Del­gado, in AARP call, re­buts Faso, talks cli­mate and econ­omy

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@fre­manon­

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.


An­to­nio Del­gado

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