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Hochul reflects on year and a half in office as term winds down

By Howard B. Owens

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.

Hochul's bill to donate lost clothing from TSA to veterans passes house

By Howard B. Owens

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.

Hochul votes to extend middle-class tax cuts, says wealth should pay 'fair share'

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Today, Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) voted to preserve and extend middle-class tax cuts to all Americans on the first $250,000 of earned income. This bill would provide tax relief and prevent a tax increase of about $2,200 on working families and small businesses in Western New York.

“At a time when our national debt is approaching $16 trillion, the House leadership has insisted on passing an irresponsible plan to add $1 trillion to the debt to pay for additional tax cuts for millionaires. This extra trillion puts us in even greater debt to the Chinese. Instead, I supported an alternative that would provide tax relief to middle-class families and small businesses, while requiring the wealthiest top 2 percent to pay the same tax rates they paid during the economic boom of the 1990s,” Rep. Hochul said.

“If we are going to effectively address our nation's fiscal challenges, we need a balanced approach that requires meaningful cuts to government spending and the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. That is why I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support a balanced budget amendment and to cut $2.4 trillion in deficit spending. It’s also why I supported cuts to wasteful spending, such as aid to Pakistan. There is still work to be done to protect middle-class families and reduce the deficit, and I will continue to work with both Democrats and Republicans to find ways to accomplish that goal.”

Hochul issues statements on healthcare decision and Holder contempt vote

By Howard B. Owens

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.”

Hochul, after one year in office, says she takes her job title seriously: Representative

By Howard B. Owens

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.

Alice Kryzan, former congressional candidate, succumbs to cancer

By Howard B. Owens

Alice Kryzan, an environmental attorney from Amherst who campaigned hard in 2008 in an attempt to become Genesee County's representative in Congress, died Saturday.

She was 63.

Kryzan lost a battle with cancer and according to friends, died peacefully at her home.

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Kryzan lost in a three-way race with Jack Davis and Chris Lee in 2008. 

Kryzan's full obituary after the jump (click on the headline):

ALICE KRYZAN, 63, environmental attorney and congressional candidate

AMHERST, NY –Alice Kryzan Berger, environmental attorney and congressional candidate, died of cancer peacefully at home on Saturday, June 2, in Amherst, where she lived for 33 years.

Alice was born on July 19, 1948, in Youngstown, OH, one of two children of Carolyn and Judge Frank X. Kryzan, who served as mayor of Youngstown from 1954 to 1960.

In 2008, Alice was the Democratic congressional candidate from New York’s 26th District, after winning a three-way primary.  Alice also was the Democratic candidate for Amherst Town Supervisor in 2009.

Alice was known for her commitment to public service, sense of humor, integrity, determination, intellectual passion, and devotion to family and friends.

She graduated from Ursuline High School in Youngtown in 1966.  She received her B.A. from Trinity University in Washington, DC, in 1970.  In 1973, she received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was one of only twenty women in her graduating class.  At the University of Chicago she met her husband, Robert S. Berger, emeritus Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo Law School.  

After law school, Alice worked at a small law firm and then at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where she helped provide a voice to those who needed it most.  After moving to Amherst in 1978, Alice worked at Phillips Lytle, where she became the first woman partner at what was then the largest law firm in Buffalo.  She went on to manage the Buffalo office of Whiteman, Osterman, and Hanna, and after leaving the firm, Alice continued to practice environmental law before retiring in 2005.

Alice also had a distinguished record of community service.  She was the Chair of the Board of Planned Parenthood of Buffalo and Erie County from 1998-2000, after years of service as a volunteer on various committees and as a Board Member.  She also served on the Steering Committee and was Treasurer of The Women’s TAP Fund, which raises money for pro-choice women candidates for state and local office.   Alice served on the Board of The Western New York Women’s Fund, a collaborative project of the United Way and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo that helps women and girls achieve economic self-sufficiency.  A lifelong environmentalist, she served as a Board Member of New York Parks & Trails and served as the chair of both the Erie County Bar Association Environmental Law Committee and the New York State Bar Association Environmental Law Section.

Alice is survived by her husband, Robert; son, Sam; sister, Carol (Thomas) Ward; brother-in-law Stuart (Debbie) Berger; and eight nieces and nephews, Jill (Charles Zaccaria), Adam (Amanda) and Matt (Elizabeth) Ward, and David, Jennifer, Charles (Christi), Kathleene and Tracey Berger.

Family and friends will celebrate her life on June 25, at the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, NY 14201.  Those wishing to pay their respects are invited to attend the ceremony at 1pm, or a reception to follow from 2-4pm.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Girls Education Collaborative, PO Box 2191, Buffalo, NY 14231 or Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Tri-Province Development Program, PO Box 157, 1531 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21153.

Judge releases draft plan for congressional redistricting

By Howard B. Owens

U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann released a draft plan for new congressional districts in New York and set a deadline of 9 a.m. Wednesday for public comment on her plan.

Mann released the plan after receiving and reviewing proposals from both houses of the New York Legislature, Common Cause and others.

