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kathy hochul

July 10, 2012 - 7:12pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Announcements, kathy hochul.

The staff of Rep. Kathy Hochul will hold office hours on Tuesday, July 17, from 10 am until 1 pm. They will answer constituents' questions and listen to their concerns.

In Genesee County, office hours will be held in the Conference Room at 1 Batavia City Centre.

Office hours will also be held from 2 until 4:30 pm in Wyoming County. Anyone who cannot make the office hours in Batavia can go to the Wyoming County Building, at 143 N Main St. in Warsaw.

July 7, 2012 - 3:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

GOP candidate for Congress Chris Collins reportedly has a history of saying things he maybe shouldn't, and his opponent in the race for the NY-27 has shown she's willing to use those statements against him in the campaign.

“All of us are human," Hochul said in an interview Thursday. "It’s important if you misspeak that you own it and say you made a mistake."

But, she added, “When there’s a pattern, then it’s trouble. If it’s an honest mistake that is a different category.”

As for criticizing Collins for saying people no longer die from cancer in an interview with The Batavian, Hochul said she thinks the comment raises legitimate policy concerns that should held up to scrutiny.

“He said it was out of context," Hochul said. "It looked like it read in context to me. He also said he misspoke, but either way, if you’re going to engage in this level of debate and criticize health policy that provides care to people with preexisting conditions, if you want to have these conversations, it’s important to state your position clearly."

Collins readily admits he makes statements that are easy targets for his political opponents, but he said that's just a byproduct of his straightforward style.

“Clearly, I’m not a politician," Collins said. "I come out of the private sector. I speak very directly. I actually answer questions. I’m not someone who filters, who is consistently filtering everything you say.”

As for the cancer comment, Collins thinks it's ridiculous that anybody would believe he thinks people no longer die from cancer.

Opponents concentrating on just one portion of his full quote miss the overall point he was making, Collins said.

Clearly what he said is there've been advances in health care, Collins said, and new treatments are more costly, above any increase in inflation, than what existed even just 10 yeas ago.

"The result is we live a lot longer and people today are surviving where they may not have a decade ago," Collins said. "Thanks for advances in cancer treatment that saved my sister’s life."

Over the course of Collins's several years of public life, the former Erie County executive has been criticized many times for public statements, most notably in 2009, when Collins compared Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to Hitler, and in 2010 when Collins was reported to have offered a woman a seat at an event in exchange for a lap dance.

“I will say, about the Shelly Silver comment, it was a poor attempt at a joke in front of a friendly audience," Collins said. "It didn’t come across and in hindsight, I should not have said that.

"As for the lap dance remark," Collins added. "It never happened. I can’t apologize for something I never said.”

During her year in Congress, Hochul has gotten into trouble for an apparent misstatement once.

Republicans jumped all over a statement by Hochul at a political forum in Erie County where she reportedly said, “Well, basically, we’re not looking to the Constitution on that aspect of it. Basically, the decision has been made by this Congress that American citizens are entitled to health care.”

Hochul thinks that the public is ready to forgive a politician a genuine mistake, but when they do say something inappropriate they should own the mistake.

"If you’re not adding anything positive to the policy debate, then you have to deal with the consequences," Hochul said.

In his interview published in The Batavian on June 24, Collins made other remarks that could be construed as politically sensitive misstatements, but Democrats have not pursued those comments as aggressievely as the cancer statement.

Most notably, Collins made statements that could lead one to conclude that the GOP nominee doesn't believe in civilian control of the military and that the president is commander-in-chief -- two concepts enshrined in the Constitution.

When asked if there was an opportunity to cut spending by cutting the military budget, Collins said, "It’s not my call. I would say you look to your military commanders, you say what is our mission and you look to the experts on how to achieve that mission in in the most cost-effective way, making sure they’ve got the tools they need to accomplish their mission."

Collins then added that President Barack Obama has been out of line in his handling of the military in Afghanistan.

"Whereas our current president has tried to micromanage the military," Collins said. "He’s replaced commanders in Afghanistan because they don’t agree with his policies."

In an interview Friday, Collins said he certainly supports civilian control of the military and understands the president is commander-in-chief.

“President Obama has politicized his position beyond what you would call a professional commander-in-chief," Collins said. "That’s just my opinion. Others may have a different opinion, but I know many people who share my opinion.

