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April 19, 2018 - 11:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

The State of New York knows better than most the importance of 9-1-1. When disaster strikes, New Yorkers depend on a fully functional, responsive 9-1-1 emergency communications system. And, after the September 11, 2001 attack, it was the New York firefighters and police officers who called on Congress to provide dedicated spectrum to public safety and additional funds to migrate these systems to next generation 9-1-1, which will allow public safety officials to receive real time location information, live video feeds, and much more.
 
Ironically, the very funding that New York and many others fought for in Congress as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act is not available to New York. That is because a provision in the law prevents states that divert 9-1-1 fees collected from consumers on their phone bills for other purposes from receiving these federal funds. The thought being, if the state is not prioritizing its 9-1-1 system, the federal government should not contribute its scarce funding that would allow for more diversion.
 
Unfortunately, New York has been found by the Federal Communications Commission to be a diverter of 9-1-1 fees every year since the Commission began collecting this information in 2009. Each state is responsible for its own 9-1-1 system, which typically includes public service answering points (PSAPs), otherwise known as the 9-1-1 call center, and personnel.
 
States fund these services through a fee on consumers’ phone bills. According to data provided to the Commission, the average 9-1-1 fee from wireline services is $1 per line per month and the average 9-1-1 fee on wireless phone bills is $0.92 per line per month. In New York, the state collects $1.20 for each mobile device – one of the highest in the nation.
 
Each year the Commission submits information on state 9-1-1 fee diversion practices to Congress. The goal being that this name and shame role of the federal government will pressure states to prioritize 9-1-1 funding and ensure that money they collect from their consumers is going where it should be going. This approach appears to have led to recent successes in states like Rhode Island and New Jersey – both of which are considering legislation to end their fee diversion practices.
 
Perhaps New York did not like this notoriety because this year the state refused to even submit data to the FCC. Despite this, the Commission found in its Report to Congress that based on sufficient public record information and the state’s previous history, it still could conclude that New York diverts funds for non-public safety uses. In fact, under state law, New York diverts approximately 41 percent to its General Fund. And, according to state tax records, in 2016, New York collected more than $185 million from the state’s 9-1-1 fee, but only dedicated $10 million in support of the state’s PSAPs.
 
Unfortunately, this practice has real world consequences for the citizens of New York. The Associated Press recently reported that New York is the only Northeastern state with serious service gaps in rural areas, which is of particular concern for many parts of Western New York. This article also estimated that the state needed $2.2 billion to fully upgrade the state’s 9-1-1 system. With a shortfall like this, one must wonder why the state would risk falling further behind by prioritizing funding for the General Fund rather than 9-1-1 services.
 
On Friday, we will travel to the Niagara County Emergency Management Office to see firsthand the great work that they do to respond to the emergency needs of Western New Yorkers and how New York’s 9-1-1 fee diversion practices are affecting PSAPs in rural areas. Our message will be clear: New York’s diversionary tactics must stop. If the state doesn’t act, we will have to explore ideas at the federal level to bring an end to this practice once and for all.

April 14, 2018 - 7:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, arts, NY-27, news, notify, batavia.

congressionalartshow2018b.jpg

Students from more than a dozen high schools in the NY-27 Congressional District entered the annual Congressional Art Show and when the top four winners were announced at GCC this morning, all four students came from Batavia High School.

Kiara Cherry won top honors and her work, "Out from Underneath," will be displayed in the Capitol Building for 12 months and she will travel to Washington, D.C., for the show's opening.

Rep. Chris Collins was on hand for the awards presentations after visiting with the students in the Roz Steiner Gallery and viewing their work.

Runner-up was Tara Clattenburg and honorable mentions went to Stephanie Hoy and Sophia Dinehart.

The art show judges see only the pictures. They don't know the artists' names or what schools they go to.

Kiara said her work is meant to reveal how people are different and everyone has a story.

The work didn't come together easily. First, she spent nearly three months working on it and as she neared completion she spilled "a ton" of India ink on it. Rather than give up on the project, she reimagined it, using pages from an old dictionary to help frame the painting of the two girls in the picture.

"I had completely different plans," Kiara said. "It was just unbelievable how everything changed, and so quickly, but it actually ended up better than my original conception."

Ask what lesson she learned from that process, she said, "Not to be cheesy or anything, but it’s like the Bob Ross quote, 'we don’t make mistakes, just happy accidents.' That was a happy accident because it paid off in the end."

Kiara wasn't surprised BHS swept the awards.

"At Batavia, everyone there is so amazing and they work so hard for what they do," she said. "We all encourage each other and Mrs. A (Mandi Antonucci) is an amazing art teacher."

