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kathy hochul

July 28, 2011 - 7:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul was appointed to the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) for the duration of the 112th Congress. 

“I am honored to join the House Armed Services Committee and work to help the brave men and women of our Armed Forces,” Congresswoman Hochul said. “The thousands of valiant Americans who serve our country every day deserve Representatives that will fight to give them the proper resources needed to do their jobs accurately, but more importantly, safely.  I also look forward to reaching out and helping all of our veterans, who have done so much to help our great nation.”

“As a Member of Congress from a region with thousands and thousands of Armed Service men and women, Congresswoman Hochul will bring a perspective that fits well with the House Armed Services Committee,” said Ranking Member Adam Smith. “I know Kathy will be a strong advocate for all of our men and women in uniform and will ensure that each of them have the tools and resources needed to ensure America’s safety and security. I look forward to working with her.”

Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region have seen over $1 billion of direct investments into our country from defense contracts; creating thousands of jobs and spurring the Upstate economy. 

Hochul added, “At just the Niagara Falls Airforce Reserve and National Guard, we have 2,800 men and women stationed, not only looking out for our security and well being, but investing in local businesses. Those jobs help spur our economy and help our businesses create even more spill-over jobs.”

Congresswoman Hochul already serves as a Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, where in the last two months she has met with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, offered an amendment in Committee, which passed with near unanimous consent, and sponsored legislation that would ensure the safety of Americans at our borders and airports.

July 21, 2011 - 1:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in kathy hochul.

Press release:

Today, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul announced she will be opening the first phase of 26th District satellite offices early next month to provide residents with convenient and direct access to Congressional staff for assistance resolving problems.

“I promised direct access for constituents and I am very pleased to begin these operations in the first week in August,” Congresswoman Hochul said. “We will be expanding our outreach in the weeks and months ahead, as well as adding a permanent office in Monroe County, where we hope to serve even more constituents.”

The first four satellite operations will be located in Batavia (Genesee County), Lancaster (Erie County), Lockport (Niagara County), and Warsaw (Wyoming County). Thereafter, the Monroe County office will staff upcoming outreach in Livingston and Orleans Counties as well.

Batavia (Genesee County)
One Batavia City Centre
Conference Room
Batavia, New York 14020
1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting Aug. 2.

Lancaster (Erie County)
Lancaster Municipal Building
5423 Broadway
Library/Conference Room
Lancaster, NY 14086
1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting Aug. 3.

Lockport (Niagara County)
Lockport Municipal Building
6560 Dysinger Road
Snyder Room
Lockport, NY 14094
1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month from 2 to 4:30 p.m., starting Aug. 3.
 
Warsaw (Wyoming County)
Wyoming County Building
143 N. Main St.
Room 202, 2nd Floor
Warsaw, NY  14569
1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from 2 to 4:30 p.m., starting Aug. 2.
 
Residents are encouraged to visit the offices during open hours to speak with a representative from Congresswoman Hochul’s office. All residents can still continue to receive assistance from the Williamsville office any day by calling (716) 634-2324 or by visiting the office at 325 Essjay Road, Suite #405, Williamsville, NY 14221.

July 16, 2011 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, Torrey Farms, kathy hochul.

Genesee County's farms are facing some of the same difficulties hitting farmers across the nation -- a combination of increased use of E-verify, bureaucratic difficulties with H-2A visas, a dwindling supply of immigrant labor and few U.S. citizens willing to do the work, making it difficult to bring crops in on time.

The confluence of events led to an unusual meeting in Washington, D.C., this past week, organized for Rep. Lois Slaughter (D-Fairport), with participation from Rep. Kathy Hochul and one of Genesee County's farmers, Maureen Torrey.

Torrey, owner of Torrey Farms, said the meeting was the first time high-level representatives of the U.S. Department of Labor, congressional representatives and famers have been able to sit down and discuss immigration issues.

The meeting lasted longer than planned, going two hours.

"Some of the old-timers there were surprised at some of the responses that we got," Torrey said. "We do think maybe there might be some improvement."

Hochul also said the meeting was productive and a unique opportunity to bring together two sides -- the DOL and farmers -- who are historically adversarial. 

"There is so much bureaucratic red tape it that it becomes a challenge for the farmers to get the workers they need," Hochul said. "These are people who are playing by the rules and they deserve all the help they can get from the government."

