Local Matters

Community Sponsors


September 22, 2020 - 3:38pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, agriculture.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is releasing following statement calling for the replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

“Speaker Pelosi has held up aid for small businesses, American families, and schools for weeks, and now she is threatening the well-being of farmers and rural communities," Jacobs said. "The Commodity Credit Corporation has supported farmers for decades and has always been replenished by Congress without question, yet, the Speaker has refused to include it in the upcoming spending bill.

 “It’s an affront to our farmers that the Speaker has refused to act on this funding, and I commend Ranking Member Conaway for introducing an amendment to rectify this neglect. I support his amendment and urge its inclusion in this week’s spending bill to replenish this critical program.”

The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) has served as the financial institution for carrying out federal farm programs since 1933.

It exists to finance authorized programs that support U.S. agriculture such as the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (COVID-19 financial assistance), the conservation reserve program, the dairy safety net, livestock disaster programs, in addition to the Market Facilitation Program and Food Purchase and Distribution Program aimed at combating the impacts of illegal retaliatory tariffs on agricultural products.

For more information visit: https://www.usda.gov/ccc.

September 22, 2020 - 3:35pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, news, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) recognizes and encourages constituents to participate in Small Business Week, which runs from September 20th through Sept. 26th.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and cornerstones of our Western New York communities," Jacobs said. "They have seen unprecedented challenges in the face of COVID-19, but I truly believe their resiliency is unmatched.

"In the coming months, we need to support our small businesses and help them rebuild. I encourage every American to shop local. Go to your local restaurants, buy from your local boutique, encourage your friends and family to spend their money at smaller, locally owned stores. We all have a role in this fight and together we can rebuild our historic economy.”

National Small Business Week was started in 1963 by President Kennedy to highlight the outstanding contributions of small businesses to America.

The week seeks to recognize entrepreneurship, promote shopping and spending in local economies, and honor American innovation. This year, there will also be a three-day virtual award ceremony for entrepreneurs, employers, and advocates.

As of 2019, the 13,227 small businesses in NY-27 accounted for 95.6 percent of employers. They employed 61 percent of all workers in NY-27 and accounted for $4.9 billion in payroll for the district.

For more information on what you can do to support small businesses and for resources currently available, please visit https://sba.gov.

“It is my honor to represent the over 13,000 small business owners and the over 125,000 small business employees of NY-27 in Congress," Jacobs said. "I will keep fighting for more targeted aid for small businesses, especially strengthening the highly successful Paycheck Protection Program.

"I am also looking to the future with policies that roll back regulations and unleash the full potential of American entrepreneurship. When small businesses succeed, our whole region prospers. I ask everyone to join me in supporting them this week and to maintain the spirit of Small Business Week through the rest of the year."

September 21, 2020 - 3:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Duane Whitmer, NY-27, video.
Video Sponsor

Duane Whitmer, candidate for the NY-27 election in November, made a campaign stop on Saturday at Sweet Betty's in Le Roy.

September 19, 2020 - 3:34pm
posted by Press Release in news, NY-27, Nate McMurray.

Press release:

Following the news of United States Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg’s passing Nate McMurray, Democratic candidate for New York’s 27th Congressional District, released the following statement:

“My family and I join with Western New Yorkers and all Americans mourning the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a woman who personified ‘fight’ every day of her groundbreaking and accomplished life. Justice Ginsburg fought for all that she achieved: her education, her children and family, and her distinguished career as a teacher, lawyer, judge, and Supreme Court Justice. At each step, she championed the cause of equality between the sexes and justice at every level of society. 

“Justice Ginsburg encouraged Americans of all ages to ‘fight for the things you care about.’ With reverence and renewed spirit, we will continue to do just that.”

September 19, 2020 - 8:19am
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, news, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is releasing the following statement following the news of the passing of Justice Ginsburg.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a force on the Supreme Court, never compromising her values, and impacting our nation for decades to come. She served our nation with integrity, was a role model for many, and raised the standard for debate and discourse. As the second woman to ever to be nominated to the Supreme Court she broke barriers and all Americans, regardless of ideology, (we) should recognize her incredible achievement and mourn her loss. My deepest condolences and prayers are with her family,” -- Congressman Chris Jacobs.

