Quantcast
Skip to main content
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

Statement from Kathy Hochul on 2012 election

post by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, kathy hochul, NY-27

Press release from Kathy Hochul:

“Early this morning I called Chris Collins and congratulated him on being elected to Congress. I encouraged him to work across the aisle and offered to assist him in any way I can. I also volunteered to help him make a smooth transition in January to ensure our constituents are well served. Congress can do better, and the people of this country deserve better than what Washington has given them.”

Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 9:21 am

Seven questions for the candidates in the NY-27 race

post by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, kathy hochul, NY-27, politics

A little more than a week ago, we sent seven questions to each of the candidates for NY-27 congressional seat.

The rules were:

Here are seven questions we are asking each of the candidates to answer. Answers are due by Noon, Nov. 2. We’re asking each candidate to answer the questions directly without referring to your opponent or members of the opposing party. This is about each candidates positions on these issues, not what they think about the opposing party or the opposing candidate. Please craft answers accordingly. Answers will be published verbatim in a Q&A format.

Below are the questions and the answers from Chris Collins. Though we were told to expect answers from Kathy Hochul's campaign, we have not received the answers.

What would be your top priority over the next two years to help lower the costs of medical care – if it’s even possible – in the United States?

We must repeal ObamaCare which is, in effect, a government takeover of medical care in the United States and will greatly increase the cost of medical care. ObamaCare dictates to employers what benefits to provide even if those benefits are not needed or wanted by employees. ObamaCare greatly expands Medicaid which is already out of control in New York State and in many cases consumes 100% of county property taxes. We can’t afford more. We need tort reform with a cap on medical malpractice awards. Too much medicine is defensive medicine (some say as much as 30%). Tort reform is our greatest opportunity to reduce the cost of medicine.

What is your ideal future for Medicare?

We must repeal ObamaCare which cuts $716 billion from Medicare including cuts to current seniors, including my 85-year-old Mom. ObamaCare is focused on ending Medicare Advantage by cutting payments to providers which will result in increased premiums and cuts to benefits. Well over 50% of seniors in the 27th Congressional District depend on Medicare Advantage, including my 85-year-old Mom. We should not make cuts to Medicare for seniors age 55 or over, which is why we must repeal ObamaCare. We must work together to make sure Medicare is solvent for future generations and those age 55 and under.

Should the federal tax system be changed – flat tax or consumption tax instead of income tax, or remain as it is? If an income tax, should deductions such as the home mortgage interest deduction be eliminated?

We should make the current tax code flatter and fairer. The maximum marginal tax rate should be 25% - 28% to compete with the rest of the world. We can cap itemized deductions for higher wage earners so the top 1% still pay 37% of the nation’s tax. We should not eliminate mortgage interest deductions since we want to encourage home ownership.

Would you support military action against Iran to prevent that country from obtaining either a nuclear weapon or the capability to build one?

Military action should always be a last resort but the United States cannot allow Iran to obtain nuclear capabilities. All options should be on the table, but military action must be a last resort.

Genesee County needs to spend as much as $15 million on road and bridge repair in the next five years. What will you do, if anything, to help the county pay for infrastructure repair?

The federal government plays a role in infrastructure repair and should continue to do so. As Erie County Executive, I prioritized infrastructure repairs as an important piece of making the county a place where businesses wanted to locate.

What is your position on WNY STAMP? Should federal grants and subsidies be directed to that project to help bring businesses into the industrial park?

WNY STAMP is an opportunity to bring good jobs to our region. The decision should ultimately rest with the local community.

Sen. Charles Schumer supports building a section of high-speed rail through a portion of Genesee County in the area of Bergen. What is your position on this project?  

I do not support high speed rail. The United States has $16 trillion in debt and currently runs a $1 trillion yearly deficit. We are broke and the cupboards are bare.

UPDATE: We received Hochul's answers this afternoon as I was on my way to Rochester to cover the Notre Dame game, or I would have posted them several hours ago.