“The Constitution is the Constitution and he can do what he’s allowed to do, but that doesn't mean that what he does is right," Collins added.

From Hochul's point of view, Collins's remarks regarding the president's handling of Afghanistan is misplaced criticism.

"Regardless of party affiliation, the president of the United States remains the commander-in-chief," Hochul said. “When the president made a decision to take out Osama Bin Laden, some said that may have been too big a risk. I understand he overrode a lot of people when he made that decision, but I thank him on behalf of the people of this country that he did.”

Finally, as is often the case in taped interviews, the original statement from Collins on advances in health care was quite long and was trimmed to make for shorter reading. While we believe the quote as printed in the origional article fully explains the point Collins was attempting to make, for transparency's sake, below is his full statement. The part of the quote used in the original article is in bold.

"The fact of the matter is, healthcare today is different than healthcare was five, 10, 20 years ago. We didn’t have Lipitor, we didn’t have robotic surgery, we didn’t have what we have for prostrate cancer. People just died. People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things. The fact of the matter is, our healthcare today is so much better, we’re living so much longer, because of innovations in drug development, surgical procedures, stents, implantable cardiac defibrillators, neural stimulators -- they didn’t exist 10 years ago. The increase in cost is not because doctors are making a lot more money. It’s what you can get for healthcare, extending your life and curing diseases, and drugs that step in for high cholesterol and high blood pressure and everything else. Those are expensive, if anyone thinks that’s just free, we didn’t have them 20 years ago, so when people, I think, erroneously say, the increased cost of health care is more than inflation, they’re forgetting about, you’re getting a different product. Do you like the product you’re getting today or not? That’s decisions I think people have to make."

July 3, 2012 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

The Kathy Hochul campaign just released the following statement:

“Chris Collins has demonstrated a stunning lack of sensitivity by saying, ‘people now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer, and some of the other things.’ Tragically, nearly 70,000 people will die this year from these two types of cancer alone. We can disagree about public policy without making these kinds of outrageous and offensive statements."

That's the statement, with no reference to the source nor the full quote so people could judge the context for themselves.

The original source is The Batavian (both as a courtesy to The Batavian and as a matter of complete transparency, the Hochul campaign should have included this fact in its release).

Here's the full quote from Collins:

"People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things," Collins said. "The fact of the matter is, our healthcare today is so much better, we’re living so much longer, because of innovations in drug development, surgical procedures, stents, implantable cardiac defibrillators, neural stimulators -- they didn’t exist 10 years ago. The increase in cost is not because doctors are making a lot more money. It’s what you can get for healthcare, extending your life and curing diseases."

On its face, the opening part of the quote from Collins sounds outrageous, but in context, clearly, Collins misspoke. More likely, he meant to say. "Fewer people die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things." 

That's not what he said (I taped the interview and the original quote as published is accurate), but the rest of the quote clearly explains the larger point he is trying to make, which is that medical advances have driven up the cost of healthcare.

To rip this quote out of context and try to use it to paint Collins as some sort of insensitive boob is the kind of below-the-belt, negative campaign tactic that keeps people from being engaged in the process and casting intelligent votes. Frankly, I think of Kathy Hochul as somebody who is more dignified than this sort of mudslinging.

June 28, 2012 - 8:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Rep. Kathy Hochul's statement on the Supreme Court's decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling provides much needed clarity in an important national debate on the appropriate role of the federal government in the delivery of healthcare. While I was not in Congress to vote on the Affordable Care Act, I have always believed, and continue to believe, that the law is far from perfect, and I remain concerned about the high cost of implementing the law. That is why I have worked to roll back many of its most troubling provisions, including the financially unsustainable CLASS Act, the Medical Device Tax, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which could result in the rationing of Medicare.

“I am hopeful that today’s ruling will help to focus our country on the need for more effective policies that drive down the cost of care and ensure that all Americans — especially children, seniors and veterans — have access to quality and affordable health care. I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue to improve the law and find appropriate solutions to the rising cost of health care in this country.”

Kathy Hochul's statement on the contempt of Congress vote for Eric Holder:

“We can all agree that the Fast and Furious operation was ill-conceived and the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was an avoidable tragedy. Now, our objective must be to evaluate the facts and work to prevent such an event from ever happening again,” Hochul said.