September 18, 2020 - 7:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, covid-19, coronavirus, news, NY-27.

Press release:

 Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is releasing the following statement after the announcement Thursday evening that an additional $14 billion would be committed to the Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Rep. Jacobs is a member of the House Committee on Agriculture.

“I applaud the President for his continued commitment to our nation’s farmers. With this additional $14 billion in coronavirus aid, farmers will be better equipped to weather the effects of the coronavirus and to continue to feed American families,” Jacobs said. “While this aid has helped the agriculture industry, more assistance is needed. Regrettably, Senate Democrats blocked legislation last week to provide more funding for farmers, and now Speaker Pelosi is refusing to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation that funded this additional CFAP aid. Farmers have supported our nation throughout the entirety of this pandemic, now is not the time to be playing partisan games with their livelihoods. I urge Congressional leadership to resume negotiations on a new coronavirus package and to provide the critical assistance our farmers in Western New York and across the country need.”

The $14 billion will support the second version of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2). The program was created to support growers and producers of agricultural commodities. More information and a list of eligible commodities can be found here: https://www.farmers.gov/cfap

September 17, 2020 - 5:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael caputo, Nate McMurray, news, NY-27.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 27th District praised the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement that Western New York native, conspiracy theorist, fear monger, and embattled HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo would step aside from his role at HHS on a 60-day leave that extends through the Nov. 3rd election. The Department also advised that Caputo’s aide, Paul Alexander, will leave his post at HHS permanently. 

“I said it in April 2020 and I’ll say it again now: the President was beyond reckless to install Michael Caputo — who, by his own admission, has absolutely no scientific training or expertise — as ‘spokesman’ for HHS in the middle of a public health crisis in the first place,” McMurray said. “I wish Caputo well in recovering his faculties over the coming weeks, but this turn of events comes as no surprise. 

“Caputo has been a ‘yes’ man for Donald Trump since 2014 when he spearheaded a smear campaign to muscle out other bidders in Trump’s failed attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills. This spilled over into his shadowy work on Trump’s 2016 campaign and subsequent House of Representatives investigation during which Caputo was brought before the House Intelligence Committee. His latest smear campaign, accusing the learned scientists of the Centers for Disease Control of ‘sedition’ and ‘resistance’ when they have only been hard at work these last many months against the coronavirus, was the last straw.

“It’s clear that Michael Caputo’s loyalty doesn’t lie with the American people, but solely with Trump. His hiatus from HHS is welcome at this critical time in our public health crisis, but at the same time is too little too late. I call on Caputo to step down permanently and leave the scientific experts at the CDC and HHS to do their jobs for the American people.

“Meanwhile where is my opponent? When Western New Yorkers and every day Americans need Chris Jacobs, whether to vote correctly or to stand up for them and denounce Caputo’s and Trump’s organized assault on science, the CDC, and public health and safety, Jacobs’ head is firmly planted in the sand as he protects his own political interest over the public’s health and safety. The lack of leadership is staggering and the silence deafening.”

Here is Michael Caputo's statement, which Caputo sent to The Batavian yesterday, about his leave of absence:

After consultation with President Trump and Secretary Azar, I have decided to take a temporary medical leave of absence to pursue necessary screenings for a lymphatic issue discovered last week.

My experience mirrors that of many Americans. When I first noticed I was losing weight, I thought it was because of a new exercise and diet regimen. But over time, I realized there may be other factors causing my weight loss for months.

Instead of taking the time to see my doctor, I failed to do so. This was a mistake, and contributed to my stress level, along with the increasing number of violent threats leveled at me and my family back in Buffalo. But every American battling COVID — in every city in every state across the nation — has been under enormous pressure. I am just one of them.

I’ve learned so much in friendship with the doctors of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force. Sometimes we disagree, but we work in unity to defeat the virus and we care for one another. I want to thank Dr. Tony Fauci for conferring with my personal physician as we get the healthcare I long needed, and yet neglected, through the pandemic.

Our family is blessed. We urge all Americans to see their family doctor for the health care they need but have missed for months during this crisis. Do it today.