What would be your top priority over the next two years to help lower
the costs of medical care – if it’s even possible – in the United
States?

I am confident our country can slow, and even reverse the skyrocketing growth in health care costs.  First of all, Medicare should be allowed to negotiate with drug companies and secure lower cost prescription drugs for our seniors.  We must also look to new, innovative methods of care delivery, specifically care coordination. If different parties in the health care sector – hospitals, primary care physicians, specialists, insurance companies, etc. – all work together to coordinate patient care and ensure that everyone is on the same page, the quality of care will improve, and the cost of care will go down.  There is also great potential for reducing health care costs through the use of tele-medicine, especially in rural communities.  To make this a reality, I introduced Veterans Tele-Health legislation to ensure we save our veterans valuable time and money when while providing them with the health care they need.

What is your ideal future for Medicare?



We must ensure our seniors can continue to rely on the Medicare program they have earned and paid into their whole lives.  To keep the program viable, we must eliminate wasteful spending and lower the cost of healthcare.  That is why I introduced the Stop Medicare Fraud Act, which would dramatically increase penalties for defrauding Medicare and redirect those funds to the prosecution of fraud.   I do not support the Paul Ryan budget proposal, which would end Medicare as we know it and essentially transform Medicare into a voucher program. 

Should the federal tax system be changed – flat tax or consumption tax
instead of income tax, or remain as it is? If an income tax, should
deductions such as the home mortgage interest deduction be eliminated?



I do not support imposing a national sales tax on all Americans, and I believe that billionaires should be expected to contribute more to reducing the deficit than middle class families.  Overall, we do need a simpler tax code and must comb through the tax code line by line to make sure it is fair and encourages job creation here in America.  That is why I support ending tax breaks for Big Oil companies earning billions of dollars in profit, and why I cosponsored legislation to close tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Would you support military action against Iran to prevent that country
from obtaining either a nuclear weapon or the capability to build one?



Under no circumstances can we allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and we must leave all options on the table.  In Congress, I have consistently stood with Israel and voted to strengthen crippling sanctions against Iran, sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.  I have also helped lead the fight to monitor Hezbollah's activities in the Western Hemisphere, and have pushed the European Union to formally designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Genesee County needs to spend as much as $15 million on road and
bridge repair in the next five years. What will you do, if anything,
to help the county pay for infrastructure repair?



The best way to shore up finances for Genesee County and local governments in Western New York is to create a strong economic environment where jobs are being created and employers are hiring. Right now, the Greek yogurt industry is booming. To ensure New York yogurt is always made with New York milk and to boost local economic development, we need to cut red tape for dairy farmers so they can increase their production to supply the projected 15% change in demand for milk from yogurt companies. On the federal level, I’ve been advocating for increased infrastructure funding and sponsored an amendment to protect dedicated funding for rural bridge repairs when some in Congress tried to eliminate this program.

What is your position on WNY STAMP? Should federal grants and
subsidies be directed to that project to help bring businesses into
the industrial park?



Of course, land use decisions should be made by local residents -- not the federal government.  When community support for a project is strong, like it is for developments at the Agri-Business park, I support the use of targeted grants and tax incentives to encourage businesses invest in Western New York.  Ultimately, it is the private sector that creates jobs--not the government.  As your Representative, I am working to foster a better business environment that is conducive to job creation and economic growth.  To close the skills gap that holds back growth in advanced manufacturing, I have held school-to-work roundtables to partner local employers with educators.  And in Congress, I introduced legislation to provide tax breaks to businesses that manufacture in America and partner with local schools to provide students with on-the job training opportunities.

Sen. Charles Schumer supports building a section of high-speed rail
through a portion of Genesee County in the area of Bergen. What is
your position on this project?

The residents of Bergen should decide if a project of this scale is right for their community. I do believe we need targeted investments in infrastructure, including transportation, to advance our economy. To take advantage of the new economy and ensure agricultural producers can reach new markets and customers, we need to more robustly invest in all forms of transportation infrastructure, including our roads and highways, airports and runways, harbors and waterways, as well as rail systems.

Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Cancer Society stops in Batavia to push cancer as an election year issue

Every year in Genesee County, 350 people are diagnosed with cancer and 100 people die from cancer, which is why, according to a group of the American Cancer Society who were in Batavia today, cancer should be an important election issue.

Americans need research and treatment for the disease and the assurance of funding for both, according to Hillary Clarke, director of federal government relations, so this is an issue voters should take up with candidates for office.

At www.cancervotes.org is a voter's guide for the presidential election with responses from the two major party candidates, but Clarke said neither of the candidates for the NY-27 Congressional District responded to the Cancer Action Network's survey.

Contacted today, a spokesman for Kathy Hochul's campaign said Hochul did respond and her answers are posted on the Web site. We've not been able to find those answers and requested a direct link to the appropriate page.

The spokesman for Chris Collins, Micheal Kracker, sent the following statement in response to a simple question of what would Collins do to support the fight against cancer.

"As the brother of a cancer survivor, Chris Collins knows how important it is to support cancer research. Chris also recognizes how important it is to make sure no government bureaucracy stops doctors from giving patients like Chris' sister the treatment they need to stay healthy. We need to be sure that doctors, not government bureaucrats determine how best to care for patients. We must also promise to protect Medicare for our seniors so they continue to receive the access to affordable care they paid for their entire lives."

We'll update this post if any additional information comes in.

UPDATE: Statement from Angela Pause-Smith, communications director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.: "Neither candidate responded to our questionnaire so there actually isn't a Voter Guide for this race. I'm sorry if someone told you that there was one."

UPDATE II: As soon as I posted the update above, Pause-Smith emailed the following: "So I learned literally a moment ago that late this afternoon Hochul returned our questionnaire. There is a process we need to follow to post it on our Web site and we've asked for that process to be expedited so you can see the responses, but I can't provide a time that they will be available."

UPDATE III: Pause-Smith clarifies: "It may not have been late this afternoon that she returned it, I just learned of it late this afternoon. We received it sometime today."

UPDATE IV: Hochul's answers are now available, click here.

Photo: Julie Kumiega, Hillary Clarke and Karen Hall.

Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Hochul: USDA designates seven counties natural disaster areas due to armyworms

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, kathy hochul

Press release:

Today, Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated the seven counties of New York State’s 26th Congressional District as natural disaster areas due to the significant production loss caused by damage from armyworms.

"The infestation of armyworms combined with the spring's wild temperature swings, the summer's drought, and high feed prices have resulted in a particularly difficult year for Western New York farmers. The USDA's disaster designation will provide much needed relief to our farmers dealing with the devastating effects of the armyworms. Farms seeking assistance will now be eligible for emergency loans to help them recover and keep their businesses viable," Rep. Hochul said.

For more information, affected farmers are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency office or Cornell Cooperative Extension Office.

Since the initial reports of the armyworm outbreak, Rep. Hochul has worked with local farmers to mitigate the damage, including seeing the effects firsthand at a Wyoming County farm.

Rep. Hochul has continually advocated for agriculture, a mainstay of Western New York’s economy with nearly 3,500 farms and an annual output of over $739 million in the 26th District alone. Support for agriculture is a key component of Hochul’s REBUILD Plan.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Rep. Hochul holds satellite office hours in Batavia

post by Billie Owens in batavia, events, kathy hochul

Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) will hold satellite office hours in Batavia from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16, in the second-floor conference room at city hall, One Batavia City Centre.

This will provide constituents of New York’s 26th Congressional District with direct access to Rep. Hochul’s district staff to assist with casework issues.

“These satellite office hours give constituents direct access to staff who are able to help with a multitude of casework issues,” Representative Hochul said. “By sending my staff to different communities, I hope we can help resolve problems for Western New Yorkers without making them take inconvenient trips.”

