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Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Hochul applauds USDA for granting disaster to relief to WNY farmers

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, kathy hochul

Statement from Rep. Kathy Hochul:

“I was pleased the United States Department of Agriculture has agreed with our request to declare all seven counties of the 26th District disaster areas following this spring’s devastating frost, freezes, and unseasonably warm temperatures that dealt a considerable blow to agriculture in the region. Farmers in these counties are now eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency to help them recover. Western New York is home to more than 3,000 locally owned farms and produces more than $700 million in goods every year, and I encourage farmers in my district to contact their local FSA offices for more information on the available assistance to keep their businesses viable.”

Monday, May 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Hochul encourages USDA rural development attention on WNY

post by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, USDA

Press release:

Today, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (NY-26) hosted a call with Dallas Tonsager, the under secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) to discuss major upcoming projects in rural communities across the 26th District. 

“It is vital that Western New York receive the support necessary to continue the agricultural and rural development that helps keep us healthy and competitive,” Hochul said. “USDA Rural Development recognizes the importance of investing in our region, and they see the assets of our rural communities. I spoke with Under Secretary Tonsager today to encourage further investments, such as the urgent need for rural broadband access for our small towns and farmers. I am confident the USDA will continue to direct resources into our local communities."

"This is an exciting time for rural America and USDA Rural Development is assisting communities across the country," said Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager. "We look forward to continuing our work with Congresswoman Hochul to create jobs and economic development for the people of Western New York."

Tonsager was appointed as under secretary for Rural Development and sworn into office in May of 2009. Tonsager has more than 35 years of agricultural, business, cooperative, and financial experience through his work as a farmer, businessman, and community, state and national leader.

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Photos: Kathy Hochul visits BHS, meets with art students, presents award

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, art, Batavia HS, education, kathy hochul, schools

Rep. Kathy Hochul was in Batavia today, making three stops, including one at Batavia High School, where she presented an award to Siena Pullinzi, winner of the annual NY-26 Congressional Art Competition.

Hochul noted that Siena beat out students from five other counties in the district.

Siena's artwork is to be displayed in the halls of the Capitol for the next year. She will also now have the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., to participate in a ceremony for Congressional Art Competition winners.

While at the school, Hochul stopped by both art classes that were in session and stopped to talk with several students, noting their good work and encouraging them to continue on with art.

At one point she stopped and said, "I can just feel the creativity in this room."

Besides BHS, Hochul spoke at a luncheon at Terry Hills for Independent Living of Genesee Region and this afternoon will visit Arctic Refrigeration, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Business of the Year.

Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Hochul tells city officials she's impressed with the progress Batavia is making

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, kathy hochul

Besides her meeting with the Alabama Fire Department this afternoon, Rep. Kathy Hochul made five stops in Genesee County today.

One of her visits included a tour of Batavia with City Manager Jason Molino and other city officials. The tour ended with a visit to Batavia's landmark sewage treatment plant.

Hochul told city officials she was very impressed with the progress Batavia is making, from the Masse Gateway Project to downtown redevelopment.

"It's a city that's moving forward," she said.

Other stops by Hochul included making a donation of books from the Library of Congress to the Byron-Bergen Public Library, a tour of the trans-load warehouse on Mill Street and a talk with seniors at 400 Towers.

Below, a completely gratuitous picture of one of the treatment ponds, covered by clouds.

Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Hochul announces nearly $70K in funding for Alabama Fire Department to cover responses to Tonawanda

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, kathy hochul, Tonawanda Indian Reservation

When there is an emergency call on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, the Alabama Volunteer Fire Department never shirks its duty -- the volunteers suit up, jump on their trucks and head out to whatever emergency is toned out.

Even though, for a number of years, there's been no money coming in to support the department from residents of the reservation.

For years, the department has lobbied the Bureau of Indian Affairs for some reimbursement of its expenses -- something not uncommon across the nation, and even in Western New York.

Today, Rep. Kathy Hochul announced that after some efforts on the part of her staff, the bureau has agreed to reimburse the department for its calls on the reservation up to $69,000 a year.

"There are a lot of people over there who need our services," said Past Chief Bill Schutt. "This was never about not providing those services, but getting funding for those services. They are part of our town and they're our neighbors. We've never considered not going there."