“At a time when our country is facing significant economic challenges, it’s disappointing that both parties have, yet again, become distracted by Washington politics. The people of Western New York deserve a transparent government, regardless of which party is in control. Congress has a constitutional responsibility to exercise appropriate oversight, and I believe Attorney General Eric Holder should fully disclose the documents requested and allow this issue to be resolved.”

June 27, 2012 - 1:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

In the end, David Bellavia expressed more regret for his volunteers than he did for himself.

"I’m just exhausted," Bellavia said. "I’ve been walking so many miles and...so many doors...and I’m just trying to think in my head, what could I have done more, what could I have done, but at the end of the day, I’m just so sorry to all of these volunteers who gave me so much time and effort. I just feel really bad that I let them down."

The decorated Iraq War veteran thanked several of his volunteers by name during his concession speech at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia on Tuesday night. He then pledged his support to the Republican party and the effort to defeat President Barack Obama and Rep. Kathy Hochul in November.

"I spoke to Mr. Collins and I congratulated him on his victory," Bellavia told his supporters. "I’m telling you right now, we are going to lock shields as a party. We are going to stand in the trenches shoulder to shoulder."

After a campaign in which Bellavia characterized Collins as a "country club Republican" who was out of touch with the rural voters of the GLOW counties, the natural question for Bellavia after his speech: Did you just pledge to stand behind Collins?

His answer, "We’re going to talk. I stand behind the party and the process. I don’t make any excuse for whether it’s perfect today. We lost. I have kids and it’s important that they understand that you have honor when you win and you have honor when you lose. I have no excuses. I’m a Republican. I want to see Republicans win. Chris and I will talk in the future and we’ll move forward."

If Bellavia backs Collins, it's unclear if many of his GLOW supporters will follow.

But at the Clarion on Tuesday night, one of Bellavia's volunteers clearly said she won't vote for Collins in November.

Michelle McCulloch believes Collins was at least tangentially responsible for losing her staff position with State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer.

"You’re asking a person who lost her job because Chris Collins didn’t want me helping someone else in the race," McCulloch said. "I have never tried to work against my party, but I have no use for Mr. Collins. I know what he is and he knows what he is. He will never have my vote or my family’s vote."

Asked if she would help Hochul's campaign, McCulloch said, "I’ll see how things play out. I guess I’ll listen to Kathy Hochul and see what she has to say and go from there."

McCulloch was among the volunteers Bellavia singled out for thanks during his concession speech.

"Michelle McCullough has sacrificed so very much for me and on the side of honor, principle and integrity," Bellavia said. "Your family is beautiful. Your husband is an outstanding man. I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to endure and we’re going to make it right."

Collins will now face Hochul, who won her seat in a special election in May 2011 in which she attacked Collins ally Jane Corwin for her support of the Paul Ryan Budget Plan. Within an hour of Collins declaring victory on Tuesday, the Hochul campaign sent out a press release attacking Collins on the same topic.

Statement from Campaign Manager Frank Thomas:

"Chris Collins has made it a hallmark of his campaign to avoid taking positions on key issues. But one thing is clear, Mr. Collins supports Paul Ryan's budget; a plan that turns Medicare into a voucher program and makes seniors pay $6,400 more for their Medicare benefits to fund tax cuts for multimillionaires. He has even has said that it does not go far enough.

“It is time that Chris Collins comes clean with voters about his plans to take the Ryan’s budget further. What more could he do on top of decimating Medicare and protecting the super rich? We hope that now that he is the nominee he is willing to answer questions on the issues that matter most to the people of the 27th district.”

Previously: Collins landslide in Erie County sinks Bellavia in NY-27 GOP primary

PHOTO: Bellavia during his concession speech with his wife, Deanna, his children and parents (not pictured, his brother, Rand).

June 22, 2012 - 10:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul.

Press release:

Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) competed in the fourth annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game against female members of the Capitol Hill Press Corps.

“This event is a great opportunity to have a little fun with my colleagues and some of the journalists who cover us,” Rep. Hochul said. “I was happy I got to play centerfield this year since that’s where I’m most comfortable — not too far to the right and not too far to the left. I’m sure the reporters all noticed my prowess in the center and how well I worked with my bipartisan teammates.”

The press team defeated the congressional team 13 to 10.

The proceeds from this year’s event are going to the Young Survival Coalition, a group dedicated to young women affected by breast cancer.

June 21, 2012 - 3:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, kathy hochul.