All constituents of New York’s 26th District can continue to receive assistance at anytime by calling Representative Hochul’s Williamsville office at (716) 634-2324 or by visiting 325 Essjay Road, Suite #405, Williamsville, NY 14221, or by calling her Greece office at (585) 270-4828 or visiting 2300 W. Ridge Road, Suite 400, Greece, NY 14626.

Event Date and Time

October 16, 2012 - 10:00am - 1:00pm
Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

Department of Labor goes modern: Farms can now apply for H-2A visas online

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, kathy hochul

Press release:

Today, Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) announced that the United States Department of Labor (DOL), at her urging, will begin accepting online applications for the H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program on Dec. 10.

“I am pleased to announce today that farmers in Western New York and across the country will be able to utilize the new electronic filing system for H-2A visas by the end of this year. This reform will save time and money for taxpayers and farmers and will go a long way toward ensuring our fruit and vegetable growers have the help they need to plant and harvest their crops, expand production, and grow their businesses here in Western New York,” Rep. Hochul said.

“This change is a welcomed one for New York farmers who depend on timely and accurate information when it comes to securing the workforce their farms require. It is imperative as each harvest approaches that family farms have the ability to hire the workers they need in order to have a successful season. We appreciate the work that has been done on our farmer members’ behalf to modernize the H-2A hiring process,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau president.

“The new online filing system for H-2A visas will streamline this process, cutting burdensome red tape,” said Maureen Torrey of Torrey Farms. “I thank Rep. Hochul for her efforts to modernize this program, and bring efficiencies to farmers across Western New York.”

Last summer, Hochul met with Deputy Labor Secretary Seth Harris and farmers from throughout Western New York to discuss concerns with the H-2A program, including the need to make the application system available online. Hochul also pushed Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to modernize the H-2A visa program and met with Deputy Assistant Secretary Gerri Fiala to stress the importance of this reform.

In addition, Rep. Hochul has actively worked to expand the H-2A program to include dairy farmers, who are currently prohibited from participating due to the industry’s year-round demands. Rep. Hochul has introduced bipartisan legislation to allow dairy farmers to participate in the H-2A program, to ensure Western New York dairy farms have adequate labor to increase production and meet the needs of the booming Greek Yogurt industry.

Nearly all of New York's 35,000 farms are family owned – making agricultural one of New York's top small-business industries – and making the need for a user-friendly, online H-2A application system even more critical.

Friday, September 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Hochul knocks House leadership for failure to act on renewal of farm bill

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, kathy hochul

Rep. Kathy Hochul is boarding a plane in Washington, D.C., right now, heading back to her district for an election-period recess, but she would rather stay in the Capitol, she said, and give local farmers what they need to run their businesses -- the certainty of a farm bill.

"I'm ready to turn around right now and stay in Congress as long as it takes day and night and do what's right for our farmers," Hochul said.

"This is just another sign that Washington is broken and we've let our farmers down," Hochul said.

Every five years, Congress must pass a new farm bill. Last passed in 2008 as the Food, Conservation and Energy Act, the $288 billion appropriations bill not only provides crop insurance and price support for farmers, it also provides subsidies for private land conversion back to a natural state, biofuel subsidies and is the funding source for food stamps.

A version of the bill was passed with bipartisan support by the Senate, but even after winning Agriculture Committee support in the House, the bill hasn't come to a floor vote.

The 2008 act expires in a week.

Hochcul said it's baffling and unconscionable that the House leadership has blocked a floor vote.

Agriculture, Hochul said, is a $739 million a year industry in her district, and $4.7 billion statewide. 

Regardless of the legislation's provisions -- the Senate and House versions would need to be negotiated into a compromise bill in conference committee -- farmers need the certainty of a farm bill in order to operate their businesses on a daily basis.

According to an NPR article, the near-term fallout of the failure of the House to pass a farm bill is pretty minimal. The provisions of the current farm bill that most effect farmers remain in place through the end of the current growing season, which for something like winter wheat means until spring.