September 16, 2020 - 4:07pm
posted by Press Release in news, NY-27, U.S. service academies, nominations.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs is announcing the following information for students in New York’s 27th Congressional District who are seeking a nomination to a United States service academy.

Members of Congress can nominate candidates to four of the five U.S. service academies – the U.S. Military Academy (USMA), West Point, NY; the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Annapolis, MD; the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), Colorado Springs, Colo.; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), Kings Point, NY. The fifth academy – the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn. – does not require a congressional nomination.

Rep. Jacobs’ office will be holding a virtual information night with representatives from each of the academies to brief prospective attendees on the nomination process and answer questions. The virtual meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 23rd, at 6 p.m. EST. To RSVP for this night and get login information attendees may call (716) 634-2324 or (585) 519-4002.

Application information can be found at Jacobs.house.gov/services. The deadline for applications will be Friday, Nov. 6th, at 5 p.m. EST. All applications must be sent to Rep. Jacobs’ Clarence District Office at 8203 Main St., Suite 2, Williamsville, NY 14221.

“It is my distinct honor to help foster the next generation of military leaders," Jacobs said. "Western New York has a deep history of service to our nation, and I look forward to nominating a new class of dedicated and service driven students to our service academies this year."

September 15, 2020 - 7:04pm
posted by Press Release in chris jobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) joined Republican House members to unveil the Republican “Commitment to America” plan.

“Before COVID-19, the United States had a historic economy, was strengthening our position on the international stage, and was making record investments into our communities," Jacobs said. "While the pandemic and recent civil unrest have impacted our lives significantly, Republicans are making a commitment to the American people to advance an agenda that provides a stronger future for every single American." 

The Commitment to America is a three-pronged plan focusing on Rebuilding our Nation, Restoring our Way of Life, and Renewing the American Dream. The plan places emphasis on building small businesses and unleashing the American economy, returning safety to our streets and supporting law enforcement, strengthening educational opportunities, and investment in critical infrastructure, such as rural broadband. To read more, visit: https://www.republicanleader.gov/commitment/

“As I have said throughout my public service career, I fully believe in the potential of Western New York," Jacobs said. "I am proud to support this new vision and agenda for all Americans because it aligns with my mission to build a thriving region with good jobs, a strong education system, universal access to broadband, and opportunities for advancement."

September 15, 2020 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, NY-27, news, notify.


Nate McMurray, candidate for the NY-27 congressional seat in this November's election, threatened me this past weekend.

The threat wasn't the first one McMurray has leveled at me.

The first threat was on a phone call on Feb. 16. That was the day we published this story: McMurray tweeted about his employer but mostly after he was put on unpaid leave.

Feb. 16 was also the first day in my professional journalism career, which goes back to 1986, that a candidate for public office, at any level, yelled at me over the telephone. To be honest, I shouted just as loud in my rejoinder. It was heated. I'm sure profanity was involved. It was a bizarre and disturbing conversation to have with a man who claims he's the best person to represent us in the House of Representatives. 

I don't have a recording of this conversation. Perhaps McMurray will release the recording he suggested he made. He has intimated -- part of his course of threats against me -- that he records all of his conversations.

I'm not sure what to say about a man who records all of his conversations without informing the other party. It's legal in New York. That doesn't make it ethical.

This conflict arose from a story we published Feb. 15: Nate McMurray's employer, owned by the family of his NY-27 opponent, placed him on leave without pay.

The story prompted Michael Caputo -- an Erie County resident, longtime Republican political strategist, and one of the early media supporters of The Batavian (he had me on his former television show once) -- to post a tweet suggesting I wasn't a real journalist for not including the assertion that McMurray was potentially placed on leave because of use of twitter to criticize Delaware North.

I immediately called Caputo and complained about the tweet but also admitted he was right: I should look at the timing of McMurray's tweets criticizing Delaware North. Caputo apologized for his rash tweet, and I believe he deleted it. (I can't confirm this because Caputo deleted all of his tweets after he joined the Trump Administration as assistant secretary of public affairs for Health and Human Services.)