Press release:

Today, Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) introduced the Vocational Employment and Technical Skills Act (VETS Act), which will make it easier for veterans to receive professional certification in skills they performed while members of the armed services.

“The VETS Act is a commonsense solution to a problem facing too many veterans -- difficulty getting a job when returning home. After talking to troops during my trip to Afghanistan and many conversations with local veterans, I remain concerned that one of the biggest fears our troops are dealing with is the prospect of unemployment after their tour of duty. This legislation will help veterans who have put their lives on the line protecting us overseas make the transition to civilian life using the technical skills learned in the military,” Rep. Hochul said.

To assist veterans transitioning to civilian life in finding employment, the VETS Act will eliminate unnecessary hurdles for veterans who have a high level of competence in many certifiable fields. The legislation requires states to alter their certification procedures to take veterans’ military training into account if they seek to become a surveyor, plumber, general construction equipment operator, HVAC repair person, carpenter, electrician, or an automotive/aviation engine repair person.

Earlier this month, Rep. Hochul held a roundtable discussion on the VETS Act to receive input on the legislation from members of Western New York’s veteran community. Additionally, the bill has been reviewed and approved by Rep. Hochul’s veterans advisory board.

Rep. Hochul is also a co-sponsor of other legislation to encourage the hiring of veterans, including the Hiring Heroes Act that modernizes and improves programs to assist our veterans with the transition from service member to civilian life. She voted in support of the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 – a bill that received bipartisan support – that provides assistance to older, unemployed veterans and provides active duty service members with transition and employment assistance.

In May, Rep. Hochul traveled to Afghanistan as part of a bipartisan Armed Services Committee oversight trip.

June 14, 2012 - 7:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, David Bellavia, kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

Kathy Hochul supports Obama, Obama is destroying the country, and only Mitt Romney in the White House and Chris Collins in the NY-27 seat can put things right, Collins told local reporters outside Batavia City Hall today.

“We have to defeat a representative who does not represent our core values," Collins said. "My core values are smaller government, personal accountability, local decision making, fiscal discipline, serving taxpayers and respecting future generations.

"These are not only the core values of the 27th Congressional District, they’re the core values of America. They are not President Obama’s core values. They are not Kathy Hochul’s core values."

Not once during his five-minute speech did Collins mention his GOP primary opponent, David Bellavia.

Asked about it, Collins said he is entirely focused on defeating Hochul on Nov. 6. Even if he loses the primary -- which he said he would win -- he will still be on the Conservative Party line and he said he intends to continue campaigning against Hochul right up until the general election.

"Kathy Hochul supports Obama," Collins said. "She is totally out of sync with the values of the 27th District. She won’t even admit she’s a Democrat."

According to recent reports, Hochul has a voting record that has not been in line with Obama or the Democrats.

The Buffalo News reported over the weekend that "Hochul is bucking the party line," noting that "Hochul voted with the Democratic Party line 81 percent of the time and with the Obama administration 78 percent of the time," which is less than other Democrats.

"Politico" noted that Hochul has not been the lapdog for Obama's health care policies that Democrats expected when she beat Jane Corwin -- in part because Hochul latched onto the GOP's Medicare reform plan as a wedge issue.

Still, Hochul did tell the Buffalo News she will vote for Obama, even though she won't attend the Democratic convention and, the News said, "she gives the president mixed reviews."

For Collins, however, Hochul and Obama are inexorably linked. 

The hook of Collins's remarks today was a statement by Obama that "the private sector is doing fine."

Collins said, the private sector isn't doing fine, not when there is 8.2 percent unemployment, China is cheating at trade and corporate tax rates are too high.

“We’ll keep talking about jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy," Collins said.

With Romney as president and Collins part of a GOP majority in Congress, Collins said policies would be enacted to put Americans back to work, most specifically, lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.

He also said the nation's debt is too high and promised smaller government if the GOP is given a chance to lead the way.

"Small businesses have a lack of confidence in the future of our country," Collins said. "We have a president who let that happen because he needs to keep going to China to borrow money. We cannot continue to borrow $4 million a day, $1.4- $1.5 billion a year and have small business invest in our future. They don’t know where the future is going."

One point Collins and Hochul seem to agree on: Trade. 

Hochul kept her campaign promise and voted against free-trade agreements supported both by the GOP leadership and President Obama.

Collins said he would push for tarriffs on China if the nation continues its current trade policies, which include not letting its currency float on the open market, and giving Chinese businesses a 30-percent price advantage over U.S. companies.