The draft puts Genesee County in the middle of a redrawn NY-27 district, moving the NY-26 to cover just Buffalo. 

The largely rural district includes parts of Erie County, most of Niagara and just a bit of Monroe County and stretches into Ontario County. All of Orleans and Wyoming counties are included in the plan.

Presumably, Rep. Kathy Hochul would be the Democratic candidate for the NY-27 and Rep. Brian Higgins would run in the new NY-26.

For all of the releated documents, click here.

Genesee County's congressional fate very different in competing redistricting plans

By Howard B. Owens

Redistricting plans unveiled last night by a New York court reviewing the proposals indicate Republicans and Democrats in Albany have very different views of how Genesee County should be represented in Congress.

One plan splits the county in two and another plan keeps Genesee County whole.

One plan would seemingly make it easier for Rep. Kathy Hochul to retain her seat in November's general election. The other plan would seem to make an election fight tougher.

Both plans presented by the legislature -- the Democratic majority in the Assembly and the Republican majority in the Senate -- say that one of the aims  is to protect incumbent seats.

"Preserving the cores of existing districts — sometimes also referred to as incumbency protection — is a well-established, traditional districting principle in New York," reads a legal brief prepared by Republicans in the Senate.

The Senate memo cites several legal precedents saying that preserving relationships between legislators and constituents is a legitimate legal concern, and that for congressional seats, protecting seniority of house members is important to maintaining the state's influence in the lower chamber.

Democrats in the Assembly prepared a similar memo.

The Democrats also said they put a high value on protecting minority representation (as required by prior legal cases), so for the NY-26, the district includes all of urban Buffalo and Niagara County. It also includes other portions of Erie County and all of Orleans County, but in Genesee County the towns of Le Roy, Stafford, Byron, Bergen and Pavilion are in Rep. Tom Reed's NY-24 district.

The Republicans plan -- which is somewhat similar for WNY to a plan presented by Common Cause -- keeps Genesee contiguous and keeps the entire GLOW region as part of the same district.

In that plan, all of Niagara County and a portion of Erie County are part of the NY-24, making the district almost entirely rural.

The court could make a decision on a redistricting plan by some time Friday.

Bellavia seeks support to help him mount new campaign for congress

By Howard B. Owens

Batavia resident and Iraq War veteran David Bellavia says he wants to run for congress but "liberal New York politicians" are holding up the process of drawing new district lines, making it hard for him to start his campaign.

Bellavia made a plea for financial support from supporters to help get a possible campaign going in an open letter posted today to his website.

... here's why I can't jump in this race just yet: liberal New York politicians are creating new Congressional Districts. They've been holding back for months, dragging their feet and drawing secret lines to help Democrat incumbents like Rep. Hochul.

It's hard to believe - we simply don't know what district we live in yet!

But the courts have forced the politicians to announce those new districts in the next few weeks, and I need your donation if I am to get in this race as a strong competitor.

Bellavia blames Hochul for high gas prices and criticizes her for a "rubber stamp" of President Obama's policies.

The United States House of Representatives is working hard to fight President Obama's flawed policies. But in the conservative Republican district of Western New York where I live, we are represented by a liberal Democrat who believes in just about everything President Obama says or does!

Hochul calls on congress to pass jobs bill to help with area bridge repair

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

After a report stating nearly 1,100 bridges in New York State were deemed "fracture-critical," a high percentage of which exist in New York’s 26th Congressional District, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul today called on Congress to immediately pass the American Jobs Act.

"Let's finally pass a comprehensive jobs bill that will not only get Americans back to work, but fix the bridges millions of commuters rely on each year," Congresswoman Hochul said. "These 'fracture-critical' bridges are a threat to the safety of New York residents, especially the residents of New York's 26th District, which had scores of bridges on the list. This report only underscores the need for quick passage of the Job Act.”

New York State currently has double the number of fracture-critical bridges on the list than reported nationwide, while Orleans County, in the center of the 26th District, was reported to have nearly seven times the national average. Over 20 percent of Orleans County's 138 bridges were found to be fracture-critical. Bridges from all other six counties in the 26th District – Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, and Wyoming counties – were also on the list.

Fracture-critical bridges lack redundant supporting elements, which means if one key support function of the bridge fails, the safety and use of the entire bridge could fail, potentially causing a collapse.

Hochul added, "While structurally sound under normal circumstances, there is no reason why these bridges cannot get the necessary repairs to ensure the safety of the driving public. As the former county clerk responsible for putting vehicles on the road, I feel compelled to fight for the money we need from Washington to bring our bridges and roads up to par. Once again, I call for the House leadership to bring forward the American Jobs Act and allow us to vote on infrastructure funding for our districts, while creating much needed job opportunities for our workers."

All seven of the counties Representative Hochul represents have vulnerable bridges that could benefit from passage of the American Jobs Act.

Hochul to meet with Jack Davis for factory tour and discuss jobs and trade

By Howard B. Owens

Rep. Kathy Hochul will tour I Squared R Element in Akron at 11 a.m., tomorrow and meet with Jack Davis, the Tea Party candidate she defeated in May's special election to fill the NY-26 seat.