Torrey said the way the H-2A visa program is handled can really jeopardize the ability of farmers to harvest crops at the right time.

For example, she said, apples need to be picked on just the right day and pickers need to be experienced at recognizing the right color and firmness to pick apples at the right time, as well as be able to handle them properly to avoid damaging the fruit.

U.S. citizens, Torrey said, typically don't want the jobs and they lack the experience and training necessary to do the job properly.

Farmers want to be able bring back the same workers year after year to ensure they have the best labor force.

H-2A visas can be held up for a variety of reasons -- mistakes in the multiple pages of paperwork, a barely missed deadline, or a bureaucrat snafu can delay approval past harvest time.

Torrey said that a farmer might submit a batch of applications, have one disapproved and then face getting the entire batch rejected if she appeals just the one disapproval.

Hochul said the situation is just unacceptable.

"Some of the fields can’t be brought to market in time because they don't have enough popele to harvest the crops," Hochul said.

While the H-2A program requires that farmers first seek qualified labor among U.S. citizens, Torrey said few American ever respond to the required job listings.

In states such as Georgia, Florida and Alabama, where state legislatures have mandated use of a program called E-verify to check the legal status of workers, crops have been left to rot in the fields because there's been no workers available.

Torrey said even the DOL admits there are only about 50,000 qualified legal agricultural workers in the United States, but the annual demand is for 900,000 to one million workers.

Torrey said even Darien Lake Theme Park has trouble filling all of its season worker positions with citizen workers. The park hires about 300 foreign students  on J-1 visas.

"If Darien Lake needs 300 people on J-1 visas, it just shows you there are not enough people to take these jobs," Torrey said. "And that's fun work compared to working in a field."

Until there is a sustainable guest worker program, Torrey said, farmers are going to struggle to fill positions at harvest time.

A guest worker program has been under negotiation for 16 years, Torrey said, and while it wasn't the topic of the meeting organized by Slaughter, Torrey did attend a meeting on the subject while in D.C.

Meanwhile, according to a recent story in  The New York Times, the immigrant labor pool from Mexico is drying up. As economic and educational opportunities improve in Mexico, and the Baby Boom population that fueled the big illegal immigration moves in previous decades is getting older, there are fewer workers willing to take the risk of coming to America for work.

It's all of these forces pushing down the labor pool that made the meetings in Washington so important, Torrey said, and why she's glad they seemed so productive.

"It was really positive," Torrey said. "It is not only going to help Genesee County, but it's going to help farmers all across the country who are having the same issues, so our peers were really happy these meetings took place."

July 12, 2011 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in free trade, kathy hochul.

The Obama Administration is stepping up pressure on Congress to pass new free trade agreements, but Rep. Kathy Hochul (NY-26), elected to represent WNY in a special election a month ago, says she will stand by her campaign promise to vote against the proposed treaties.

In response to a question from The Batavian, her congressional spokesman, Fabien Levy, sent the follow message:

She still remains very opposed to all of the free trade agreements. I remember that during the campaign she went beyond your question on one free trade deal and answered it on all the free trade deals.  

Here's the question and answer Levy mentions:

Q: The next representative of the NY-26 is likely going to be asked on vote on the South Korea – United States Free Trade Agreement. If elected, will you vote “Yes” or “No.” After offering a straight up or down answer, please explain your yes or no vote.

A: No, I do not support the U.S./South Korea Free Trade Agreement. I also do not support the U.S./Panama or the U.S./Colombia Free Trade Agreements.

Millions of hard-working Americans have lost their jobs due to unfair trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA and entering into additional free trade agreements will only further harm our economy. Instead of expanding trade policies that have resulted in thousands of good paying Western New York jobs being sent overseas, we need to focus on creating an environment that gives smalls businesses the opportunity to innovate and grow, right here in the 26th District.

Hochul's opponent, Jane Corwin, took a far less solid stand on trade issues, but did say during a campaign appearance in Batavia that she supported "fair trade" and wasn't a "protectionist."

Trade arguably played an important role in Hochul winning the election. Polls seem to indicate that voters switched support for the outspoken anti-free trade candidate Jack Davis to Hochul, rather than Corwin, in the final week of the election.

Related to Hochul's position on free trade last week, the newly minted representative supported measures to crack down on currency manipulation by China.