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Sophia Dinehart tells Collins about her painting, which is a portrait with bees and a honeycomb. She is showing, she said, how we all have ideas and thoughts always buzzing around in our heads.

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Stephanie Hoy

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Eva Jensen, Perry High School, with a painting of a national park in Utah, where she once lived.

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Tara Clattenburg

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April 14, 2018 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins.

Press release: 

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today signed a letter that will be sent next week to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging him to put an end to Canada’s Class 7 pricing program and dairy tariff walls during ongoing NAFTA negotiations. Canada’s pricing program has created an unfair playing field and has essentially eliminated U.S. exports of certain dairy products.
 
Collins also voiced support for provisions in the draft of the 2018 Farm Bill released on Thursday, which makes the voluntarily Margin Protection Program (MPP) more effective and more affordable. This program was passed into law in the 2014 Farm Bill and has provided milk producers and processors with critical protections as milk and feed prices fluctuate.
 
“It is an unfortunate reality that our dairy industry has taken a hard hit in recent years due to unfair trade practices with Canada,” Collins said. “Dairy has always been a vital industry in Western New York and I’ve been a staunch supporter of programs that will help our nation’s farmers get by during tough times. We must continue to make reforms that benefit the agriculture industry, in turn, strengthening and growing our nation’s economy.”
 
In the letter to Lighthizer, Collins stresses the urgency of tackling issues with Canada’s unfair trade practices. While the Trump Administration has condemned Canada’s actions on dairy trade over the past year, Collins emphasized the millions of workers with jobs tied to agriculture and the importance of the dairy industry in Western New York.
 
The proposed changes to the MPP include higher coverage levels, lower premiums, and providing more flexibility to farmers when it comes to the length of their coverage. Additionally, the draft proposes changing the name of the program to Dairy Risk Management Program (DRMP) for Dairy Producers and authorizes it through 2023.
 
Collins added: “Holding Canada accountable and demanding fair treatment needs to be top of mind as NAFTA negotiations continue. And as we work in Congress to pass a Farm Bill, we will make sure dairy farmers have the protections they need as we continue to survive in this unfair market.”

April 13, 2018 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, appeared before Congress where lawmakers took turns asking how (and if) Facebook respects our privacy. One Congressman, however, seemed less concerned about privacy and more concerned about using his seat to make another rich friend.

Chris Collins said, after hearing his fellow members of Congress interrogate Zuckerberg, "I sincerely know in my heart that you do believe in keeping all ideas equal. You may vote a certain way or not, but that doesn't matter."

Reacting to that response, Collin’s Congressional opponent Nate McMurray says, “In his heart? His heart? No one cares about his heart. We care about what’s in his servers. That company collects and searches every little detail of our lives. And we know that this data has been used for malicious purposes.”

McMurray further adds, “I’ve been to Facebook's headquarters. It’s an amazing company, with great power. And that's the point. We need to understand how that power is used and whether it is being manipulated. Collins, once again, failed to do his job. Indeed, it seems Collins was more worried about control and manipulation than about Facebook's actions."

April 13, 2018 - 11:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-17) today introduced The Fairness to Pet Owners Act. This legislation would save pet owners money by allowing them the freedom to choose where they buy prescription pet medications.

Currently, pet owners must ask for a written prescription from their veterinarian for medications. Most consumers do not realize they have the right to request a written prescription in order to shop around and find the prescription at a lower cost. This bill ensures that pet owners receive a written script, either on paper or electronically, which gives more power to the consumer to choose where to purchase their pet’s prescription.

“When it comes to eyeglasses or contacts, consumers receive a copy of their prescription and are able to do the research to find the lowest price,” Collins said. “As a pet owner myself, I know that most owners will do anything to keep their pets happy and healthy, although these expenses do add up. There is no reason that pet owners shouldn’t have the flexibility to shop around to see if they can save some money.”

“As a dog owner, I know how much of an investment it is to have a pet,” Cartwright said. “This bipartisan legislation is a simple, yet important step in giving pet owners the flexibility they need to save money and keep their animals healthy.”

“PetSmart is pleased Congressman Chris Collins and Congressman Matt Cartwright have reintroduced the Fairness to Pet Owners Act,” said Kathy Mitchell, senior director, Government Affairs at PetSmart. “We believe the benefits of pet ownership should be accessible to all Americans.

"Helping to lower the cost of caring for a pet is a fundamental part of ensuring everyone can experience the joys of pet ownership. Giving pet owners the ability to take prescriptions to their preferred pharmacy will help achieve this goal.”

