Rep. Antonio Delgado, the representative for New York’s 19th District, made it clear that the town hall he held at Bethel Woods on July 8 would inform his work back in Washington.
Bethel, NY—Rep. Antonio Delgado, the representative for New York’s 19th District, made it clear that the town hall he held at Bethel Woods on July 8 would inform his work back in Washington.
“A number of the bills that I got signed into law last year literally originated from meetings I had with folks in the community,” Delgado said.
The 30-some people at the town hall took full advantage, asking questions and expressing concerns on issues of primary importance to their lives.
Two seperate attendees asked Delgado about the upcoming withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.
Delgado said that, while it was important to bring American servicemen and women home, it was crucial to do so in a way that respected American values. He talked about the Afghan men and women who put themselves in danger to help American forces and said that “the notion that we would, in pulling out, leave them completely vulnerable... is a terrifying thought.”
Delgado also took questions regarding voting rights. He talked about the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, saying that the removal of pre-clearance requirements had opened the door for voter disenfranchisement, and that new voting protections were required.
A follow-up question from another attendee asked about election integrity.
Delgado said he was very concerned about protecting the integrity of American elections from foreign interference.
“That’s not what I said,” the attendee muttered.
The attendee had asked a different question, Delgado acknowledged. He said that, while it was important to impose protections against voter fraud, any such efforts would have to work from the data that currently existed, which did not support allegations of widespread voter fraud.
“It’s important that it’s a bedrock right, the right to vote,” said Delgado. “We have to really care about that if we are to be a democracy, we have to.”
A board member of the Lake Jefferson Conservation Association said the lake and its dam needed significant funding for repairs, and that Delgado’s office had been helpful in the past with meeting the needs of the lake. Delgado said that his office would continue to work with the association.
A resident of Bethel asked about internet access in Sullivan County, citing it as a major issue for her and for anyone looking to live or to do business in the county.
“It’s [at the] front of my mind,” said Delgado. He said that he was working to ensure that the problem was recognized at the federal level and to have funding to address it included in infrastructure bills. He said that residents should continue agitating for change on the local level as well.
“I become a nuisance after a while,” said the resident.
“No, no,” said Delgado. “That’s engagement.”
Another attendee asked about the issues facing local farmers, saying that the USDA relaxing its standards for organic dairy led to large farms flooding the market and depressing prices.
Delgado said that he hoped to bring the secretary of the USDA to the district to have him see what issues local farmers were facing, and that it was essential to incentivize local organizations to buy from local farmers.
It’s “economies of scale versus economies of cooperation,” he said.