Collins's message for China, "Float your currency, respect our IP, open your own markets -- or else. They need us more than we need them."

June 14, 2012 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, kathy hochul.

Press release:

Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Services Agency (FSA) can now file weather-related disaster reports for damage done by armyworms due to the fact that they have arrived earlier than expected and in unprecedented numbers because of the unseasonably warm weather this spring.

“I am pleased to hear the USDA Farm Services Agency will now allow farmers to file weather-related disaster reports for damage done to crops from armyworms," Hochul said. "This is an important step toward the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets declaring the armyworm infestation a disaster, allowing farmers whose crops have been devastated access to low-interest emergency loans to help in the recovery. I urge farmers that have been affected by armyworms to contact their local Farm Services Agency and report their loss immediately.”

Farmers should report their losses to their county Farm Services Administration to begin documenting the extent of the damage. If the FSA can document a countywide loss of 30 percent or greater for a single crop, they can then submit their data to NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets for a potential disaster declaration – allowing access to low-interest emergency loans.

June 11, 2012 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul.

Press release:

Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) today announced that a grant of almost $1.2 million for Head Start projects has been awarded to Community Action of Orleans and Genesee, Inc.

“I am pleased that Community Action of Orleans and Genesee will be receiving this funding to support the Head Start program that so many families depend on to prepare their children for school. The continuation of this program is great news for the children of Orleans and Genesee counties and their parents,” Rep. Hochul said.

The total grant award of $1,174,114 is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Head Start promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development.

June 7, 2012 - 6:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Last week, Rep. Kathy Hochul marked her first year in office, and it's been a busy year for the freshman Democrat who won a special election over Republican Jane Corwin.

Genesee County political observers estimate that Hochul has spent more time locally than her predecessors, Tom Reynolds and Chris Lee, combined.

"That's where the people are," Hochul said, explaining why she makes so many public appearances in the district. "That's where I can listen, find out their concerns. My title is U.S. Representative and the best way I can execute my duties is to listen to people.

"Every time I’m out out in the community I learn something new and I find another way I can serve my district," she added.

Upon taking office, Hochul said she found a backlog of constituent issues and immediately hired staff that would focus on constituent issues.

So far, she said, her staff has helped constituents garner $800,000 in benefits owed to them by the federal government for one reason or another but had been held up by red tape.

Listening to constituents, she said, is why she continues to oppose the Ryan budget plan and its cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Genesee County, already with a heavy Medicaid burden, would see it increase under the Ryan plan, Hochul said.

"The Ryan budget plan would convert Medicaid into a block grant program, and that's one of the many reasons I'm against it," Hochul said. "It would make for higher costs for county taxpayers and taxpayers across Western New York. It would limit how much counties get and the localities would have to pick up the cost."

But listening to constituents, she said, is also why she was one of only 24 Democrats, and the only one from New York, to support the balanced budget amendment.

Democrats in Washington, she said, haven't put pressure on her to conform with their agenda.

"My title is representative and I represent a Republican, conservative-leaning district," Hochul said. "I am free to look at every issue that comes before me and vote in the best way to represent my district."

In Washington, Hochul said, Republicans have shown a willingness to work with her. On the Homeland Security Committee, she was the only Democrat during the session to get unanimous bipartisan support for her amendments to bills. That included an amendment to ensure Transportation Security Administration uniforms are made in the United States and that unclaimed clothing from airport screenings are donated to homeless veterans.

Representing the people of WNY in Congress is an amazing honor, Hochul said.

"I come back to the district often because what occurs here is very much more meaningful and where the decisions we make effect lives directly," Hochul said.

Top Photo: File photo, Hochul at the parade in Bergen on Memorial Day this year.

June 6, 2012 - 4:10pm
posted 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.”

May 21, 2012 - 3:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in USDA, kathy hochul.

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.

May 11, 2012 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education, kathy hochul, art, Batavia HS.

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.

April 12, 2012 - 9:46pm
posted 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.

April 12, 2012 - 7:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, kathy hochul.

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.

March 28, 2012 - 4:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, kathy hochul.

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."

February 6, 2012 - 6:32pm
posted 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.

February 4, 2012 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, kathy hochul, 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.

January 24, 2012 - 11:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barack Obama, politics, kathy hochul.

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.”

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