Robert D. Atkinson, president, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said: “Just as the Contact Lens Prescription Release Act gave contact lens wearers the right to receive a copy of their prescription so they had the choice as to where to purchase their lens, the Fairness to Pet Owners Act will give pet owners the right to choose where to purchase pet medication. This legislation is pro-consumer and pro-competition.”

This issue impacts most American families, 65 percent of households in the United States own at least one pet spending a total of approximately $10 billion on pet medications each year. Pet medications are a significant and frequent expense, with 77 percent of all dogs taking some sort of medication.

This legislation has the potential to create competition in the marketplace leading to lower costs for consumers. Additionally, consumers will have more flexibility to purchase generic medications or have them filled online or at big box pharmacies, which are oftentimes cheaper. For example, a common heartworm tablet given once a month to dogs is sold for about $61 at a veterinary clinic but a generic version retails for only $42, saving a pet owner more than $200 per year.

April 13, 2018 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

After months of walking petitions and knocking on doors throughout New York's 27th Congressional District, the Collins for Congress campaign has announced they have filed 9,017 petition signatures to qualify for the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party ballot lines in November.

"First and foremost, I want to thank all of our tremendous volunteers for braving the cold weather and devoting their personal time over the last few months to collecting petition signatures for our campaign," Congressman Chris Collins said.

"After working with President Trump to protect our shorelines, help create more jobs in Western New York and defend our constitutional freedoms, our filing proves that our efforts are resonating all across New York's 27th Congressional District.

"While I'm proud to have qualified for the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party ballot lines, I am going to continue fighting for the support of every NY-27 resident."

Among the 9017 in total petition signatures submitted to the New York State Board of Elections, Congressman Collins has filed the following number of signatures for each Party Ballot line:
- Republican: 6,182
- Conservative: 1,197
- Independence: 1,638

"Whether it's defending President Trump against partisan attacks, standing up for our Second Amendment rights, or helping to create more jobs in Erie County, Congressman Collins has proved time and time again he's the leader we need in Congress," said Nick Langworthy, chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee.

"Working families in Erie County know Congressman Collins will always fight for our values in Washington. We're proud to support his reelection campaign."

Ellen Grant, chairwoman of the Wyoming County Republican Committee, said: "The members of the Wyoming County Republican Committee are committed to supporting Congressman Collins in his reelection campaign.

"He understands the diverse issues that concern the residents of our county and has a strong voice in Washington. We appreciate all of his efforts on our behalf and look forward to working with him for years to come."

Jason J. McGuire, chairman of the Livingston County Conservative Party, said: "Livingston County Conservatives appreciate the attentiveness that Rep. Chris Collins has shown to local issues. Our meetings with Mr. Collins have demonstrated that he has a firm grasp of the issues pertinent to our region.

"His record of representation has thus earned him another term, and our party is pleased to assist in putting his name on the ballot. We look forward to Livingston County's continued relationship with our congressman."

Ralph C. Lorigo, chairman of the Erie County Conservative Party, said:"The Erie County Conservative Party is proud to be 100 percent behind our Congressman, Chris Collins. He knows Erie County…he knows his constituents and he is a fighter to return our country to one of lesser governmental interference and greater process prosperity."

April 9, 2018 - 3:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Saturday night, Congressman Chris Collins again attacked the student-led forum held in Buffalo, which was organized by students across his district. And once again, he did it behind closed doors in an environment that he could control.

In an interview posted in its entirety on wgrz.com, Collins swings wildly with his attacks and unfounded allegations. Previously he said the event would be a “circus.” But when confronted about it being respectfully held in a church, he scoffed, literally laughing and going back to labeling all those involved, calling it a “partisan, liberal event.”

When told by the reporter from the news station that she witnessed and collected unsolicited questions from all those in attendance, Collins refused to acknowledge it and insisted that the event was an “a joke.”

In the interview, Collins also claims that panel participant and his Congressional race opponent Nate McMurray was “handpicked” by Brian Higgins to participate.

McMurray responds, "Higgins had nothing to do with me being there, and in fact was probably not happy the students invited me. Collins is clinging to that empty take like a man clinging to (a) life preserver. As you can see in his interview, he’s worried. He wants to create as much confusion, so he never has to face me directly."

Collins also claims that McMurray had as much a right to be there as an Uber driver.

McMurray responded, “Honestly, I should just laugh it off, but it’s such an elitist thing to say. I hope there were some Uber drivers there. I met some teachers, law enforcement folks, and others. I’m guessing we had a few Uber drivers, too. It was packed!”

As to Collins claims that it was partisan, McMurray replies, “I volunteered not to go, if he decided to go. I would have been much happier if he, as our elected official had taken the stage. I could have done what he did and sit home and watch the tape, because he obviously studied every second of it.

