RHINEBECK, NY — The races for which voters will cast ballots in the general election in November have been set. One of the heavily contested races is Congressional District 19. Patch asked candidates in the race to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles as election day nears.
Antonio Delgado, 43, is running for re-election to the 19th Congressional District. His opponents are Republican Kyle Van De Water, Libertarian Victoria Alexander and Green Party candidate Steven Greenfield.
Delgado, who lives in Rhinebeck, is completing his first term in office. He holds degrees from University of Oxford and Harvard Law School.
He is married with twin sons.
The 19th Congressional District is comprised of Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties.
Why are you seeking elective office?
I’m running because I care about the future of upstate New York and want to continue to do the work to advocate for everyone in our district, irrespective of party affiliation. Over the last two years, I have traveled New York’s 19th Congressional District listening to small business owners, family farmers, students, teachers and seniors. And most recently, I’ve seen how folks in our community have rallied around one another during this pandemic. Advocating for the people of NY-19 has been the honor of my life and I’m ready to continue these efforts, fight for investments in our communities and ensure that parents in upstate New York are able provide a better life for their children than the one they had.
The single most pressing issue facing our community, and what I intend to do about it.
The most pressing issue facing our nation right now is the COVID-19 pandemic and how we recover both from a health standpoint and economically. We have lost over 220,000 of our fellow Americans, and millions are unemployed. Our small businesses and family farms are looking toward the winter months with limited options for sustaining themselves, and local governments across our communities are struggling to deliver critical social services while facing devastating budgetary restraints. We must put aside political differences and get behind a stimulus bill that funds a robust national testing plan and provides meaningful economic relief to the American people.
At the federal level, I am working every single day to make sure our communities have the resources they need to respond to this global health emergency. Months ago, I voted to pass the Heroes Act and more recently voted for an updated version of the Heroes Act (Heroes 2) which included several pieces of legislation I introduced to respond to the needs of our community. Specifically, Heroes 2 includes my Small Business Debt Relief Extension Act, which extends the automatic SBA loan relief provided in my Small Business Repayment Relief Act that was signed into law as part of the CARES Act. Additionally, Heroes 2 incorporates my Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program or P4 Act, which allows the hardest hit businesses to apply for a second PPP loan. Heroes 2 also allocates funding for state and local governments and utilizes my bipartisan Direct Support for Communities Act—which would ensure that every single locality, regardless of size, can qualify for federal relief. As we move ahead, I am continuing to listen to folks all across the district and urging Congressional leaders to come to an agreement that meets the needs of our communities and gets relief to folks across our region as soon as possible.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
I have made it a priority during my first term in Congress to show up and listen to folks from every walk of life. It is imperative that our political leaders do this work and represent everyone, irrespective of party affiliation. To that end, I held 47 town halls, both in person and virtually, across this sprawling district to make sure communities all across NY-19 felt heard and accounted for in Washington. In 2019, I held 33 town halls, including three in all 11 counties that make up the district. The conversations at these events were always grounded in a shared commitment to civil and thoughtful discourse for the sake of the community at large.
In Congress, I’ve worked to introduce bipartisan legislation that reflects the needs of our community and sought common ground with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. This commitment to bipartisanship has brought about results for our district. For example, my bipartisan Family Farmer Relief Act was signed into law by the President. More recently, I introduced the bipartisan Protecting Rural Access to Care Act with Rep. Elise Stefanik, which would ensure that our hospitals can maintain their status as “Critical Access Hospitals” – allowing them to access additional federal funding and better provide for our rural communities.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.
My priorities at the federal level come from the conversations I’m having with folks across NY-19. I’m dedicated to serving this district with transparency and accessibility – that’s why I held 47 town halls in my first term, opened five district offices and set up four bipartisan, locally-based advisory committees focusing on veterans, health care, small businesses and agriculture. This engagement led me to introduce over 40 bills, more than half of which are bipartisan, and 18 have passed the House. My legislation includes priorities from bringing down health care costs, to investing in rural infrastructure, to expanding broadband access. I’m particularly proud that three of my bills became law: my bipartisan Family Farmer Relief Act, which gives our farmers more financial flexibility, my Small Business Repayment Relief Act, which automatically waives six months of SBA loan payments during COVID-19, and my legislation to rename the Pine Plains Post Office in honor of Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent, who we tragically lost to a suicide bomber in Syria.
In addition, I will continue to fight for our local family farms through my role on the House Committee on Agriculture, and work to make sure our federal policies are more aligned with enabling economies of cooperation as opposed to economies of scale. Connecting with farmers across our district has brought about real results, too. Last year, following farm tours across NY-19 and conversations with my Agriculture Advisory Committee, I introduced the bipartisan Family Farmer Relief Act, which eases the process of reorganizing debt through Chapter 12 bankruptcy. This legislation, which passed the House and Senate, and was signed into law by the President, will allow more farmers remain operational during this challenging time for agriculture.
I also remain laser focused on increasing access to broadband. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the urgent need for high-speed internet so our students can reach the virtual classroom, small businesses and farmers can access the online marketplace and seniors can receive tele-medicine. Last year, I held a Rural Broadband Field Hearing where FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks heard from constituents across our district about how a lack of consistent connection and faulty mapping practices were holding back our communities. Improving broadband access is just one of the many ways we can invest in our rural infrastructure and help our communities across upstate get ahead.
As a member of the Small Business Committee, I will keep fighting for accessible relief programs that assist our small businesses. During CARES Act negotiations, I successfully worked to include my Small Business Repayment Relief Act, which provided $17 billion in loan relief for qualified SBA loans. I also was able to secure $9 billion to support our farmers as part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. I will continue to listen to the needs of entrepreneurs in our district and work to ensure they have the resources they need to navigate this pandemic.
Amid a global health emergency, it has never been more important that we continue to prioritize access to health care and lower the cost of prescription drugs. In April of 2019, I introduced the Medicare-X Choice Act, which would create a public option health plan. I also voted to pass H.R. 3 in order to lower the cost of prescription drugs by giving Medicare the ability to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. I will keep pushing for my legislation and pursue measures to increase access to care and lower the cost of prescription drugs.
Lastly, we continue to see the costly impact of rising global temperatures and we have a moral and economic imperative to act. I introduced the Green Jobs and Opportunity Act to address climate change and ensure our workforce is prepared for the labor demands of a green economy. Specifically, my legislation requires the Departments of Labor and Energy to compile reports projecting future workforce needs in green energy sectors. The bill would then direct investments in development programs to train our young people with the skills needed to fill these jobs and prepare our workforce to meet the energy needs of tomorrow.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve worked to find common ground and partner with folks on the other side of the aisle to get things done for our community. These efforts have brought about real results for our region, as I was one of just three House members from either party to have two or more standalone bills signed into law last year. My work has also received recognition from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which not only endorsed my campaign for re-election, but also awarded me their inaugural Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship, which was awarded to only 20 House members, as well as their Spirit of Enterprise Award for my legislative record in support of small businesses. And for my work to advocate for our farmers across NY-19, the American Farm Bureau Federation has recognized me with their “Friend of Farm Bureau” Award.
The best advice ever shared with me was …
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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