I informed McMurray I intended to do a follow-up story. McMurray questioned my judgment. I told him -- as I remember it, but McMurray has the recording, not me -- that Caputo's criticism was valid. As a matter of journalistic ethics, I should look at those tweets. I also made the statement, as quoted back to me in a later text message by McMurray, "I do not want to deal with Caputo's army. I don't want these people on my back." I trust the accuracy of McMurray's quote since he apparently has a recording that I don't have.

As a Democrat, I'm sure McMurray is familiar with the concept of "cancel culture" -- the practice of bands of political extremists piling on people on Twitter to demean and threaten them, even threaten their livelihoods and personal safety, to enforce some perceived politically correct orthodoxy. It's not just a leftist thing. Trump supporters do it, too.

While I'm on friendly terms with Caputo, I also know the most single-minded of Trump supporters follow him on Twitter. Caputo is nothing if not expert at stoking the passion of Trump's base (as I think this New York Times article out yesterday illustrates (since this coverage, it appears Caputo has deleted his Twitter account)).

Any sane person would want to avoid getting "canceled" by the paranoid and angry mobs of either the left or the right. 

But that isn't the reason I wrote the story I did. Caputo had a legitimate point about the ethics of not including that information. It was something that I didn't even think about while working on the first story. It was an oversight that needed to be corrected.

My concern about Caputo was real, but that wasn't the reason I pursued a follow-up story. If I thought Caputo wrong about our failure to look a little deeper, I wouldn't have cared what he tweeted, but I saw no reason to volunteer for abuse in a situation where I had no real defense against his accusation.

There is a reason I never married the girl I dated in college. McMurray's twisting my statement into some a charge of capitulation to Caputo reminds me of her. She was an expert at turning an innocuous statement into an argument. It's what manipulators do.

The ironic thing is, the follow-up article, I contend, was quite favorable to McMurray. It showed Delaware North didn't suspend him because of his tweets. The tweets mocking the Jacobs family and Delaware North all came after McMurray's leave of absence began.

So while Caputo was right on the journalistic ethics of not looking at that aspect of events, he was wrong on the facts of the case.

Still, McMurray was angry. In our Feb. 16 call, he threatened to expose me as a toady to Michael Caputo. I loudly suggested to him that would be a bad idea, and he backed down.

Over the course of his threats, McMurray has questioned my journalistic credibility, calling me an activist. The insinuation is that I'm in the pocket of either Caputo or Jacobs, or both, or that I have a secret anti-McMurray, pro-GOP agenda.

The funny thing is the frequent commenters on Facebook who, every time we publish one of McMurray's press releases, try to engage in their own form of cancel-culture attacks on me and The Batavian, all think I'm on McMurray's payroll.

McMurray conveniently ignores the fact that early in the 2018 campaign, The Batavian was the first publication in the district to take his candidacy seriously. We did the first substantial interview with him.

Covering McMurray has never been about McMurray's politics. He's a candidate for federal office. He deserves to have his voice heard. It would be unethical to deny him a platform to be heard. It's why we publish all of his relevant press releases no matter how inane I might find them personally. We've done nothing in publication but treat him fairly.

Even after these attacks from McMurray started, we showed up at one of his campaign events and published a video that most would think reasonably and accurately captured the event with no anti-McMurray spin.

I suspect McMurray's anger about the Feb. 16 article had more to do with the fact that I quoted Caputo at length in the story than the fact that I did a follow-up.

I already knew McMurray hated Caputo. He had made his animosity clear months earlier in a private dinner meeting at Eli Fish Brewing Co. I also knew Caputo hated McMurray. More than once, he's said to me, "McMurray is a punk."

The next conflict came up around June 16, when we published five video interviews with the candidates in the NY-27 special election. McMurray proudly tweeted out a link to his interview with The Batavian but falsely claimed that Jacobs refused to submit to an interview. I retweeted his tweet and pointed out this error, linking to the interview with Jacobs.

Within minutes, McMurray started sending text messages. Among his claims, that I had told him that Jacobs had refused to sit for an interview. I never told McMurray any such thing. I can guarantee you, McMurray has no recording to support that assertion. He also said, accurately, that I would inform him once I had secured an interview with Jacobs. I neglected to follow through on this promise, which I had forgotten about until he reminded me.  