"But he, like every other member of his party who refused to attend, and there were multiple invitations sent out to multiple elected officials, decided to make it a partisan event.”

McMurray says he will now do what Collins would not.

“I am going to reach out to pro-Second Amendment groups. And I will reach out to the student groups once again to see if they also want to participate. But I want to speak before groups that may not agree with me, that may even boo me. There will be another forum.

"That’s how we solve things in America. We don’t retreat to our partisan camps. We don’t attack behind the closed doors of television studios. We meet in the public square, the town hall.”

March 29, 2018 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today commemorated the first National Vietnam War Veterans Day to recognize the brave individuals who served in our nation’s military during the Vietnam War years.

“Today is a very special day as we give our deepest thanks and recognize the admirable service of all Vietnam War veterans and their families,” Collins said.“These heroes hold a special place in our nation’s history and we are forever grateful to those who answered the call of duty. This is a long overdue honor as Americans unite to remember those who never came home and support those who did.”

During his first year in office, President Trump last year signed into law the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act that establishes each March 29 as a day to honor those veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices. Approximately 9 million Americans, 7 million living today, served in the military from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975.

Congressman Collins’ office is distributing pins to Vietnam War veterans from The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. Any veteran who served in Vietnam is eligible for one and should contact Alex Gould in the Congressman’s office at (716)634-2324 for more information on obtaining a pin.

Collins added: “There is no single action that gives Vietnam War Veterans the recognition and gratitude they deserve, but as we gather in our communities today I am thankful to know that Vietnam War Veterans Day will be an ongoing tradition to honor some of America’s bravest.”

March 22, 2018 - 4:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, Charles Schumer, kristen gillibrand, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today voted for legislation that funds all federal government discretionary programs for the 2018 fiscal year. The legislation includes providing the nation’s troops their biggest pay raise in eight years as a part of the biggest increase in defense spending in the past 15 years.

“This bill makes historic investments in the brave men and women who protect our nation by correcting the mistakes of the Obama administration by providing the military with the resources they need,” Collins said.“Hardworking Americans can be assured that Congress is spending taxpayer dollars wisely to make sure our children can feel safe in their schools, our towns and cities have sound infrastructure, and we are closing gaps in security at our borders.”  

The legislation includes funding for President Trump’s opioid campaign to combat drug abuse and the Fix NCIS bill to close loopholes in background checks for gun purchases. A total of $1.6 billion was allocated to begin building a wall along the southern border over the next six months.

The funding package includes a provision echoing Collins’ legislation to create a federal database of broadband infrastructure that would make it easier for carriers to build out in rural areas.

Congressman Collins has been an advocate for the University of Rochester’s Laboratory of Laser Energetics, which was given $75 million in the funding package to continue its groundbreaking research. The legislation also extends the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through September 2018, while keeping in place pilot training requirements enacted after the 2009 Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash in Clarence.

Additionally, this bill gives the Trump administration the ability to increase the number of H-2B visas available for temporary farm workers based on the needs of the nation. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) received full funding to protect the lakes from environmental threats.

Collins added: “While this legislation is good for Western New York, it also sets the United States on a path toward a safer, stronger America. Key priorities of Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration are represented in this package and I applaud its passage as we work to get America back on track.”

The legislation adheres to the previously enacted budget “caps” agreement and contains the full legislation and funding for all of the 12 annual Appropriations bills. For more information on the TARGET Act [Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018], click here.

Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand also put out a joint statement in support of the budget bill:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced major victories that will greatly help Upstate New York in the bipartisan federal funding bill. The senators said these victories will boost the economy and support vital programs, including funding for the opioid prevention, Great Lake Restoration Initiative (GLRI), funding HOME/CDBG Program, critical railroad safety programs, support for education and higher-education and much more. Schumer and Gillibrand provided statements for several major areas in which the budget will be a major boost for Upstate New Yorkers. 
  
The bill includes the following victories for Upstate New York: 

Opioid & Prescription Drug Prevention & Treatment Programs

“For too long, heroin and opioid use, fatal overdoses, and drug-related crimes have been on the rise, plaguing Upstate New York communities,” said Senator Schumer. “New York deserves every federal resource possible to combat the growing scourge of opioid drug abuse and trafficking – and to increase treatment and prevention. That is why I went to bat for New York and pushed my colleagues to include this vital funding to combat the opioid epidemic in the final federal funding bill. The federal government must continue to invest in new and innovative ways to combat heroin and opioid use and tackle this challenge head-on.”

