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kathy hochul

April 20, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, p w minor, kathy hochul.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul made a pair of stops in Genesee County today, including a tour of p.w. minor led by owners Andrew Young and Peter Zeliff. 

The shoe manufacturing company recently received a boost from the governor's office to help move 100 jobs from China back to Batavia.

Hochul also spoke this morning at Genesee County Criminal Justice Day at Genesee Community College.

Photos submitted by p.w. minor.

September 29, 2014 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, kathy hochul.

Kathy Hochul, former congressional rep for Genesee County and current candidate for lieutenant governor of New York, stopped by the Gensee Valley Agri-Business Park this morning and met with Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC, for an update on economic development efforts locally.  Hochul said once in office economic development will be one of her priorities.

September 9, 2014 - 10:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Elections, Bethany, kathy hochul.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Genesee County congressional representative Kathy Hochul have been declared the winners of the Democratic Primary race.

They also were the top choice of local Democrats.

According to Genesee County unofficial results, Cuomo beat Zephyr Teachout 427-187, with Randy A. Credico receiving 45 votes.

Hochul topped Tim Wu 505 to 156.

In the Republican Primary for supervisor in Bethany, Carl L. Hyde Jr. beat Edward F. Pietrzykowski Jr. 74 to 26.

In the primary for Independence Party delegates to the 8th Judicial District convention of the 139 Assembly District, Debra M. Buck-Leaton beat Carol A. Sheehan 14-7.

August 10, 2014 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Muckdogs, kathy hochul, batvia.

Jim Owen and Kathy Hochul at Saturday's Batavia Muckdog's game at Dwyer Stadium. 

Owen was one of Hochul's teachers in high school. Hochul is the former congressional representative for Genesee County and a current candidate for lieutenenant governor.

Photo provided by Hochul's campaign staff.

July 4, 2014 - 9:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, kathy hochul.

UPDATE: Kathy Hochul at Picnic in the Park later in the day with Wayne Fuller. Photo sent to us by a third party, but originated with a member of Hochul's staff.

NOTE: You may be wondering why there are no pictures to go with Kathy Hochul's stop at the farmer's market. My camera was still set up for multiple exposures from last night's fireworks at the Muckdogs game. A fact I didn't discover until I got home. This also left me with no usable pictures from the Kiwanis 5K to benefit autism research.  

Genesee County's former congressional representative, Kathy Hochul, now running for Lieutenant Governor, said she's been craving some brownie-stuffed cookies from the Batavia Downs Farmer's Market, so Hochul said she decided to get an early start on her campaign day and drive out to Batavia.

Hochul also bought strawberries and hand-crafted chocolate.

"It's a big state and I've got to go to all four corners, but I love Genesee County and I'll be out here as often as I can," Hochul said.

After terms as Erie County County Clerk and in the House of Representatives, Hochul worked for about 18 months for M&T Bank. It was a job she said she loved and still got her out into the community, but when Gov. Andrew Cuomo called and asked her to replace Robert Duffy on the election ticket, Hochul said she was tugged by the lure of representing people in New York again.

"I realized when the call came, there was a little bit of an emptiness, that I really wanted to get back and serve people in a more direct way, so I could not have been more thrilled than to have received the call and accept this honor and start running," Hochul said.

This, she said, is what she was meant to do.

"It's not something I pushed for at all," Hochul said. "When I think it about it, it just feels right, to be back out there meeting people all over this amazing state. I love my congressional district and I love representing Upstate New York, but the opportunity to go all over the state and meet new people and see them in their environments and businesses, I just feel like this is a calling. I've always thought public service is a calling. I'm so delighted to be back in the game."

As a candidate for reelection to Congress, Hochul had won over pretty much all of the gun rights groups, campaigning as a strong advocate for the Second Amendment. Now she's working for a man who has become the most reviled politician in New York by gun rights advocates. Hochul said she doesn't believe there is a contradiction in her position then or now.

Here's her full response to that question:

I believe there is a middle ground. I know many, many gun owners. I have family members who are marksmen and who are hunters and this is part of a culture up here and people need to understand that. There's no effort to remove guns from legitimate gun owners. I think there is sometimes a hysteria that's created, but people have to understand we respect the Second Amendment, but also there are many people who understand the need for background checks. As a county clerk, I like the fact that there are background checks performed, because there are people you don't want to have guns in their hands. They could do harm to fellow citizens. I believe there is an accommodation and I believe there is a reasonable approach. The extremes on one side or the other aren't going to agree with that, but that's how I've been my entire life in public service. There's a pragmatic middle ground and if people are willing to listen to each other, we'll get to the right answer. That's where I stand.

The stop at a farmer's market reminded her a lot of her term in Congress, she said, especially representing farmers.

"It reminds me so many tours of the farms and the struggles they face, when the weather's bad and there's a flood or a drought or there's army worms," Hochul said. "They're such resilient people and to know that I'll be in a position to promote their work in a new capacity as Lieutenant Governor working with Gov. Cuomo, it's going to be great."

May 21, 2014 - 5:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul.

Genesee County's former congressional representative, Kathy Hochul, will be Gov. Andrew Cuomo's running mate in the upcoming gubernatorial race, reports the Buffalo News.

Cuomo needed to find a new lieutenant governor candidate after Rochester's Robert Duffy decided not to run for reelection.

