BAKING CLASS – 6 p.m. Learn how to make light and fluffy Cinnamon Rolls at home with amateur baker Alex Benjamin. Zoom link & ingredients will be sent 5/13. Cook-a-long or just enjoy the show. Presented online by the Huntington Memorial Library, Oneonta.
BLOOD DRIVE – 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. Donate through May 19 for chance to win a travel trailer camper that sleeps eight. Richfield Springs Community Center, Walnut St., Richfield Springs. 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org
[Editor’s note: This week’s edition goes to press just as the news about Rep. Delgado is breaking; we offer here a brief analysis of the situation as it stands on the morning of May 3.]
For Otsego County, Governor Kathy Hochul’s May 3 announcement appointing Rep. Antonio Delgado as her new second-in-command in Albany is nothing short of politically seismic — a move that could send aftershocks throughout the entire state and even into Washington, D.C.
Certainly Rep. Delgado was a Washington up-and-comer, an important part of the Democratic Party’s hopes to keep its majority in the 2022 mid-term elections. That he was pitted against a popular Republican challenger, Marc Molinaro, in an electoral district whose boundaries hang in the balance of a federal mediator, might have had something to do with his decision to take the offer.
Political machinations notwithstanding, Governor Hochul’s choice is a wise one. Rep. Delgado has proven himself to be a tireless and energetic voice for Otsego County and his district as a whole. Smart, approachable, and affable, when he shows up at an event or to tour a business, he shows up with good questions and displays a genuine interest in the issues at hand.
New York State Commissioner of Labor Roberta Reardon has not yet rendered her decision on whether to accept the state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board decision to lower the farmworker overtime threshold from 60 hours per week to 40 hours per week, but that hasn’t stopped likely 2022 19th congressional district race foes Antonio Delgado and Marc Molinaro from lobbing a few press release barbs at each other over the issue.
Incumbent Congressman Delgado (D) released a March 29, 2022 letter he sent to Governor Kathy Hochul urging her to reject the Board’s January decision.
U.S. Small Business Administration chief Isabella Casillas Guzman, right, chats at the Baseball Hall of Fame with, from left, Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch, Vice President Eric Strohl, and Congressman Antonio Delgado during a March 4 tour of small businesses in Cooperstown.
SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, a member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet, stopped first with the Congressman at Cooperstown Distillery, joined there by village Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Otsego County Treasurer Allen Ruffles, and regional SBA officials. Distillery owner Gene Marra hosted the tour.
“We believe in local small businesses,” Mr. Marra told the delegation. “We use local grains from our farm in Canajoharie and from Rochester, we get our barrels from Remsen. It’s a complete New York thing.”
He pointed to assistance from the Village and the SBA in his work to expand his Railroad Avenue business from 3,000 to 12,000 square feet; Rep. Delgado noted the expansion of the craft beverage marketplace as important to upstate New York’s economy.
“Agritourism is big business in this part of the country,” Mr. Marra agreed. As he displayed the Distillery’s exclusive baseball, football, and golf club-shaped bottles, he noted, “The Wall Street Journal is calling New York the ‘Kentucky of the North’ because we’re distilling so much world-class bourbon. There are 90 distilleries here now, of course, ours is the best of them!”
Rep. Delgado and Administrator Guzman next visited Cooperstown Bat, a manufacturer of game-ready baseball bats for players of all ages and the third-oldest bat company in the United States.
The head of President Joe Biden’s Small Business Administration, Isabella Casillas Guzman, spent the afternoon of Friday, March 4 in Cooperstown with Congressman Antonio Delgado hosting a tour of some of the Village’s best-known small businesses. Along with Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and Otsego County Treasurer Allen Ruffles, the group discussed the president’s key infrastructure initiative, SBA outreach, pandemic relief and recovery, and other issues before convening a small business forum at Cooperstown Village Hall. Here, from left to right, Rep. Delgado, Mayor Tillapaugh, Baseball Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch, and Administrator Casillas Guzman listen as Eric Strohl, Vice President of Exhibits and Collections at the Hall of Fame, shares details of the ‘women in baseball’ exhibit on permanent display at the Hall. Earlier in the afternoon, the group visited Cooperstown Distillery on Railroad Avenue and Cooperstown Bat Company on Main Street. We’ll have a full story on the afternoon coming up in the March 10 print and on-line editions of The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta / allotsego.com.
Rep. Antonio Delgado on his IOXUS tour in Oneonta on February 22.