“Too many lives have been destroyed, too many families have been torn apart, and too many communities all over New York are suffering because of the opioid epidemic,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This is a public health crisis, and our communities need more funding and resources to combat and help address substance abuse. I’m pleased to see that following our push, the omnibus bill includes a strong investment for states and community organizations across New York to expand prevention, treatment and monitoring programs.”

Specifically, the agreement provides a $3.3 billion increase over last year’s funding levels for efforts throughout government departments and agencies to combat the opioids and mental health crises, including more than $2.8 billion in increases for treatment, prevention, and research for programs within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will get a $1.4 billion increase over last year; SAMHSA leads our nation’s treatment efforts to address the opioid and heroin crisis gripping communities throughout New York and the rest of the nation. In each of the last two fiscal years, New York received more than $111 million from SAMHSA block grants.

Additionally, the agreement funds nearly a $2 billion increase over last year’s levels for programs beyond SAMHSA in efforts through several departments and agencies specifically targeted to attack the opioid/heroin crisis.

·         $300 million more for Department of Justice initiatives including interdiction, enforcement, drug and mental health courts, and treatment programs;

·         $350 million more for the Centers for Disease Control for preventing prescription drug overdoses;

·         $500 million more in NIH funding for targeted research on opioid addiction within the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA);

·         $415 million more to the Health Resources & Services Administration, which promotes health care in underserved communities and oversees Community Health Centers. There are 65 CHCs in New York, serving nearly 2 million patients in 2015 and employing more than 15,000 New Yorkers; and

·         $61 million more to the Department of Veterans Affairs for additional funding for treatment and prevention ($434.6 million total).

More after the jump:

 

March 13, 2018 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, broadband, news.

Press release:

On the heels of a rural broadband roundtable, Friday afternoon with local community leaders, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) called for easing regulations on Internet service providers helping them to invest in underserved communities like northern Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties.

“It is staggering that 65 percent of my Congressional district is underserved by high-speed Internet, which is why it is so important government and providers work together to make sure our communities have the services they need,” Collins said.

Collins also expressed concern about recent efforts by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer to implement overbearing regulations that would make it harder to provide internet service in these areas.

“Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer could hurt rural Internet expansion by falsely claiming that the internet is broken and the only way to fix it is more regulations. Their actions would be detrimental by creating more red-tape that providers would have to navigate,” added Collins.

Collins pointed to the Obama Administration’s implementation of heavy-handed rules that deterred Internet providers from investing in Western New York’s rural communities. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Collins has worked to correct discrepancies in current law to make sure companies who build the groundwork to provide everyday Americans with internet service are able to continue expansion.

"The promise of reliable and affordable high-speed Internet in the rural parts of our counties has been an elusive dream for over seven years, and our residents and businesses continue to be frustrated with the progress to-date,” said David Godfrey, Niagara County legislator.

“Current Internet services in the rural areas fall well short of the expectations of our taxpayers, and the promise for newer technology seems well over the horizon. Thank you, Congressman Collins, for always being here for us."

"Our meeting with Congressman Collins brings continued hope that our counties will receive the technology they deserve and desperately need,” said Lynne Johnson, Orleans County legislator. “The Congressman has always given his fullest support to the Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance (NORA) as we push for those services that will help ensure every resident, student, school, small and agribusiness across our two counties, and the entire GLOW region receive internet that is equal to that of more metropolitan areas in New York State."

Collins said “We need to work together to ensure our communities have the resources they need to run their businesses, pursue educational opportunities, and connect with their loved ones. I am thankful for the support of local leaders that know what is best for Western New York as we continue to fight for an environment where businesses can succeed so consumers can benefit.”

March 7, 2018 - 2:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins today released the following statement announcing this year’s Congressional Art Competition and encouraging local high school students in New York’s 27th District to participate.

“Each year I am impressed by the talent of the hardworking students across the 27th District as I review their submissions to the Congressional Art Competition,” Congressman Collins said. “This is a unique opportunity for students to showcase their creativity and an exciting chance to have a piece of artwork hanging in the United States Capitol. One of the events I look forward to the most each spring is the reception celebrating the artists and their work.”

Now in its 36th year, the Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students who reside in New York’s 27th Congressional District. Last year there were more than 70 submissions. The winning artist will receive a round trip flight to Washington, D.C., to see their artwork in the U.S. Capitol, where it will be on display for one year.

Submissions are due to either of Congressman Collins’ two district offices no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11. A reception and award ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 14th, at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery, located on the Genesee Community College campus in Batavia. Local high schools have been notified regarding contest rules and submission guidelines.   

Interested students should see their art teacher for details or contact Patrick McKinney from Congressman Collins’ office at (585) 519-4002.