However, it is very uncertain what will come next, according to NPR, because some deficit hawks have their eyes set on greatly reducing expenditures in the farm bill, including for food stamps, and there may be a lot of political pressure in Washington next year to reduce spending.

"We need to keep spending under control, yes, and we need to find ways to do it," Hochul said, "but the farmers need the certainty that comes with passage of this bill."

There is bipartisan support for passage of a farm bill in the House, Hochul said, and she won't speculate on why its leadership is blocking a floor vote on such a critical piece of legislation.

"The fact they won't let us get to a compromise means that they refuse to govern and that's just inexcusable," Hochul said.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 9:20 am

Statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on anniversary of Sept. 11

post by Howard B. Owens in 9-11, Andrew Cuomo, kathy hochul

Press release:

"On this day, we mark the eleventh anniversary of the terror attacks that claimed thousands of lives and truly changed New York and our nation forever. On this day, we honor the memories and the lives of those who were killed and the families who will never forget them. We also honor the first responders who bravely put themselves in harm’s way – many of whom never returned home.

"It is also our obligation and our duty to make sure that we will always remember. As a new generation grows up without having witnessed the horror of September 11th, it is important to educate our children so they can understand the tragedy that unfolded on that day, the bravery and courage of our first responders, and the outpouring of goodwill in communities across New York and America as we recovered as one state and one nation."

UPDATE:  Statement from Rep. Kathy Hochul:

“Today as we mark the passing of another year since the September 11 attacks in 2001, we honor those we lost on that day. We recall the innocent victims taken too soon, the courage of the passengers who prevented further tragedy, and those first responders, who in doing their jobs, laid down their lives to protect their fellow Americans.

“What grew from this tragedy was an all encompassing spirit of patriotism, bonding our nation together in common purpose to move our country forward. Our endeavor today is to find that spirit once again. We must recognize that so much more binds us than divides us, and as Americans we are capable of solving the challenges of our time.

“In the memory of all who were lost on 9/11, I call on each of us to rekindle the spirit of patriotism that brought us together in our country’s darkest hour.”

Monday, September 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

Hochul encourages passage of new five-year farm bill

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, kathy hochul

Press release:

Today, Representative Kathy Hochul, joined by Bill and Terry Zittel of Zittel Farms, renewed her call for a comprehensive five-year Farm Bill. In a letter to House leadership, Hochul urged passage on a five-year Farm Bill to ensure farmers in Western New York and across the country have the certainty and support they require.

“I have heard firsthand from farmers across Western New York about the crucial need for a comprehensive, five-year Farm Bill,” Rep. Hochul said. “It is critical that Washington stops playing politics with the future of American agriculture.

"Our region is the largest producer of agricultural goods in New York, and I will continue to fight to ensure farmers have the support and certainty they need.”

Rep. Hochul has sent two letters to House leadership urging a vote on a five-year Farm Bill – one letter in July, and another this week.

With nearly 3,500 farms and an annual output of more than $739 million in the region, agriculture is an essential part of Western New York’s economy and a key component of Hochul’s plan for economic development.

Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 10:09 am

Hochul announces grant for local substance abuse prevention program

post by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul

Press release:

Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) announced that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has awarded $125,000 from the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program to the Genesee County Drug-Free Communities Coalition in Batavia.

The funding will be used to involve and engage the local community to prevent substance abuse among youth.

“I am pleased that the Drug-Free Communities Support program recognizes the great work of the Genesee County Drug-Free Communities Coalition,” Rep. Hochul said. “With the recent rise in the abuse of prescription drugs and bath salts among young people, it is imperative that our communities have the necessary resources to help young people overcome these life-altering addictions, particularly in our rural areas.

"Working together to keep our youth drug free is critical to creating strong communities that are safe, healthy, and drug free. This funding will provide the support necessary to implement substance abuse education and prevention programs across Genesee County.”

The DFC Program was created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997 and reauthorized by Congress in 2001 and 2006. Since 1998, ONDCP has awarded more than 2,000 Drug-Free Communities grants nationwide.

Premium Drupal Themes