies out of Washington and Albany are making life more expensive, and ... making us less safe," Molinaro said. "We hear it everywhere we go."

On April 7, all four Hudson Valley Congressional representatives voted for the "Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act," to block energy imports to the country that invaded Ukraine and continues to commit war crimes there. Only two Democrats and seven Republicans voted against the bill. On April 6 Democrats Delgado, Tonko, and Maloney voted to "find Peter K. Navarro and Daniel Scavino, Jr., in Contempt of Congress for Refusal to Comply with Subpoenas Duly Issued by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol." The Republican Stefanik voted to allow Navarro and Scavino to not comply with a Congressional subpoena.