February 22, 2018 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, UMMC, NY-27, business.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) announced that four hospitals in his district will receive funding included in the Bipartisan Budget Act so they will be able to continue serving those most in need. The Bipartisan Budget Act provides an extension of the Medicare Dependent Hospital program and Low-Volume hospital payment adjustment for five years, providing necessary certainty to hospitals largely in rural areas.

“This funding means life or death for rural hospitals,” Collins said. “In the event of an emergency, my constituents in need to know that the lights will be on and they have somewhere to go for treatment.”

The hospitals that will receive funding are Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville, Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville, United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, and the Wyoming County Community Health System in Warsaw. In total, Collins secured more than $8 million for the four hospitals through FY2022.

“The Medicare Dependent Hospital and Medicare Low-Volume payment adjustment help ensure New York's rural and small community hospitals can continue to provide essential healthcare services to patients in need," said HANYS President Bea Grause. "We thank Rep. Collins for supporting the reinstatement and extension of these important policies.”

“We appreciate Congressman Collins' recent efforts in assuring inclusion in the federal budget agreement programs that have been essential for hospitals like WCCHS,” said Donald Eichenauer, CEO of Wyoming County Community Health System. “Over the past decades, these programs were generally included in legislation with authorization for only one or two years.

"The short-term extensions put us in a positon where almost annually we had to invest efforts in searching for ways to cut staffing or reduce expenses if the programs were not reauthorized. The five-year extension will give us greater confidence that services can be maintained, jobs retained and our efforts can be focused on continuing patient care at its high level.”

“The Low Volume adjustment is critical for Noyes Hospital to help offset the cost of providing services as well as uncompensated care,” said Amy Pollard, president and CEO of Noyes Memorial Hospital. “Emergency Services at Noyes and other hospitals must operate fully staffed 24/7.

"Last year 14,600 patients were treated at the Mary Saunders Beiermann Emergency Department at Noyes. The continuation of the Medicare payment adjustments helps assure that these vital services remain intact. I am very grateful to Congressman Collins for his support of the rural hospitals and thus, our community.”

Collins added: “I was proud to support this Bipartisan Budget Act and the important funding included for rural hospitals. I have and will continue to stand against any cuts in funding for hospitals in rural communities.”

February 16, 2018 - 3:17pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Turn 27 Blue proudly endorses Nate McMurray for Congress. For the first time in a generation, Democratic leaders, who normally endorse, have joined ranks with grassroots activists to make a strong endorsement in this year’s congressional race. We believe that McMurray has what it takes to represent the people of Western New York. His impassioned and energizing campaign is already gathering the momentum and support it needs to win in November.

McMurray is an experienced businessman, dedicated public servant, and Western New York native, who believes that families should have access to quality healthcare and education, that full-time work should come with a decent paycheck, and that elected representatives should represent their constituents, not their donors.

Turn 27 Blue brings together voices from the county Democratic chairs and from many of the district’s dedicated activist groups. We endorse McMurray because of his demonstrated ability to work across the aisle as Town Supervisor of deep red Grand Island (NY) and his dedication to improving the lives of hardworking Americans.

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of this group of county Democratic Chairs and grassroots leaders. I’m confident we are going to turn the 27th District blue, and I’m eager to take this fight to Chris Collins,” McMurray said, in response to the news.

Michelle Johnston Schoeneman, a resistance leader in the 27th and member of Turn 27 Blue, said “we were incredibly impressed with Nate’s passion for Western New York, his platform for bringing jobs and prosperity to the area, and his ability to persuade people who have never voted for a Democrat that he’s the person for the job.”

Over the past several months, Turn 27 Blue has hosted public forums, meetings, and interviews with the several talented and dedicated individuals running.

“From the start, our goal was simple: identify the best candidate to beat Chris Collins,” said Judith Hunter, chair of the Livingston County Democratic Committee, “and create the best possible conditions for victory in November. Each of the five announced candidates has something to offer, and we are grateful that they volunteered to serve. We are extremely proud to conclude our process by supporting Nate McMurray for the Democratic nomination.”

As the candidates traversed the 27th and met residents from every county in the district, one thing was clear: “from the pending ethics investigation against him to his decision to ignore his district in favor of his wealthy donors, people were fed up with Chris Collins and his cronies," said Jeremy Zellner, chair of the Erie County Democratic Committee.

Supporters of McMurray say Collins’s arrogant disregard for his constituents and his support for extreme policies that directly hurt New Yorkers has remade NY-27 into a competitive district.

Jamie Romeo, chair of the Monroe County Democratic Committee added, “we urge everyone who cares more about Western New York’s economy than tax cuts for the rich, who cares more about affordable healthcare for our families than favors for donors, and who cares more about a true representative of the people than a talking head who rushes onto cable news to talk about anything but the needs of his constituents, to support Nate McMurray for Congress.”