Be that as it may, I would expect a candidate for federal office to be informed enough about the media coverage of his own race to know when an interview is posted with his chief rival before making a claim that is falsifiable. How he could have missed an interview with Chris Jacobs on the home page of the best-read news source in Genesee County is something I can't explain.

Our ensuring testy text exchange included McMurray stating, "Time to start calling you out, Bro," followed by "I got tape."

To me, this was another threat. It was another attempt at extortion, another attempt to bully me into not bucking McMurray's campaign narrative. 

Later in July, there was the debate about whether Genesee County is a "news desert," the latest trendy phrase among media pundits about rural counties without sufficient local news coverage.

Margaret Sullivan is the former editor of the Buffalo News. Currently, she is a media columnist for the Washington Post. Earlier this year, she published a book, Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy.

According to excerpts of the book (such as this one from The Atlantic), Sullivan quotes McMurray about local coverage of his 2018 campaign against then-incumbent Chris Collins. As you may recall, Collins was under federal indictment -- charges he would eventually admit to -- for insider trading and lying to the FBI.

But in the more far-flung parts of the sprawling congressional district, voters were far less informed. The largely rural and suburban district includes Orleans County, which, according to Abernathy’s criteria, is a news desert—one of just a few in New York State.

“I’d be going door to door, or meeting with people at a diner or a fair, for example, and in the most isolated areas, a lot of people had no idea that their own congressman had been indicted,” McMurray told me. Orleans County, west of Rochester, he said, was “one of the toughest places.” Some people didn’t even know who Collins was, and many were incredulous when McMurray told them of the federal charges.

“People told me I was making it up,” said McMurray. That shouldn’t have been the case, given that television news stations in both Rochester and Buffalo were giving plenty of airtime to the scandal as it developed, and those stations were available throughout the district. Nevertheless, the constituents lacked access to the in-depth coverage that a newspaper would have provided. At one time, almost everyone in the district had ready access to print editions of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle or The Buffalo News, or were within easy reach of smaller newspapers in nearby Niagara Falls or Lockport.

This inaccurate take on the 2018 election was not only insulting to Tom Rivers, editor of Orleans Hub, but to me, as the publisher of The Batavian. I complained to The Atlantic, The Washington Post, which also Margaret Sullivan, first on Twitter, and then when she didn't respond, via email.

I believe these assertions are demonstrably, factually wrong. I believe corrections are in order -- and are still in order -- for the book, and these other august publications.

The Batavian reaches at least 70 percent of our market -- Genesee County -- every week. Our readership is 10,000 to 12,000 area residents per day. On a market-size-adjusted basis, the Buffalo News would love to reach as many people as The Batavian. In the past 10 years, we've published more than 900 items about the 27th district. While Jerry Zremski, of the Buffalo News, did Pulitizer-Prize-worthy work in uncovering the corruption of Chris Collins, an investigative enterprise, a publication like The Batavian could never hope to duplicate. I do believe our coverage after his indictment was as robust and thorough as any news publication in Western New York. And I know Tom Rivers covered the case thoroughly as well.

There is simply no way that one single voter in either Genesee or Orleans counties went to the polls in November 2018 without knowing Rep. Chris Collins stood accused of federal crimes.

I heard locally many times in 2018 that people would prefer to vote for a Republican accused of insider trading and lying to the FBI than vote for a Democrat, no matter how much that Democrat might admire Ronald Reagan.

I tried to make this clear to Sullivan. Still, her response was, "Nate McMurray was emphatic, in our interview, that he encountered a surprising number of people in some parts of the district (we specifically discussed Orleans) who weren't aware of Chris Collins' indictment. He tied this to news coverage."

In other words, if there were going to be any retraction of these bogus claims of misinformed voters, it would have to come from McMurray.

So I sent a text message to McMurray about his quote, and the conversation soon devolved into an argument about my journalism bona fides and how I had, in his view, capitulated to Caputo. He mentioned the "tape" again.

"You actually said that bro," after I accused him of lying about the substance (not the statement itself, as quoted above, but the meaning) of my comment, "and maybe I record all my calls."