After the tour, according to a press release from Hochul's office, Hochul and Davis will "discuss America’s manufacturing strategy and the need to stop supporting companies that ship jobs overseas, as well as how to replicate Davis’s American success story throughout Western New York."

Hochul: I will work with anybody and everybody willing to create jobs for WNY

By Howard B. Owens

Press release: 


“The message I have heard, loud and clear, during my seven ‘Congress On Your Corner’ meetings this month, is that our constituents expect us to work towards real job proposals that will help get our people back to work. I was sent to Washington to work with anybody and everybody willing to help create opportunities in Western New York. 

“Now is the time for us to come up with a critical infrastructure plan that will not only help our local governments build roads, bridges and airports, but also get our economy moving once again.

“When we return to Washington next week, our top priority must be cutting the exorbitantly high unemployment rate and revitalizing our economy. I intend to work quickly to renew the FAA Reauthorization and Surface Transportation Bill and ensure we don’t leave nearly one million workers on the sidelines, as was done to 4,000 FAA employees earlier this summer. As these pieces of legislation progress, I plan to work with my local municipalities to ensure they can apply for their proper funds.

“Congress cannot continue to act in the same hyper-partisan manner it did throughout the summer with the FAA Reauthorization and debt-ceiling negotiations, which is why I plan to continue to work with President Obama, as well as all Republicans, Democrats and anyone else willing to ensure we are creating opportunities for hard-working, middle-class families.”

Hochul cites Corfu business in speech on floor against Boehner's debt ceiling plan

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul offered the Democrats’ final argument against Speaker John Boehner’s plan that only aims to postpone a U.S. default by six months, while drastically cutting discretionary spending.

“Never in our history has there been an intentional disaster, perpetrated by the very people who were elected to be the caretakers of this country,” said Congresswoman Hochul.  “That is exactly what will happen if we refuse to take action to prevent default and pay our nation’s bills now."

Congresswoman Hochul introduced her own amendment that would prioritize where spending cuts come from: cutting subsidies to Big Oil and corporate jets owners, before cutting education funding.

“Tell me why at a time when we all agree that the deficit must be reduced, we don’t ask Big Oil and companies with corporate jets to help out the country that helped them.

“Seaman’s Hardware Store in Genesee County pays more in federal taxes than many companies that are enjoying off the chart profits, while some of my constituents can barely afford to fill a gas tank so they can get to their minimum wage jobs at the dollar discount store.


“There is one value we all share and that is fairness. Two things that are fundamentally unfair about this plan: It is unfair to put this country through this disgraceful, political gamesmanship again in another 6 months. 

“It is also unfair to cut money from education.  Education is the one chance for economic equality among our young people, and the one shot for them to reach their full potential.

“By making tax loopholes and tax breaks for Big Oil and corporate jets a priority over education, we are harming the economic engines across the country, and particularly in my district: our colleges and universities.  University at Buffalo, Geneseo, SUNY Brockport, Erie and Genesee Community Colleges – each is critical to our local economy and to the future of our students.”

Hochul appointed to House Armed Services Committee

By Howard B. Owens

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.

Keeping pledge first made in Batavia, Hochul votes to reduce funding to Pakistan

By Howard B. Owens

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.

Jeff Allen led pack in write-in votes in NY-26 special election

By Howard B. Owens

There were 44 write-in votes cast in the May 24 special election for the NY-26 congressional seat and Jeff Allen, who mounted a local write-in campaign through The Batavian, social media and a limited marketing budget, got 15 votes.

That made him the top vote-getter among all write-in "candidates."

David Bellavia, who specifically dropped out of the race and endorsed Jack Davis on the Tea Party line, received nine votes.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley received four votes as did former rep, Shirtless Chris Lee, who resigned after it was revealed he was apparently trolling Craigslist for dates.

Notable single vote "candidates:" Reader JoAnne Rock, reader Peter O'Brien, local businessman and Oakfield School District Board Member Marc Johnson and Elba resident and nationally known author Bill Kauffman.

Hochul appointed to Homeland Security Committee

By Howard B. Owens

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.

Area Democratic leaders join Kathy Hochul in DC for swearing in as NY-26 rep

By Howard B. Owens

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.

NY-26 Special: Voter turnout

By Howard B. Owens

Genesee County didn't have the biggest voter turnout in the special election on Tuesday, but we made a good run at it.

Board of elections officials have said our turnout was "about 25 percent."

That's 8 percentage points behind Erie County, but still at the high end of anticipated turnout for a single-ballot item, special election.

Depending on how "about" the GC turnout was, it also looks like Niagara County also had a slightly higher turnout at 25.7 percent.

These are unofficial numbers before absentee ballots have been counted.

Monroe County's turnout was 21 percent, Orleans 22 and we haven't been able to obtain the numbers for Wyoming County.

Even though we couldn't beat Erie (33 percent) -- where all four candidates were from -- our turnout was strong. The Batavian will go ahead and make its $100 donation to the Genesee Justice Foundation.

Corwin comes out on top in Genesee County

By Howard B. Owens

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.

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