Congressman Hinchey Will Retire From Congress at End of Current Term
Upon graduating from high school, Maurice enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in the Pacific on the destroyer U.S.S. Marshall. After receiving an honorable discharge, he worked for two years as a laborer in a Hudson Valley cement plant. He then enrolled in the State University of New York at New Paltz and put himself through college working as a night-shift toll collector on the New York State Thruway. He went on to earn a master's degree at SUNY New Paltz and did advanced graduate work in public administration and economics at the State University of New York at Albany.
Among the key highlights of Hinchey's time in public office are:
• Under Hinchey's leadership as Chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee, the panel conducted a successful investigation into the causes of "Love Canal," the nation's first major toxic dumpsite, and developed landmark environmental legislation including the nation's first law to control acid rain.
• Between 1982 and 1992, Hinchey led an investigation into organized crime's control of the waste-hauling industry that led to the conviction of more than 20 criminal figures, including one for murder.
• Hinchey successfully led the fight, first in Albany and later in Washington, to force General Electric to pay for and clean up the 1.3 million pounds of PCBs it dumped into the Hudson River between 1947 and 1977. Dating back to his days as Chair of the State Assembly's Environmental Conservation Committee, Hinchey fought against numerous attempts to delay and narrow the clean-up process, and he worked tirelessly to make sure the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held GE responsible for the cleanup. In 2011, Hinchey visited the upper Hudson River to laud the commencement of the second and final phase of the cleanup as a critical step forward in removing PCB contamination that has plagued the Hudson River for many decades.
• As an assemblyman, Hinchey developed the statewide system of Urban Cultural Parks, including those in Kingston and Binghamton and authored the legislation that created the Hudson River Valley Greenway. He built on this accomplishment later, as a member of Congress, by writing and championing the passage of legislation that created the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, giving the region national prominence as well as access to increased federal resources.