It's evident to me that Nate McMurray, much like Donald Trump, will browbeat and bully reporters who won't genuflect at his feet. If the coverage isn't fawning, it's fake news. If the journalists report the truth, they're an enemy of the people. This is the mindset of the narcissist and the authoritarian. 

We saw it on public display when McMurray blasted the Buffalo News for reporting on his unhinged tweets attacking Democratic leadership.

Apparently, in McMurray's world, when the press cover's Trump deranged tweets, it's news. When the press covers McMurray's off-the-wall tweets, it's "gossip."

What set off McMurray this weekend was my response to one of his tweets about a campaign appearance in Batavia without appropriate notification to the local news outlets. 

So I tweeted, "Another politician avoiding the media."

It didn't take but seconds for McMurray, who seems to be obsessed with Twitter, to send me a text message, setting off another argument leading to another threat (screenshot at the top of this editorial). He claimed in the course of the argument that the event wasn't public, but the pictures show it took place at DeWitt Recreation Area. And he posted pictures about it on a public forum. To claim it was a private event is disingenuous. He used a public space and publicized it after the fact in an open forum.

In my jurisdiction, when a candidate for state or federal office makes a public appearance locally, the local media should be notified; otherwise, the candidate is merely dodging public scrutiny. That shouldn't happen in a democracy. In the age of Trump, it's all that much more important to cling to these democratic norms.

And for those who think I might just be picking on McMurray, earlier this month, we received a press release from Rep. Chris Jacobs about his tour of GCASA. While GCASA is essentially private property, the fact that Jacobs thought it public enough to issue a press release about it makes it clear, it was a public event.

The press should be informed of his visit. The fact no invites went out to local reporters is, to me, a clear indication Jacobs wishes to avoid any tough questions about his time, thus far, in office. I can assure you, Jacobs' staff heard a detailed complaint from The Batavian about this failure to inform the local media about his visit to a location in Genesee County.

The fact is, Nate McMurray and Donald Trump are more alike than McMurray will ever acknowledge. Both claim to be men of the people (I'm reminded of the song by The Blasters, Common Man) but are elitist -- Trump by his money (no matter how overstated his actual wealth) and McMurray by his big-corporation attorney pedigree. Both love the media limelight. Both use Twitter to cultivate devotees. Both are narcissists with authoritarian tendencies. Both blame others for their failings and never acknowledge their mistakes. Both attack reporters who dare to tell the truth about them or challenge them in any way.

If you're among those who support either of these men, fine. It's a free country. We don't cover Donald Trump, but we do cover the NY-27, as well as several other local political jurisdiction, and we want to make it clear, The Batavian won't be bullied by any politician. 

We've never been afraid of politicians. We weren't scared when Jane Corwin refused to answer questions about the conduct of her campaign. We weren't fearful of Kathy Hochul when her campaign misquoted our interview with Chris Collins. We didn't cower when Chris Collins ran away from our interview attempts.

If Nate McMurray thinks he can bully us in order to keep us covering him without fear or favor, this editorial should emphatically answer that question. He can't.


The tweet that prompted Nate McMurray's most recent threat against The Batavian.


McMurray misrepresenting the reason for our follow-up story about his being put on leave by Delaware North.


The messages from McMurray after my tweet about him saying Jacobs refused an interview. Note, "Time to start calling you out bro" and "I got tape."

UPDATE 7:20 p.m.: Here is McMurray's text message in response to this piece. He's also blocked me on Twitter.


September 15, 2020 - 12:50pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.


Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) announced the introduction of the Infrastructure Expansion Act (H.R. 8222) this morning at a press conference in Hamburg. The press conference was attended by representatives from construction, business and insurance organizations. Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23) has also joined the legislation as a cosponsor.

"The Scaffold Law is an outdated 19th-century law that burdens our taxpayers and hurts our ability to provide critical infrastructure for New Yorkers across the state," Jacobs said. "Today I am proud to announce that I have taken action to combat one of the most burdensome regulations in New York State by introducing legislation that will drive federally funded construction costs down significantly, making New York more competitive for investment and reducing the taxpayer's cost. It is my hope Albany will follow suit and repeal the Scaffold Law altogether."

