Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Otsego County’s Congressman Antonio Delgado’s State of the District address Monday, Jan. 4, the day after he was sworn in for a second term at the U.S. Capitol.
Accessibility, accountability, transparency. To me, these are not just words—they are my creed. I can’t promise that we will always see eye-to-eye on a particular issue.
But I can and do promise you that I will listen to your views, that I will treat them and you with respect, and that, whether we agree on an issue or not, I will explain my position to you.
As I look ahead at my second term in office, these principles will continue to guide me.
I will remain a member of the Committees on Small Business, Agriculture, and Transportation & Infrastructure – not the most high-profile committees in Congress, by any means,
but by far the most important for the needs of our district.
That’s where I want to be.
Using my leverage on these committees, I will redouble my efforts to help our 27,000 small businesses and self-employed individuals thrive despite challenging economic
I will keep fighting to ensure that our more than 5,000 farms – the backbone of both our upstate economy and our rural way of life – can compete in today’s farm economy.
And I will keep pushing for investments in our region’s infrastructure – from roads, to rail, to broadband, to cell service, to hospitals, to public schools, to affordable housing – so that we can ensure a healthier, safer, and more productive future for ourselves and our children.
Our first order of business in this new Congress, however, will be to confront the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
While public health experts tell us that the darkest days of the pandemic have yet to come – and it is essential that we remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions to keep our loved ones safe – we can find hope in the fact that the scientific community has produced a safe and effective vaccine in record time.
As of today, New York has administered more than 275,000 vaccine doses with almost 500,000 more doses on hand. While the vaccine rollout in New York and across the nation has gotten off to a slower than anticipated start, I’m confident that our state and our country will continue to accelerate the rate of vaccinations in the coming months.
To that end, it is imperative that Congress provides more funding for state and local governments to support those on the ground doing the heavy lifting of coordinating the vaccine’s distribution.
“As some of you know, I received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine here in D.C. on Dec. 18, and I will receive my second and final shot here this coming Friday. I took the vaccine upon the advice of the attending physician and consistent with continuity of government guidelines.
But I also took the vaccine to show that the vaccine is safe, and to demonstrate my trust in the public health officials whose expertise and advice has so often been ignored and undermined by those in elected office since the pandemic began.
As I travel back and forth between home and Washington and then make my way all across the district engaging with constituents about the health and the safety of the vaccine, my goal is to build trust and faith in this treatment. When I look someone in the eye and urge them to get vaccinated, I want them to know that I’ve done it, myself.
We have seen the impact of inconsistent leadership on important measures like mask-wearing, and I believe it is critical to clear up any confusion there may be around the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
I will continue to put my faith in this treatment while also ensuring that New York State, and the local governments therein, from counties to hamlets, have all the federal support needed to continue to roll out the vaccine at home.
In closing, I want to say how honored I am to be representing New York’s 19th District for another term. It has been the privilege of a lifetime. On Sunday, I took a sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution and faithfully discharge the duties of this office.
Tonight, I make another pledge to you: that I will continue to listen to your concerns and priorities for our nation; that I will always put what is right for our community above what is easy but wrong; and that I will strive to be an effective representative for everyone in our district.
Thank you, and God bless you.”
Congressman Delgado, now living in Rhinebeck, is a Colgate and Harvard Law School graduate, a Rhodes Scholar, and an experienced litigator on his election in 2018.