(Photo: file photo)

A full press release from Hochul's office on that issue after the jump.

July 12, 2011 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, kathy hochul.

Upon a request from The Batavian, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul provided this statement on proposed legislation to increase federal oversign of rides at theme parks.

“The accident at Darien Lake was not only a tragedy because we lost a war hero, but because it reminded us that current loopholes in our laws can jeopardize the safety of patrons at fixed site amusement parks. Permanent theme parks should not be exempt from federal safety oversight, which is why I plan to work with Congressman Ed Markey (MA-7) to co-sponsor legislation that will ensure the Consumer Product Safety Commission has the ability to oversee amusement park rides.”

Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, who pushing such legislation prior to the accident, has revived his proposal following the death Friday of disabled Iraq War James Hackemer on a rollercoaster at Darien Lake Theme Park.

July 7, 2011 - 10:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, NY-26, kathy hochul, pakistan, foreign affairs.

When Kathy Hochul made a campaign appearance in Batavia at the YWCA, I asked her about Genesee County's deteriorating infrastructure and what could be done about it at a federal level.

Hochul started by expressing concern about a problem that she sees across Western New York, with pot-holed roads and rusting bridges. As she spoke, it was almost as if the thought occurred to her on the fly -- why are we spending billions building roads in Pakistan when we have so needs here at home.

She picked up the theme in subsequent debates and appearances.

Today, Hochul's congressional office announced that she's kept her campaign promise, voting to reduce aid to Pakistan.

Press release:

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul voted in favor of Republican Congressman Ted Poe’s (TX-2) amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which would cut funding to Pakistan by $1 billion. 

“Today’s votes were about priorities,” said Congresswoman Hochul.  “Would we rather spend a billion dollars in Pakistan or spend that money right here at home? I know the people of the 26th District would much rather have that money invested in infrastructure, education, and job creation right here in the United States, rather than in the country that hid Osama bin Laden.”

Since being sworn in last month, one of Congresswoman Hochul’s top priorities has been cutting spending and reducing our deficit. In addition to cutting funding to Pakistan, Congresswoman Hochul today voted to cut $675 million from infrastructure in Afghanistan, citing the need to improve infrastructure in our own communities.

June 29, 2011 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul.

On June 19, newly minted NY-26 Rep. Kathy Hochul attended the Batavia Muckdogs game at Dwyer Stadium. It's the kind of thing that I'd normally cover with a picture, but it was Father's Day and my birthday so I took my Dad to the game. I didn't take my camera. It was time off. Still, it was nice chatting with Kathy and Bill Hochul. Kathy went to the game to get herself mentally ready to play on the Women's Congressional Softball Team in a match against an inside-the-Beltway media team in a charity game. I asked her press aide Fabien Levy to send along a picture from the game.  

June 16, 2011 - 12:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee County Airport, kathy hochul.

Press release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Kathy Hochul today announced that Genesee County Airport will receive nearly $1.3 million in funding for its apron expansion, which will provide greater and safer aircraft movement, as well as aircraft parking at the airport.

“This is great news for both the Genesee County Airport, as well as all the aircrafts that travel through here,” said Congresswoman Hochul. “This funding will help the airport rehabilitate aprons, as well as enhance and expand the safety of aprons.”

The viability of the airport is important as it houses a State Police helicopter, numerous crop-dusting planes, and a medical helicopter used to transport victims in emergencies.

The airport is also used for training by the Army National Guard.

June 3, 2011 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Press release:

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Kathy Hochul (D-NY26) announced that she will serve on the House Committee on Homeland Security in the 112th Congress.

“I look forward to working hard for the people of the 26th District as a Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security,” said Congresswoman Hochul. “As a Representative of a district right by the border, issues of homeland security greatly impact the people of my district and I will work tirelessly to ensure their safety.”

Congresswoman Hochul began her work immediately, meeting with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, where the two discussed national security issues facing our nation and discussed international trade and travel across the Peace Bridge in Buffalo.

Congresswoman Hochul has already voted on issues of vital importance to our homeland security. She voted against H.R. 2017, FY 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, which makes more than a billion dollars in cuts to critical local and national security programs.