Currently, in New York State, the Scaffold Law imposes absolute liability for gravity-related injuries, despite who is at fault for the injury, on construction employers and property owners, forcing companies to purchase expensive liability insurance that drives up an overall project's cost. For example, the Gateway Rail project is expected to see additional costs of $180 to $300 million due to this requirement. It is also estimated this law has added an additional $200 million on the cost of the Tappan Zee Bridge Project. For families building a home, the New York State Builders Association has estimated that the Scaffold Law increases residential construction costs by as much as $10,000.

The Infrastructure Expansion Act that Rep. Jacobs has introduced imposes a comparative negligence liability standard, pre-empting the Scaffold Law on all projects receiving federal funding. Under Jacobs’s legislation, gravity-related accidents would be investigated to determine blame in the cause of the injury, meaning businesses would no longer be forced to carry excessive insurance plans, and taxpayers are safeguarded against wasteful spending.

“It’s time we finally tackle one of New York’s most economically devasting statutes -- the Scaffold Law,” said Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23). “By preempting the Law, we can ensure federal construction projects and communities across New York are no longer unfairly burdened by this harmful law. We will continue to take steps to fight back against the impractical legislation coming out of Albany and boost economic development opportunities throughout the state.”

"This legislation brings much-needed attention to the fiscal implications of New York's wasteful 'Scaffold Law,' " said Tom Stebbins, executive director of Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York said. "I commend Rep. Jacobs for introducing this bill and for his dedication to ensuring that every dollar invested in the Empire State's infrastructure is spent with the public's best interest in mind and not wasted on expensive lawsuits. Lawmakers in Albany should take note, follow his lead, and finally fix this costly, archaic law."

Greg Biryla, NFIB's New York State director, said "Because of archaic statutes like New York's Labor Law 240/241, or 'Scaffold Law,' construction insurance for small businesses in New York, like those represented by NFIB, is the highest in the nation, stifling growth and commerce across every community in our state.

"The Scaffold Law doesn't discriminate between public and private development – affordable housing, roads, bridges, and schools all cost taxpayers more because of this statute.While Albany should be laser-focused on addressing laws like this to jumpstart our post-COVID economic recovery, reform has proven elusive in the State Capital. Small businesses across New York State are thrilled to see Congressman Jacobs prioritize this critical issue in Washington by introducing legislation that will place a fair liability standard on federally funded infrastructure projects in New York."

"New York's 'Scaffold Law' has been called 'New York's Stupidest Law,' In fact, it may well be one of the most outdated laws in America," said Mike Elmendorf, president & CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State. "The Scaffold Law, which creates an only-in-New-York absolute liability standard, holds contractors and building owners wholly responsible for gravity-related accidents on construction sites, regardless of who was culpable. Workers, small businesses, and taxpayers are left holding the bag while trial lawyers laugh all the way to the bank.

"We commend Congressman Chris Jacobs for introducing the Infrastructure Expansion Act to try to spare federally funded projects from these excessive and unjustifiable costs. We urge Congress to act to protect taxpayers — while also continuing to urge Albany to finally correct this injustice by reforming this outrageous and antiquated law.

"New York's regulations have held back our state for far too long," Jacobs said. "Instead of wasting our tax dollars on excessive and unnecessary insurance costs, our money can be better used to fund critical infrastructure projects and good-paying jobs.

"I want small businesses and taxpayers to be able to survive and prosper here, that is why I have taken action today. We need a state that welcomes investment and small businesses, and I will continue to use my office to work in the best interest of the taxpayers and small business owners living in New York."

September 11, 2020 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Payroll Protection Program, news, business, NY-27, Chris Jacobs.

Statement from Rep. Chris Jacobs:

“The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has preserved roughly 12 million rural jobs during the pandemic and I support the $150,000 threshold for automatic forgiveness of a PPP loan included in the Senate GOP bill considered yesterday. Unfortunately, every Senate Democrat voted against advancing this critical legislation. Small businesses, workers, and families are facing a major uphill battle as we rebuild our economy, and Congress must act to provide critical relief. I urge the Democrats to stop playing games with American’s livelihoods and work with Republicans and the White House to advance something more than a partisan wish list.”

