With federal employees in Upstate New York and across the country missing their first paycheck Friday because of the government shutdown, U.S. Antonio Delgado, D-19th, today said he will be asking the House of Representatives chief administrative officer to withhold his pay as long as the shutdown continues.
“As someone who grew up in a working-class family in Schenectady,” said Delgado in a statement issued from his Washington D.C. office. ” I understand what a paycheck means for a family, whether it’s for paying for groceries or filling a prescription, paying the rent—no one should have to put their lives on hold because of our inability here to find common ground and reopen the government.”
Otsego County’s congressman, Antonio Delgado, D-19, yesterday cosponsored his first piece of legislation, H.R. 1, the “For the People” Act, aimed at “addressing the imbalance of corporate power to make government work for the people,” according to a press release.
The package aims to reduce corporate money in politics, enhance voting rights, expand conflict-of-interest law, require greater transparency for lobbyists, and end gerrymandering by requiring states to create independent redistricting commissions.
U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado today said he couldn’t “say for sure” he would open an office in Otsego County.
Calling New York’s District 19 constituents his “North Star,” Delgado said he is opening offices in Delhi and in Kingston this month, but he is still deciding whether there will be an “actual physical office (in Otsego County) or a mobile office.”
Just back from his Washington D.C. initiation, Congressman-elect Antonio Delgado, D-19, thanks volunteers at a victory gathering this afternoon at his Oneonta field office on Dietz Street. Delgado thanked all the volunteers and supporters who, he said, knocked on more than 200,000 doors on the days leading up to the Nov. 6 midterms to encourage people to get out and vote. Following his speech, people lined up the thank the Delgado and get their pictures taken with him. Above, Oneonta’s NAACP President Lee Fisher and wife Joanne congratulate Delgado on his victory over Congressman John Faso. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
League of Women Voters’ moderators lost control of the Monday, Oct. 22, debate between the incumbent Otsego County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr., and his challenger, retired state trooper Bob Fernandez.
Not the candidates – the League, to the point where moderator Barbara Heim of Oneonta threatened at least twice to shut it down and send home the 150+ attendees who packed The Fenimore Museum Auditorium, filled folding chairs in the aisles and crowded into the hallway, trying to hear the goings-on inside.
The dramatic highpoint came when Heim challenged the crowd: If you think you can do a better job, come up here. At that point, Tom Leiber of Oaksville, a pal of Fernandez going back to their high school days on Long Island, jumped up and volunteered.
That prompted the League’s debate organizer, Maureen Murray of Cooperstown, to jump up and, again, threaten that, if people misbehaved, she would kick everyone out.
Yes, the attendees – Devlin and Fernandez’
adherents alike – were pumped. Clearly, the League – this was the first co-organized by the Oneonta and Cooperstown chapters – didn’t know what to do.
And, of course, that was contrary to its
central mission: To help Democracy work. Why mistreat citizens interested and engaged enough to drive out, many from 22 miles hence, on a chilly, rainy night to participate in representative democracy?
Active citizens is what we all want – the League,
too – not what anyone wants to discourage.
Happily, in this season of debates leading up to the Nov. 6 mid-terms, the voting public was treated to an excellent contrasting example: The 19th District Congressional debate on WMHT, Troy, on Friday, Oct. 19, between incumbent U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, and the Democratic challenger, Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck. It was co-sponsored by Albany Times Union.
As you might expect, the experienced moderator, Matt Ryan, host of the station’s Emmy-winning “New York Now” program, was comfortable appearing before a crowd. He had three seasoned journalists – the Times Union reporter David Lombardo and Senior Editor for News Casey Seiler, and Karen Dewitt from WAMC and a 10-station network of NPR stations.
At the outset, Ryan welcomed the audience to applaud “one time” when the candidates were introduced, then to refrain for a logical reason: “So we can ask more questions” within the one-hour limit.
Each candidate was given 90 seconds to answer to a question;
the rival 45 seconds to react – and that was it. Ryan halted any candidate who then tried to jump in. However, given the brisk pace, a candidate who may have felt shortchanged had a chance to expand his comment in responses to later questions.
