By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special To www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – There are 163 towns in the 19th Congressional District, many of them with fireworks, parades and other events celebrating Independence Day. And Antonio Delgado, the Democratic candidate for Congress, chose to spend his Fourth of July in Oneonta.
“Oneonta is a wonderful place,” he said. “I have a responsibility to touch every part of the district, to meet with people and listen to them.”
At this hour, Delgado, the Democratic nominee running against U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, is making the rounds at the Hometown Fourth of July festivities in Neahwa Park. “I’m just out here meeting people,” he said. “That’s the plan.”
“We’re so delighted to have him here,” said Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig. “I believe we’re the most important city in the district.”
The visit – to a county which he lost by a larger margin than any other; Otsego supported Brian Flynn – marks his first public even since he won a crowded primary on Tuesday June 26. “I want this campaign to be about the issues,” he said. “We have got to be about providing for the working folks of this district.”
Healthcare, he said, is one of his strongest focuses for the area. “In this district, healthcare is critical,” he said. “It’s about rural access. There are a lot of elderly people in this area who rely on Medicare, and the hospitals are the biggest employers in Otsego County. It’s the centerpiece of this area, and yet, we have a Congressman who couldn’t be any worse on this issue. He’s being inconsistent with what the folks on the ground want.”
This morning, Delgado was at an event in Dutchess county, and this evening, he will be at an event in Greene county. Though he won in Dutchess, both Greene and Otsego went to Bryan Flynn.
Delgado gave brief remarks to the crowd from the band shell on the importance of the holiday. “I know we’re going through some tough times,” he said. “But we are a beacon of hope. We have always been marching forward, and we will continue that fight.”
“We are the land of the free and the home of the brave,” he said. “And now it’s time to be free. To be brave.”