Instead of cutting funding to programs that protect Western New Yorkers, Congresswoman Hochul supported the Clarke-Higgins-Reichert-Tonko Amendment to reform the Urban Area Security Initiative so that Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse would continue to be eligible for funds that prevent, protect and safeguard these cities against terrorist attacks.  Prior to the passage of this amendment, the bill would have restricted funding to only 10 cities.

Congresswoman Hochul recognizes that we must be vigilant in our efforts to protect our communities and borders against terrorists.

June 1, 2011 - 9:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Lorie Longhany, kathy hochul.

Kathy Hochul, who won a special election last week to become the congresswoman representing the NY-26, was sworn today.

In Washington, D.C., for the ceremony were the chairs of the Democratic committees of the GLOW region (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties).

Genesee County's Lorie Longhany (second from right) supplied this picture from the capitol.

May 25, 2011 - 10:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

While Kathy Hochul won the race for the NY-26 seat, Jane Corwin was favored in Genesee County.

Corwin picked up 44.2 percent of the vote to Hochul's 39.2.

Jack Davis, who garnered only 9 percent of the vote throughout the rest of the district, picked up 14.5 percent in Genesee County.

Here are the final vote totals.

Total ballots: 8,247

Corwin: 3648 -- 44.2 percent

Hochul: 3239 -- 39.2 percent

Davis: 1195 -- 14.5 percent

Murphy: 100 -- .012 percent

Write-in: 43

Blank: 22

These are unofficial numbers and they may not yet include absentee counts.

We don't have the turnout percentage yet.

May 24, 2011 - 10:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

Even before the Genesee County vote has been counted, the Buffalo News, along with other media outlets, have declared the race for Kathy Hochul.

According to the Buffalo paper's numbers, with 87 percent of the precincts reporting, Hochul has 48 percent of the vote to Corwin's 42 percent. Jack Davis picked up 9 percent and Ian Murphy 1 percent.

Corwin conceded the race shortly after 10 p.m.

It's unclear what will become of the court order Corwin obtained earlier today barring certification of the election results before a court appearance on Thursday.

May 23, 2011 - 11:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Kathy Hochul made a campaign stop in Batavia today, stopping by Scooter's Family Restaurant on West Main Street.

Geoff Redick, of The Batavian's news partner WBTA, was on hand to snap a couple of pictures and talk with Hochul briefly.

She recently came out ahead of Republican Jane Corwin in a Siena poll – an eyebrow-raiser in New York’s 26th Congressional District race, which has been staunchly Republican in the past. Hochul gives the credit to her campaign.

"People are listening to us – the message is getting out there," Hochul told WBTA. "We've been pounding this message home for weeks. And (residents) want somebody who's a fighter, a very Independent Democrat, and I'm their candidate."

Retiree Art Wilford was sitting down to lunch when Hochul walked in. He thinks she’s got a chance tomorrow.

"I'm normally Republican," he said, "but she's got a nice personality. I don't know her that well, but she seemed to be well-spoken, and suited for the job."

Art says he may even vote for Hochul: "There's a good possibility," he said.

(via WBTA)

May 23, 2011 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, kathy hochul.

Ad from Jack Davis

Ad from Kathy Hochul

And that's all that I could find on YouTube.

May 21, 2011 - 8:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, NY-26, 400 Towers, kathy hochul.

Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, star of Sha-Na-Na, stopped by 400 Towers on Friday evening to talk with residents about Medicare, Social Security and his career in music and television.

Though Bauman's appearance was sponsored by Kathy Hochul, his talk was pretty non-political. Bauman mostly stuck to the facts of the programs and proposals, at least as he sees them.

Above, Bea McManis escorts Bauman into 400 Towers as Bauman displays Bowzer's trademark muscle flex.


May 20, 2011 - 7:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

The Jack Davis campaign is claiming that their own polling numbers show Kathy Hochul ahead in the NY-26 special election race with Jane Corwin coming in a distant third.

In the words of the Davis campaign press release, "it appears support for Jane Corwin is collapsing."

The Davis campaign claims that Corwin's numbers have dropped to 17 percent, with Hochul polling 44 percent. Davis, in the Davis poll, is at 27 percent.

According to the press release, 4,602 "frequent voters" were surveyed. The poll was conducted between May 18 and May 19.

Seventeen percent were undecided.