Hochul announced the agreement during a brief visit with the Alabama firefighters at their fire hall today.

The department has a budget of $180,000, mostly funded by a fire district tax levied against town landowners, but since the reservation is sovereign land, residents there don't pay the tax.

Schutt said exactly how the new pot of money will be allocated in the department hasn't been decided yet, but there's always equipment to replace or repair.

The department has about 50 volunteers, two of whom live on the reservation, according to Schutt.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Hochul calls on opponents to renounce House GOP plan for Medicare

post by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, politics

Press release from the campaign office of Kathy Hochul:

Congresswoman Kathy Hochul today called on her opponents – Republican Chris Collins and Tea Party candidate David Bellavia – to join her in rejecting Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) 2013 budget proposal. Like last year, the budget would end Medicare as we know it by increasing out-of-pocket expenses for seniors by thousands of dollars, while simultaneously giving $150,000 in tax breaks to multi-millionaires.

“Over the last 10 months, I have made cutting federal spending and putting our fiscal house in order one of my top priorities,” Congresswoman Hochul said. “However, just as it did last year, the 2013 House Republican budget aims to pay our nation’s bills on the backs of our seniors, while at the same time giving massive tax breaks to multi-millionaires and billionaires.

“Representative Ryan’s plan also makes across the board cuts in medical research, high-tech research, and education – making it more difficult for businesses to innovate, create jobs, and compete in the global market. Instead of investing in the American economy, the House budget gives taxpayer giveaways to the nation’s wealthiest, Big Oil, and companies who want to ship American jobs overseas.

“Western New Yorkers want a Representative in Congress who will cut our nation’s spending the right way. That is why I supported a bi-partisan proposal to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion, as well as the bi-partisan Balanced Budget Amendment, which would require Congress to manage its finances in the same way Western New York families do every day.

“Congress is scheduled to vote on this proposal this week, and I urge Mr. Collins and Mr. Bellavia to join me in rejecting this budget, which will decimate Medicare. The voters of the 27th District deserve to know where the candidates stand."

Monday, February 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Hochul joins bipartisan House Dairy Caucus

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, kathy hochul

Press release:

During a visit to Zuber Farms in Churchville today to discuss her opposition to burdensome government regulations for farmers --like the recently lifted ban on the wintertime application of manure -- Congresswoman Kathy Hochul announced she has joined the bipartisan House Dairy Caucus to better represent the farmers in New York’s 26th Congressional District.

“Dairy farms play an important role to the New York State economy, making up nearly half of our state’s $4.5 billion agriculture industry and yielding more than 12 billion pounds of milk annually,” said Congresswoman Hochul.

“Fighting against burdensome regulations, like the ban on the wintertime application of manure, and fighting to give them the workforce they need by supporting an expansion of a temporary guest worker program, are some of the reasons why I joined the House Dairy Caucus.

"We must continue to support commonsense initiatives that provide our farmers with the proper resources and right opportunities to grow and continue to be driving factors in the Western New York economy.”

With nearly 35,000 farms, most family owned, New York’s agriculture industry is one of the state’s largest small-business industries. New York currently ranks fourth in the nation in milk production and Wyoming County, in the middle of New York’s 26th District, leads the state with almost 200 dairy operations.

Congresswoman Hochul, along with Representatives Paul Tonko (NY-21) and Richard Hanna (NY-24), today sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack commending him for removing the ban of the wintertime application of manure.

In October, representatives Hochul and Hanna introduced a bill that would allow dairy farmers to bring in temporary guest workers through the H-2A visa program to address their labor shortages. Currently, dairy farmers are unable to apply for H-2A visas due to the year-round production of dairy. 

Joining Congresswoman Hochul on the tour today at Zuber Farms were Kim and Eric Zuber, co-managers of Zuber Farms, Scott Page, president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau, and seven other local dairy farmers from throughout Western New York.

Kim is also the former president for the Monroe County Farm Bureau and a member of the Executive Committee for the New York Farm Bureau's Western New York Regional Advisory Committee. Eric is currently a member of the New York Farm Bureau.

Zuber Farms is a dairy in Monroe County, home to 1,000 head of young stock. The 10 farmers present today represented more than 10,000 head of cattle.

Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Crews continue to work at waste site; Hochul visits site with town officials

post by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, Le Roy, Lehigh Derailment Site

After the press conference and meeting in Le Roy this morning, I decided to swing by the Lehigh Derailment Site on Gulf Road.

When I arrived, a group of workers were leaving, helped by a staff member in a hazardous waste suit (bottom photo).

A local resident came by and we chatted for awhile, and then a deputy stopped and we said hello, and about the time I was ready to leave, Rep. Kathy Hochul showed up with local officials.

All of that to say -- I didn't know Hochul would be there and she didn't know I would be there. This wasn't an arranged media event, and Hochul expressed some sensitivity to leaving that impression.

Hochul said she was passing through Le Roy, had stopped at D&R Depot for a meal, and decided she should visit the Superfund site.

"I'm committed to working with local officials and seeing what we can do to help," Hochul said. "I want them to know they have a partner and come to us when they want answers."

Without naming either Erie or Niagara counties, Hochul said any speculation about where the drums of material stored at the site are to be relocated is "premature."

"The EPA hasn't made that decision yet," Hochul said.

Evidence of stepped-up work at the site: In the top photo, there is a red Dumpster inside the fenced area on the left that wasn't there a week ago. There are three new drums at the front of the fenced-in area. In the bottom picture, there is a trailer for heavy equipment on the left side frame that wasn't there a week ago.

Officials continue to keep members of the media as far from the site as possible.

A story is coming about this morning's meeting in Le Roy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 12:25 am

Statement: Hochul responds to Obama's State of the Union speech

post by Howard B. Owens in Barack Obama, kathy hochul, politics

Press release:

“Tonight, President Obama reported on the state of the nation and laid out his plan to move our economy forward. While we’ve seen some progress, we need to continue to invest in America, ensuring Americans have good jobs to go to every day.

“The President’s proposal to revitalize our manufacturing community, invest in American infrastructure, and focus on job training at community colleges, like ECC, NCCC, GCC, and MCC, will keep America competitive and bring jobs back to the United States. It’s time we stop rewarding those companies that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America.

“I, however, would have liked to hear more about the President’s plan to cut the deficit and reduce our national debt. This is why I supported the Balanced Budget Amendment that requires Congress to balance its finances in the same way Western New York families do every day; and why I support efforts to streamline government, eliminate waste, and be more responsive to the needs of American businesses.

“Right now is the time for us to come together and work with one another to strengthen our nation and give Americans the chance to get back to work. We have the best ideas, the finest universities, and the hardest working people in the world – now we must create an economy that benefits the working families of America.

“Like the President said, every American just wants a fair shot at achieving the basic American promise; having a good paying job, buying a home, and raising a family. Our country is strongest when every American is contributing their fair share, but this can only happen when we’re all given that fair shot.”

Monday, January 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Hochul asks Boehner to back consolidation of federal economic dev agencies and programs

post by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul

Press release:

In an effort to streamline services for local businesses, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul today sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner pushing him to develop and execute a plan to consolidate duplicative economic development agencies and programs in the federal government.

“Over the last few weeks I’ve met with over 50 businesses and Chambers of Commerce, and all of them agree that we must cut the red tape in our federal government, eliminate the redundancy, and make it easier for our businesses to get the support they need,” said Congresswoman Hochul. “Today, I sent a letter to Speaker Boehner, asking him to work with the President and Congress, in an effort to eliminate waste and provide more efficient services to the businesses that drive our economy.

Last week, President Obama identified an opportunity to innovate government and eliminate waste by combining six trade and commerce agencies – the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency – into one new agency.

At a press conference today at the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, Representative Hochul and Chamber President Colleen DiPirro called for a reduction in government agencies that overlap and cause a confusing maze of federal bureaucracy for business owners.

“I’ve been dealing with businesses, small and large, for 32 years and the challenge that they face day-in and day-out is getting through government regulations,” said DiPirro. “Having one-stop for business will not only save them money, but it will also save them a great deal of time. And as we all know, in business, time is money.”

Hochul added, “Just like businesses must cut wasteful spending, innovate and streamline services to better serve their customers, the federal government must do the same.”

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