The 2022 midterm elections are upon us and once again we need to sift through the news and all of the flyers we receive in the mail to figure out who to vote for.
In the 19th Congressional District, I have learned that Josh Riley supports the CHIPS and Science Act that was responsible for bringing the multi-billion dollar chip plant to the Syracuse area. This is a game changer for families who watch their kids graduate and move out of the area in search of good paying jobs.
Marc Molinaro, candidate for Antonio Delgado’s U.S. House of Representatives seat, was on Main Street in Cooperstown on Tuesday talking to business owners and people in general.
“This is probably my tenth or twelve visit to this region. The region still holds on to the small villages and a sense of community, and the surrounding areas. The area still faces the same challenges though; I’ve been speaking with business owners and they are having a hard time getting labor, materials, and goods, and the cost of business is higher than it’s ever been before.
“Online competition is real. Those are the challenges that every community and their small businesses face,” Mr. Molinaro said.
[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.
From left to right — Malkit Singh, Tony Singh, Inderjit Singh, Paul Singh, Monty Singh, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro,
Gurdev Singh, Assemblyman Chris Tague, Senator Peter Oberacker, Harry Singh and Javin, and Billy Singh.
Sen. Peter Oberacker (R-Schenevus) and Assemblyman Chris Tague (R-Schoharie) hosted Congressional candidate Marc Molinaro on a March 18 trip through Otsego County to visit area businesses and discuss plans to relieve rising costs for small businesses and consumers.
The trio spent an hour at Apple Food & Grocery on Route 28 in Milford to meet at the family business with Paul Singh and customers and talk about Sen. Oberacker’s proposal that would suspend New York’s gasoline tax from April 1 through September 1 and, thereafter, dedicate a certain portion of tax revenue to highway and bridge funds.
“I had to turn off my political brain and turn on my business brain,” Sen. Oberacker said. “If I had proposed a repeal for an entire year, it would’ve made no progress. My proposal has a definite start date and a definite sunset. We hope people will return to the roads after COVID and the gas prices right now are just killing them.”
“This isn’t pandering,” he said. “It’s the best relief we can give right now. Then when we reinstitute the tax, we make sure that we dedicate money directly to highways and bridges and ensure a better return on the investment every New Yorker makes when they fill their car at the pump.”
Dutchess County Executive Molinaro, now challenging Antonio Delgado in the race to represent the newly redrawn 19th Congressional District, said government is taking “too much advantage of
State Zigged To Democrats,
But County Zagged To GOP
The Wall Street Journal headline was sly: “Blue Wave Breaks Softly.”
The article reported that, as of Nov. 6, Election Night, Democrats gained 27 Congressional seats in the midterms, regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
That pales compared to Democrats losing 63 in the first Obama midterms in 2010, and losing the House as well; still, even one-vote control is control. (As canvassing ensued, it looks like Democrats may end up with plus 35 to 40 new seats; still, not the GOP Armageddon some were salivating over. And Republicans increased their margin in the U.S. Senate.)
Whatever – nationwide. But when you look at New York State government, the Blue Wave broke hard Upstate, not least over Otsego County, with some unnerving implications.
The state Senate zigged, turning from enduringly Republican to Democratic, a feat accomplished for only two years in a half-century.
But Otsego County zagged: With the loss of Democratic Assemblyman Bill Magee of Nelson, the one state senator and four assemblymen representing our county are all Republicans, about to dive into a Democratic sea.
That can’t be good.
State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who will be operating without Magee’s steady support in the Democratic House for the first time since 1991, said he’s used to working in a bipartisan manner.
In an interview, he used the term “equitable distribution” twice, hoping the Democrats will extend the concept that has allowed the state’s largesse to be enjoyed statewide.
That would be great, but we’ll see.
More of an issue than Democrats and Republicans is Upstaters vs. downstaters, Seward observed. Only three of the state’s 30 senators are from north of Westchester County. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
The GOP county chairman, Vince Casale, addressed the legislative picture. Now in control of Assembly, Senate and Governor’s Office, he predicts Democrats will seek to legalize marijuana as soon as January, and will press for adoption of the NY Plan, Medicare-like coverage for all Empire Staters – exciting, but perhaps bankrupting.
Depending how hard and fast the Democrats push, what went around in 2018 may come around in 2020.
Meanwhile, even local Democrats are a bit uneasy. Richard Sternberg, the Cooperstown village trustee who is also a member of the state Democratic Committee, said he hopes that, since our mayors are Democratic (Oneonta’s Gary Herzig and Cooperstown’s Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch), the funds will keep flowing.
And, as architect of Democratic gains on the Otsego County Board of Representatives last year, Sternberg is looking ahead to creating a majority next year; he’s only one seat short.
Given the new Albany reality, becoming aligned with the ruling party only makes sense, his remarks suggested.
If anything, we here in Otsego County compounded the zag by voting heavily for Marc Molinaro, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Republican challenger.
Arguably, Cuomo’s done more for Otsego County than any governor in decades, Democrat or Republican, and did so by embracing an all-American principle: competition.
The governor’s concept – divide the state into 10 regions and make them compete for state economic-development funding, and may the best ideas win – was brilliant.
In the past five years, Otsego County has competed and competed well, winning millions annually through CFAs; (the next round of “consolidated funding application” grants is due to be announced in December). Plus, remember Oneonta’s DRI.
In the world of New York State realpolitik, here’s more good news in the returns.
While the county as a whole supported Republicans, Oneonta and Cooperstown are strong Democratic enclaves, supporting Senator Seward, the county’s favorite son, but breaking blue on everything else.
Oneonta, for its population, and Cooperstown, for its iconic status, are not to be ignored, whatever party controls the state political apparatus.
Whoever’s in charge in Albany, there’s a lot to be done here, so fingers crossed.
In today’s weekly “Morning Headlines” on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, Jim Kevlin, editor/publisher of www.AllOTSEGO.com (and Hometown Oneonta & the Freeman’s Journal), reports on The Casale Group, Cooperstown-based political consultants, being chosen by Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro to manage his campaign.