February 9, 2018 - 11:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today voted in support of the Bipartisan Budget Act that keeps the government funded through March 23 as Congress works toward finishing the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations process.

The legislation also includes a sensible compromise on budget caps, boosts defense spending, raises the debt ceiling, and includes funding for community health centers, the opioid epidemic, infrastructure, agriculture programs, and disaster relief.

“This legislation is critical to our national security as we are giving Secretary Mattis the funding he needs to rebuild our military and keep Americans safe,” Collins said. “This bill is a big win that accomplishes many of our priorities and provides budget certainty so we can move forward on other important tasks.”

Under this agreement, Congress has ended the sequester for the next two years, providing greater certainty and a much-needed increase in funding for national defense. After eight years under President Obama, our military was left inadequately prepared to defend our country. This agreement also provides for America’s veterans by helping reduce the maintenance backlog at the Veterans Administration.

This deal increases the debt ceiling to March of 2019 so we don’t default on our nation’s obligations. The Bipartisan Budget Act includes $6 billion over two years to combat the opioid crisis and support mental health programs and boosts National Institutes of Health spending. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will be funded for 10 years, community health centers for two years and multiple Medicare payment policies also received significant extensions.

Additionally, this legislation includes provisions that are critical to farmers in New York State, including improving the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for dairy producers, which offers protection to farmers as prices in milk and feed fluctuate. The legislation also removes a $20 million cap on the Federal Crop Insurance program, which protects against natural disasters or the loss of revenue due to a decline in price, giving livestock and dairy farmers more options.

Collins added: “I am pleased that we were able to work across the aisle to keep the government open while making sure the brave men and women in uniform can succeed on the battlefield and have the resources they need when they return home."

February 6, 2018 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today denounced actions by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to bring a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s decision to either rescind or revise the Waters of The United States (WOTUS) rule imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Obama.

In 2015, the Obama Administration finalized their WOTUS rule giving the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) expanded jurisdiction over bodies of water including farm ponds, storm drains, and wetlands. The Obama rule, if implemented, would have increased permitting costs, lead to unnecessary litigation, and pile on red tape for anything from a construction site to a farm.  Adoption of the flawed WOTUS rule will have disastrous effects on agriculture, small business, and municipalities across the country. 

Realizing how devastating the Obama edict would be to local farmers and communities, President Trump signed an executive order in February 2017 to roll back the WOTUS rule. The Trump executive order instructed the EPA and USACE to begin the process of withdrawing the Obama rule with the EPA filing paperwork to suspend the rule for two years while they work to replace it.

“Yet again we are seeing Attorney General Eric Schneiderman catering to the liberal left and disregarding anything that is good for Western New York,” Collins said. “He continues to meddle with federal policy by supporting an Obama rule that would create confusion, increase costs, and place huge burdens on our nation’s farms, state governments, manufacturers, and just about any type of business resulting in detrimental economic impacts.”

Collins has been a vocal advocate for withdrawing and rewriting the Obama WOTUS rule since he was elected to Congress, something that has received strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. Implementing Obama's rule would contradict two Supreme Court decisions, as well as many state and tribal water laws. 

Collins added: “It is ironic that as we are heading into an election year, we are seeing more and more frivolous lawsuits from the Cuomo Administration and his left-wing allies. It is sad that instead of figuring out how to cut New York’s bloated budget and protect New York property owners and businesses, Cuomo and Schneiderman continue their never-ending effort to score political points at the cost of our State’s economy and the taxpayers who pay the bills.”

January 31, 2018 - 10:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

“President Trump had a record-setting first year of his Presidency,”Congressman Chris Collins said. “The United States was suffering under the failed policies of President Obama, which resulted in high unemployment, slow economic growth, burdensome regulations on businesses, and a lax approach to trade around the world.”

In 2017 alone, the Trump Administration eliminated 22 regulations for everyone one new regulatory action, created 2.1 million new jobs, lowered taxes for American families, and saw an average of 2.5 percent GDP growth. Due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, hundreds of businesses have given wage increases and bonuses to more than 3 million workers across America. Under President Trump, we have seen significant progress overseas and are winning the war against ISIS.

The President talked about his $1 trillion plan to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, which would create jobs across America. A key factor will be streamlining the permitting process to take less than two years, in comparison to the sometimes seven- to 10-year process it currently takes to get approval to build things like roads, bridges and highways.

Additionally, President Trump is committed to fixing the problems created from President Obama’s executive order on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which he implemented unilaterally instead of working with Congress. Trump emphasized the need for Congress to pair any DACA solution with increased border security, elimination of the visa lottery, and ending chain migration to make sure we are not faced with similar problems years down the road.

