I like Joe Biden. By that I mean I like him personally. I lived in the state of Delaware, in Sussex County, the southernmost of Delaware’s three counties, between 2000 and 2008. While there are beach communities hugging its eastern Atlantic shore and a small city, Seaford, anomalously hugging its western, most land locked area, the majority of the county is rural. The area is jokingly called Lower Slower Delaware. Many of the people come from families that have been there for 350 years. Most of the land is planted in feed corn for the millions of chickens that are raised there. Perdue is headquartered just across the border in Salisbury, MD and Mountaire Farms is headquartered in Millsboro, DE. Tysons has a very large presence. What I’m trying to say is that this is an area where things are very less formal and life moves a little slower. It’s a small state so the people involved in politics tend to know each other. It’s a state that, at least when I lived there, Democrats and Republicans after the elections got on very well with each other.
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.
After a year of hemorrhaging losses, the Biden Stimulus Plan will make Otsego County government “whole,” according to County Treasurer Allen Ruffles.
“That’s what I would think,” Ruffles said, after reviewing the news he was planning to deliver when the county Board of Representatives met Wednesday, April 7, for its monthly meeting. “It would make us whole.”
In all, county government, towns, villages and school board are expecting about $32 million from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID Stimulus Plan, signed into law March 11.
In January 2020, before the COVID-19 emergency, the county had put $4.8 million aside in savings. Soon, “that was gone, kaput,” he said. In the year since, the county gave up another $5.8 million in sales, occupancy and property taxes.
Total: $10.6 million. That means the so-called American Rescue Plan means the county will come out ahead by $400,000.
Hickling’s Fish Farm Inc. is exactly what Otsego Electric President/CEO Tim Johnson is talking about.
In tanks inside four sizeable modern buildings on Pitts Road near here, the Hicklings are growing 65-70,000 trout yearlings annually, and another 20-30,000 pounds of 2-year-old bass, which – a delicacy in Thai and other cultures – are sold to Asian markets in Boston and other East Coast cities.
“The big money we’re spending now is in technology,” said Darren Hickling, a civil engineer who operates the business with his parents, Vincent and Linda, a nephew and one of the nephew’s high-school buddies.
With the county’s outmigration, Hickling said he can’t expand his workforce even if he wanted to: There’s no one to hire.
“It” – Broadband – “was an economic-development initiative for us,” said Johnson, who had been outside legal counsel to Otsego Electric for 25 years before becoming the top executive in 2015.
As a 501(c)(12), Otsego Electric – a cooperative founded during the Depression, owned by members to serve members – Otsego Electric is prohibited from making profits.
Presidential election results show the popular vote exceeds 145 million (75+ to 70+). The candidate with 75+ pledged to unite America, which will require the cooperation of the 70+. That’s what unity means.
To bring America together again and to achieve unity guided by law and order will require the support and partnership of both political parties.
With the Presidential change on Jan. 20, 2021, we can anticipate options that favor greater security for future generations, the application of science, attention to facts, efforts to slow climate change, attention to air and water quality, advancements in clean energy, rigid adherence to the rights of all citizens, effective measures to combat bigotry, racism, xenophobia, and hate speech, and improvements in global unity.
In addition, we can expect advancement in science-based effects to overcome COVID-19 – a benefit for our global society.