From the press release:

“It’s clear that if conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party patriots want to keep Kathy Hochul, a Nancy Pelosi Democrat, from representing this district, they must vote for Jack Davis,” said Jack Davis campaign manager Curtis Ellis.

Late last night, I emailed both the Corwin and Hochul campaigns for a response.

Fabien Levy, with Kathy Hochul, replied but has not provided a response for publication yet and we haven't heard from Matthew Harakal with Jane Corwin's campaign at all. This post will be updated with any responses.

UPDATE 8:16 a.m.: Statement from Levy: "Every poll shows Kathy Hochul garnering the support of more and more voters in the 26th District. Voters here know Kathy is the only candidate in this race fighting to protect both Social Security and Medicare, which is why they are running away from her two conservatives opponents."

May 19, 2011 - 8:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

New from Jack Davis.

New from outside money group American Crossroads.

May 18, 2011 - 8:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in roads, Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

In light of our story Tuesday about the sad state of our roads and bridges, at the candidates' forum yesterday, I wanted to ask the candidates what they would do about the problem.

Jane Corwin said we have a big problem with infrastructure and we need a comprehensive, long-term plan for funding from the federal government. She said infrastructure should be one of the highest priorities of the federal government.

But, she said, the government is spending too much money, driving up debt.

"We're spending too much money that is going toward interest payments not enough toward infrastucture," Corwin said.

Hochul's response contrasted the government's infrastructure spending with current foreign policy.

"I’m going to go out on a limb here," Hochul said. "We are probably spending more on roads in Pakistan and places like that where they’re not exactly our friends than we are right here in Genesee County. We’ve got to get our priorities straight. I’m starting to reexamine a lot of our commitment internationally."

Jack Davis and Ian Murphy did not attend the forum.

May 18, 2011 - 7:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

More than 20 advocates for independent living for people with disabilities were at a candidate forum Tuesday morning with the four candidates vying for the NY-26 congressional seat.

All four candidates were invited and expected to attend, but only Jane Corwin and Kathy Hochul made it. Jack Davis sent a spokesman who said Davis had an emergency at his manufacturing plant and Ian Murphy just didn't make it.

Both Corwin and Hochul opened with statements about their support for independent living, weaved in their usual stump speech remarks about jobs, Medicare and taxes, and then took questions.

In her opening, Corwin said as an Assembly member she has supported legislation benefiting independent living, including pushing for more group homes.

"I am certainly very supportive of the issues that are important to you," Corwin said.

Melissa Golpl (pictured above), disability rights advocate for Independent Living of Niagara County, came prepared with detailed questions for the candidates.

One of her questions was about Corwin's position on federal legislation to assist people with autism.

Corwin said she had a son who used speech services when he was young, "so I've seen from the inside how the system works and how important it is to get those services to children, especially at young ages."

As for autism, Corwin said that cases of autism in children have increased dramatically and in the Assembly, she said she worked to raise awareness among her colleagues to be more sensitive to the needs of people with autism. She also said she sponsored legislation to get more services for students with autism, including make it possible for them to participate in sports.

Greg Bruggman asked Corwin about her position on block grants for Medicaid, a proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan but opposed, Bruggman said, by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Corwin said she supported the block grant proposal because there is a lot of fraud and waste in New York's Medicaid system and a competitive block grant formula would be the best way to eliminate it.

Hochul opened by saying she strongly supported the people who provide services to people with disabilities.

"I feel strongly the 26th district needs somebody in Washington looking out for people like you and the people you work with," Hochul said.

She said her concern with people with special needs is why she opposes the Ryan budget plan, which she said would decimate Medicare and Medicaid.

"What kind of community are we if we don’t supply support for people with special needs," Hochul said.

While Medicare and Medicaid need to be reformed, Hochul said, it's a matter of priorities and ensuring the programs are fixed in a cost-effective way that still takes care of people of people with special needs.

"I guarantee I will be a strong advocate for people with special needs," Hochul said.

Golpl asked about housing for people with disabilities and Hochul said there needs to be more housing built to accomodate the needs of people with disabilities and said she favored offering incentives to builders to construct such houses and apartments.

Above, Curtis Ellis, spokesman for Jack Davis, speaks to the gathering at the YWCA for the candidates forum. Media from Rochester and Buffalo were on hand, as well as a reporter from the D.C. bureau of the Los Angeles Times and a cameraman from CNN.

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