Trump also discussed pursuing trade deals that treat the United States fairly and protect American workers. And in a world of growing threats, Trump has committed to rebuilding our military and strengthening efforts to combat terrorism.

Collins added: “I am confident that President Trump will lead us to greater opportunities as we build a safe, strong, and proud America. As we look back on this past year, I applaud the Trump Administration’s success and look forward to continuing our work to Make America Great Again.”
January 20, 2018 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Chief Administrative Officer requesting that his pay be withheld during the lapse in appropriations beginning on Jan. 20 at midnight until an appropriations agreement has taken place.

"In light of the reckless actions by Senate Democrats last night that shut down the government, I have requested my pay be withheld until we come to a solution. Last night, Senator Schumer decided to play political games instead of providing millions of children with health care and paying our troops. I am disgusted with the Schumer Shutdown and will not accept any paycheck until the brave men and women of our military can get theirs."

January 19, 2018 - 10:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released the following statement after voting in favor of legislation to maintain current funding for federal operations and prevent a government shutdown through Feb. 16. In addition to continuing government funding, the bill includes language to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years.

"Today, House Republicans voted to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years, yet again providing certainty to millions of low-income children. The bill also includes short-term funding to keep the government open and make sure our nation’s military has the resources they need to keep us safe.

"I am confident that we will come to a solution on a long-term funding bill while taking care of the DACA situation, but as negotiations continue I hope that Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats stop playing politics with the health of our nation’s children and vote to keep the government up and running."

January 17, 2018 - 11:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in broadband, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) introduced legislation today that would create a national federal registry of communications infrastructure to help address the lack of high-speed Internet access in rural areas. This registry will help determine which assets are available for lease to better expand access and will facilitate coordination between federal, state and local governments, as well as between carriers.

“It is almost unbelievable to think that approximately 65 percent of my district is underserved by broadband technology and about 3 percent is completely unserved,” Collins said. “Broadband access is important to our rural communities as our reliance on the Internet continues to grow for education, starting and administrating a business, receiving care from a doctor, or just plain shopping.”

Broadband companies have found it time-consuming, expensive and complicated to reach the communities that currently lack access. This inventory would be available to communications providers and include a description of assets, their locations, and a point of contact from each agency for more information on a given asset.

Collins sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which will be holding a series of hearings in the coming weeks to address removing barriers to infrastructure buildout, supporting innovation, and strengthening the public safety benefits that come with access to broadband Internet.

Collins added: “We need to think about things like public safety, making sure law enforcement has the ability to receive notification of an emergency and quickly respond. Our communities need broadband Internet access to stay connected, and I am confident we are taking steps in the right direction."

For more information about the Inventory of Assets for Communications Facilities Act of 2018, click here.

January 3, 2018 - 11:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, steve hawley, michael ranzenhofer, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“Although I am glad that the governor did not continue his game of political hide-and-seek with the legislature as we saw last year, wasting large sums of taxpayer money to present over 20 ideas with unsubstantiated legislative backing or confirmed funding sources amounts to little more than an expensive taxpayer-funded speech.

“I am glad to be back in Albany continuing to work hard for the residents of Genesee, Orleans and Monroe counties with my focus on lowing our families’ tax burden, making New York more business-friendly, fully funding our infrastructure and continuing to reform our charitable gaming laws.”

Press release from State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer:

“This year, the state of New York is facing a deficit in the billions. The budget must be balanced by restraining spending and not by more taxes for a state that has one of the highest burdens in the nation. It’s time to remove the barriers that inhibit growth in our Upstate economy and enact policies that stem the consistent loss of population of past decades, such as enacting comprehensive regulatory reforms and cutting energy taxes. 

“We should also seriously consider eliminating expenditures for the state’s economic development programs that are not creating jobs, including Start-Up NY and the tens of millions of dollars being spent on television advertising by the Executive.

“By getting our fiscal house in order, we can continue investments in improvements to our community’s transportation infrastructure and water quality, combating the heroin and opioid crisis and ensuring Western New York gets its fair share of state funding for our schools.”

Press release from Congressman Chris Collins:

"The Governor's speech was a pathetic attempt to rile his base, although even they have realized that his political empire is crumbling judging from the fact that the loudest round of applause came when he mentioned the Buffalo Bills. Republicans under President Trump have lowered taxes, rolled back regulations, and are seeing explosive economic growth. In comparison, under Andrew Cuomo, New York is facing a $4 billion deficit, the New York City subway is crumbling, and the FBI has opened an investigation into his hiring practices. New Yorkers deserve better."

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