Hochul won the local congressional seat in a special election after Chris Lee's resignation, then lost to current NY-27 representative Chris Collins in November 2012.

“I don’t want to want to be on the sidelines,” she said of her bid to re-join government service. “New York State is on the move, but our work is far from finished,” she added.

February 20, 2013 - 5:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul.

Former Rep. Kathy Hochul has landed a new job. Hochul will work for M&T Bank as vice president of government relations.

From the Buffalo News:

Hochul ... will represent M&T in building relationships with local, state and federal officials, the bank said. She will work out of M&T’s headquarters in downtown Buffalo.

January 2, 2013 - 7:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul.

Rep. Kathy Hochul voted yes on the "fiscal cliff" package passed yesterday by the House. Here is her statement of support for the package:

“Like most Western New Yorkers, I was frustrated and disappointed by the inability of Congress to reach a bipartisan agreement before the December 31st deadline. Only in Washington would political leaders use the security of our families and the strength of our economy as a bargaining chip to score political points. For more than a year, I have called for a bipartisan compromise that would extend the Bush tax cuts for individuals making up to $500,000. The package before Congress tonight is a significant step in that direction. More importantly, it represents the type of compromise necessary to protect Western New York families and businesses, avoid a recession, and move our country forward. I supported this package not because it was perfect, but because it represents the best option for our country at this time.”

December 18, 2012 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Press release:

During her year and a half in Congress, Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) worked with members of both parties on behalf of Western New York’s small businesses, middle class families, veterans, students and seniors.

“It has been an honor and privilege to represent and fight for the people of Western New York,” Hochul said.

Thanks to Hochul’s efforts, the temporary guest worker program has been streamlined and is now available electronically, saving farmers across the country time and money.

Under Hochul’s Clothe a Homeless Hero Act, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and local charities to distribute unclaimed clothing left at airport security checkpoints to homeless and needy veterans and their families. This bill passed House and Senate and is expected to be signed into law by the President.

Rep. Hochul is known for working closely with constituents to answer questions, solve problems, or cut through bureaucratic red tape. Hochul secured over $1.3 million dollars for her constituents.

Hochul made it a top priority to ensure the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) would remain in Western New York for the foreseeable future. At Hochul's invitation, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited the air base in August and promised to preserve the base.

Additionally, Hochul worked to ensure that American manufacturers continue to grow, create jobs at home, and outperform foreign competition. In her manufacturing jobs plan, she advocated for investing in American workers by closing the skills gap, bringing jobs home from overseas, cracking down on unfair Chinese trade practices, spurring production of America-made energy and resources, and keeping tax dollars in America. Rep Hochul introduced a bill to create incentives for local companies to partner with colleges and universities to match education and job training with the needs of our local businesses.

Please click here to see accompanying document for further information on Rep. Hochul’s accomplishments.

November 27, 2012 - 8:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, kathy hochul.

Press release:

Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6328, The Clothe a Homeless Hero Act, which was introduced by Rep. Kathy Hochul (NY-26). The legislation will require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and local charities to distribute unclaimed clothing left at airport security checkpoints to homeless and needy veterans and veterans’ families. The bill passed by voice vote with strong support from members of both parties.

“As cold weather approaches across much of the country, this legislation will be a greatly needed help for homeless veterans while we work to end homelessness for good. It is unconscionable that so many of our veterans are homeless, and we must support our returning heroes. I am proud that my legislation to assist veterans passed with the bipartisan support of my colleagues,” Rep. Hochul said.

“Since joining the Committee, Rep. Hochul has worked tirelessly to identify bipartisan solutions to our nation’s problems, and thanks to her thoughtful leadership, the House took a small, but important, step in support of our veterans in passing H.R. 6328. We owe it to our veterans to do all that we can to ensure they get the helping hand needed to get back on their feet when they return from the battlefield.”

According to the VA, approximately 75,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and about 20,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been homeless within the last five years.

Hochul has consistently supported the needs of veterans throughout her time in Congress. She introduced the Vocational Employment and Technical Skills Act (VETS Act), which would make it easier for veterans to receive professional certification in skills they performed while members of the armed services. Rep. Hochul cosponsored additional 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.

November 22, 2012 - 3:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul.

From Kathy Hochul:

This Thanksgiving Day, as we count our blessings, let us also be mindful of those brave men and women away from their families, serving overseas to protect our freedom and defend others around the world. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. I wish Western New York and the nation a safe, peaceful, and happy Thanksgiving.

November 7, 2012 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release from Kathy Hochul:

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

November 3, 2012 - 9:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

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

The rules were:

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

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

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

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

What is your ideal future for Medicare?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your ideal future for Medicare?



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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

October 18, 2012 - 4:53pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Julie Kumiega, Hillary Clarke and Karen Hall.

October 4, 2012 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, kathy hochul.

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

October 3, 2012 - 4:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, events, kathy hochul.
Event Date and Time: 
October 16, 2012 -
10:00am to 1:00pm

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

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

September 27, 2012 - 10:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, kathy hochul.

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 21, 2012 - 2:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, kathy hochul.

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

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

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

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

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

The 2008 act expires in a week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 11, 2012 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, 9-11, kathy hochul.

Press release:

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

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

UPDATE:  Statement from Rep. Kathy Hochul:

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

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

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

September 10, 2012 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, kathy hochul.

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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