Blood was drawn. Delgado tried to pin “racist” ads on Faso. Faso noted Delgado moved to the 19th from New Jersey two years ago, then immediately registered to run for Congress.
By the end audience members were given ample insights to help guide their votes, which is the point
In an interview with WMHT’s Ryan, it became clear that, even with a pro, soft skills are essential.
A time clock flags the candidates at 30 seconds, 15 seconds and zero, when bell rights softly, so no candidate is surprised. Ryan says he won’t just cut candidates off in mid-sentence. He gauges whether a candidate is just wrapping up and, if so, will give him a few seconds. If it looks like the candidate is warming up the topic, Ryan will politely – important word – move on.
The set-up of the room is important, too. Remarking on the argumentative Cuomo-Molinaro gubernatorial debate a few days later, he noted the candidates were too close to the moderator, allowing them to dominate. At the WMHT debate, Ryan was at a lectern, with candidates seated on one side, reporters on the other, establishing an air of formality.
Likewise, with proceedings being aired on live TV, candidates and audience alike tend to be better behaved, Ryan said. Locally, the debates have been videotaped for rebroadcast in the past, but that didn’t happen this time.
Bottom line, mistakes were made by people of good will. But a repeat should be avoided. The League organizers would be wise to convene a conversation of stakeholders – League organizers, the county Republican and
Democratic chairs, a winning and a losing candidate, representatives
of the press, and frequent attendees from the public – after Nov. 6 to talk through the whole approach. Maureen Murray was intrigued by such an idea.
Some additional issues:
• Two Otsego debates were cancelled because one of the candidates, Assemblyman Magee in the 121st District then Delgado, demurred. Thus, one candidate’s refusal to debate can prevent another from communicating his/her message to voters. That’s not right.
• A media representative from this newspaper was removed from the panel because a candidate objected. The reason given: the newspaper had endorsed the other candidate in the primary. The League shouldn’t punish a free press for making endorsements; the candidates shouldn’t control the League’s debate.
• Should the League have the exclusive franchise on local political debates? Maybe it could take the lead in forming an independent entity – it would include League representation, of course – to make sure all the local expertise available is brought to bear.
In commenting on AllOTSEGO’s
Facebook page, former Hartwick Town Supervisor Pat Ryan ended her critique with: “This opinion in no way is meant to disparage all of the good work the League does in supporting our right to vote and be informed on the issues!”
But, she added, “Let’s talk about the ground rules for the
Lincoln/Douglas debate, which was a true debate!” A true debate, indeed: frank, content-rich,
pointed and sufficiently polite, leading the best candidate to
victory at the polls. Indeed,
that’s the goal.
LOUDONVILLE – Freshman Republican Representative John Faso is ahead of his Democratic opponent Antonio Delgado by just a single point in the Siena Poll released this morning.
Forty-four percent of likely voters support Faso, 43 percent support Delgado, 6 percent are with a third-party candidate, and 7 percent are undecided, according to a new Spectrum News/Siena College poll of likely 19th Congressional District voters.
CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. Boston’s premier vocal chamber ensemble “Renaissance Men” perform vocal music from all periods, by many composers. Tickets, $25 general admission. First United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St.,Oneonta. 607-433-7252 or visit oneontaconcertassociation.org
SQUARE DANCE – 7:30 p.m. Dance with friends at Doubleday Dancers Western Square Dance Clubs Fall All Plus Dance. Features Keith Harter as Plus caller, Jeanne Harter as Cuer. Admission, $5/person. Cooperstown Elementary School. 607-264-8128.
The hundreds of people turned out in the fields of Campbell Rd in Cherry Valley today at the annual Kite Fest where dozens of colorful kites of all shapes and sizes filled the sky. Above, Marieanne Coursen, Edmeston, flies a kite with her enthralled granddaughter Laurelye Tafel, New Berlin. At right, Antonio Delgado, the Democratic candidate for the NY-19th Congressional District who made an appearance at the event, shakes hands with Ginger Heitz, Cooperstown, and Kat Chiba, Cherry Valley. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)