Rep. Elise Stefanik with Andela Production Manager Dave Spencer during her tour of Andela Products in Richfield Springs on February 22.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R) stopped in Richfield Springs Tuesday, February 22, for her first official visit to Otsego County since lawmakers grafted its northernmost regions into her already-sprawling 21st Congressional District.
“I used to have 12 counties in my district, now I’ll have 18 if I get the support of the voters in November,” she said as she toured Andela Products and Ruby Lake Glass on Route 28. She heard from Andela Production Manager Dave Spencer and Ruby Lake Managing Member Jonathan Gross as the pair talked about challenges facing small manufacturers in upstate New York. The two companies, which together recycle, pulverize, and repurpose glass products to ship around the world, struggle with the now-common pressures of supply chain, labor, and regulatory burdens.
“It’s costing us three-and-a-half times more for a container ship now than it did six months ago,” Mr. Spencer said.
The Congresswoman noted her concern that the companies’ labor woes mirror those of small businesses throughout her district.
“We have to get people back to work,” she said. “I think the pandemic unemployment benefits went on too long and people just stopped going to work. You’re facing regulatory hurdles and big taxes, I understand that.”
As for New York-specific politics, Congresswoman Stefanik said she welcomed upstate native Harry Wilson into the now-four-candidate race to run as the Republican candidate for
Congressman Antonio Delgado headlines a roster of local officials outlining 2022 priorities during a virtual “State of the State” presented by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, January 11.
The Chamber offers free Zoom access to the event but requires pre-registration at www.bit.ly/2022-StateofState.
Representative Antonio Delgado traveled to Fly Creek last week to meet with Fly Creek Cider Mill owner Bill Michaels, touring the facility and discussing the challenges confronting small businesses in Otsego County.
While the pair discussed topics ranging from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure package and supply chain concerns, Rep. Delgado and Mr. Michaels spoke at length about hiring concerns and how the federal government’sH-2B visa program helps keep the Cider Mill humming.
It’s a complicated process: H-2B allows domestic employers to hire a certain number of non-immigrant workers on a seasonal basis, contracted for eight to nine months, and after the United States Department of Labor issues a certificate of need. Work has to be open first to any and all United States citizens and, if a citizen accepts the seasonal contract, the number of available H-2B positions decreases accordingly. Among the list of requirements: Domestic employers must pay the prevailing wage for the open position, as well as provide housing and transportation for all workers.
“We have never had any United States citizens apply for these positions,” Mr. Michaels said.
The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Zoom town hall Tuesday, July 27, to discuss workforce needs for small businesses.
The participants included Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, and Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie.
The overall sentiments of the Zoom call echoed the reality of a huge problem with understaffing and the difficulties hiring employees in Otsego County.
Business owners spoke of restaurants being unable to service customers due to staff shortages and some businesses being forced to close early based on having no staff available.
Audrey Benkenstein, from Opportunities for Otsego, spoke about how many of her organization’s positions required advanced degrees and training, which made finding employees very difficult.
“We serve a vulnerable population and without staffing our programs suffer,” Benkenstein said. She said there were also lack of transportation options, lack of internet issues and lack of day care assistance available.
COOPERSTOWN — Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-NY19, appeared in Otsego County on Thursday, May 28, to speak about the money the county will receive from the American Rescue Plan, which he help shepherd through Congress.
Otsego County receive about $11.5 million, he said, half of which has already been delivered, with the other half to follow within a year. Other county towns and villages will also receive money from the act.
“Its been a joy,” Delgado said. “It’s a real testament to what government can do.”
Delgado also praised the bipartisan nature of the politicians that were gathered at the press conference, including State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-51st District, and State Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102nd District, and said it is how it should be in all forms of government.
“This is a big deal, people,” Delgado said. “We’re able to get real meaningful dollars to our community.”
Delgado also said that they had to make sure “we had flexibility” to get things done with “something more cooperative.”
“I call that direct democracy,” he said.
Delgado spoke on the importance of getting broadband for the county calling it a “basic necessity.”
Today, Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, voted to pass H.R. 5, the Equality Act, to ensure that all LGBTQ Americans are granted the full protections guaranteed by federal civil rights law.
The Equality Act extends anti-discrimination protections not just in the workplace, but in every place – in employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations.
“Our LGBTQ neighbors, friends, and family deserve access to the same rights and protections as every other American,” said Delgado.