Delgado, in AARP call, rebuts Faso, talks climate and economy
Democratic congressional candidate Antonio Delgado on Friday said developing bipartisan support for legislation means recognizing issues on the ground that affect people across district boundaries.
Delgado spoke during a conference call organized by AARP a day after his Republican opponent in the Nov. 6 election, U.S. Rep. John Faso, participated in a call. AARP said just over 2,600 people were on the Delgado call. Faso’s call drew about 3,000.
Faso, during his call, said he strives for bipartisanship as a member of the House.
Faso and Delgado — along with Green Party candidate Steve Greenfield of New Paltz and independent candidate Diane Neal of Hurley — are seeking the seat in New York’s 19th Congressional District. Faso has held the seat for one two-year term.
Answering a question about climate change, Delgado said people need to understand its impact at the local level.
“It can be an abstract concept and it can run away from you if you don’t tie to the ground levels,” the Rhinebeck resident said.
He said examples of the local impact of climate change is farmers have had to adjust planting practices and individuals are dealing with a growing tick population.
“Every where I’ve gone across this district, we have come across folks who have dealt with Lyme disease,” Delgado said. “As a father, I can tell you one of the scariest things for me is taking ticks [off] my children when they come from playing in the backyard.”
With fossil fuels often blamed for climate change, Delgado pressed for the use of alternative energy sources — not only for the
sake of the environment but for the good of the economy.
“For the small business owner, for the business community, all the economic growth right now is in the renewable energy space,” Delgado said. “That’s where the growth is. It’s not in the fossil fuel industry. It’s investment in solar [energy, which is] growing at 17 times the rate of the overall economy.”
Of his opponent in the upcoming election, Delgado said Faso has misrepresented several positions the Democrat has taken.
“Congressman Faso has tried to create a straw man,” Delgado said. “In essence, somebody who he’d like to run against rather than the person who is running against him.”
“I’m not advocating for a government takeover of health care. I’m advocating for a public option ... [that] allows people to buy into the system, so people are actually paying into the system for the care they need,” he said.
Several callers noted that existing Medicaid programs don’t include coverage for hearing aids or dental procedures, which Delgado called a shortcoming that became worse under Republican control of Congress.
Delgado said improving broadband internet access across the 19th Congressional District would be a significant economic driver.
“If you don’t have the ability through your phone or through the internet to access the market and sell you goods and services, that is a real problem,” he said. “It blows my mind that, here we are in New York, and folks are still living without broadband access. ... This [affects] our farming community because there’s billions of dollars right now in New York City for locally grown organic food that we can’t tap into because we are not building the infrastructure regionally that allows our farming community to do that.”
Delgado said the Republican approach to helping small businesses puts the country at risk of repeating the banking crisis that required bailing out financial institutions that were considered too big to fail.
“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen recently is a bank bill that allows that access at the expense of allowing big banks to do the same sort of practices that lad us into the 2008 crisis,” he said. “Those two things shouldn’t go hand in hand. We should be able to provide access to small community banking without ... [allowing] the big banks to do exactly what they did to get us in trouble in the first place.”
New York’s 19th Congressional District comprises all of Ulster, Greene, Columbia, Sullivan, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego counties; most of Dutchess County; parts of Rensselaer and Montgomery counties; and a small piece of Broome County.
AARP said it not sponsoring conference calls for Greenfield or Neal because neither has reached 10 percent support in major polls.