NOTE: The vast majority of $659 billion Paycheck Protection Program loans, 85 percent, were for $150,000 or less. These are very small businesses and independent contractors. These loans accounted for only 26 percent of the loans approved by the SBA. About 15 percent of the borrowers received 74 percent of the funds. Currently, these small businesses must complete a loan forgiveness form and provide documentation on how the money was distributed (payroll, rent, and utilities are the primary expenses eligible for forgiveness). With automatic forgiveness, these small businesses would need only submit a signed document stating that the funds were used within the guidelines of the program.

August 31, 2020 - 2:18pm
posted by Press Release in State Police, NY-27, Chris Jacobs, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) was endorsed by the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association at a press conference this morning.

"Throughout his entire public career, Chris Jacobs has been a vocal advocate for the men and women of our law enforcement," said Jack Moretti, NYSTPBA retiree legislative liaison. "As a retired member of the New York State Troopers, I know firsthand that our police officers need more resources, which is why it is critically important we have elected officials who will tirelessly support our forces.

"We are proud to endorse Chris Jacobs for Congress, and we are more than confident that he will continue his strong defense of our police officers and be a true fighter for our needs and the safety of our communities." 

Moretti was joined by John Clark, second vice-chair, and Ryan Hadsall, Troop A delegate, to deliver the endorsement of Jacobs. The NYSTPBA represents more than 6,000 active and retired New York State Police.

“At a time when there are growing calls to defund our police forces around our nation, it is essential that we support our law enforcement and elect leaders who are willing to stand by them," Jacobs said. "I am truly honored to be endorsed by the New York State Troopers PBA, and I am proud of my strong record fighting for our law enforcement's needs.

"I have profound respect for anyone who puts on the uniform and bravely serves their community, and I promise to continue fighting for our great police in Congress."

August 29, 2020 - 5:33pm
posted by Press Release in Nate McMurray, NY-27, news, Chris Jacobs.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, Democratic congressional candidate in NY-27, released the following statement after his opponent attended Donald Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican 2020 Presidential nomination:

“After his ‘no’ vote against NY-27’s postal workers last weekend, and after more than 180,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, Chris Jacobs recklessly joined a crowd of more than 1,500 unmasked people, seated for hours cheek to jowl in a potentially unlawful gathering to lavish praise on Donald Trump.

"Will he self-quarantine for two weeks? He won’t, but he absolutely should. Not even Mitch McConnell was so cavalier about his own health, opting instead to stay thousands of miles away in Kentucky rather than risk attending what was little more than a garish coronation.

“We know without a doubt that Trump lies to the American people, and that he will continue to re-write history in order to fit his false narrative for November. Over 3,600 Americans died over the four days of the RNC from the coronavirus. Nearly 30 million Americans are on unemployment after Trump failed to create a national strategy for combating COVID-19.

"Trump and Jacobs continue to support defunding Social Security, and their attempts to kill the Affordable Care Act and coverage for pre-existing conditions continue as well. These are indisputable facts.

“Donald Trump and Chris Jacobs desperately want you to be afraid of Joe Biden, but it is a sad attempt to distract you from the horrors of Donald Trump’s America today — where moral leadership is vacant, the President is above the law, dissent is punished by pepper spray or worse, and the reality that Americans are living each day is re-written to fit Trump's authoritarian narrative of ‘greatness.’

“We can do better, and we must. That begins with rejecting Jacobs and Trump on November 3rd. Then we do the hard work of implementing universal healthcare, achieving racial and social justice, rebuilding our infrastructure, strengthening Social Security and Medicare, combating climate change, and so much more.

“This November, don’t pull a Jacobs. Don’t let your vote be a mistake.”

August 28, 2020 - 10:14am
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, news, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is releasing the following statement after attending President Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican 2020 Presidential Nomination.

“I was truly honored to join many of my fellow Americans in DC last night to hear President Trump deliver his vision for America," Jacobs said. "I believe he drew a sharp contrast between himself and Joe Biden, highlighting that the Democrats have repeatedly focused on negativity, anger, and dividing our nation, and he called attention to failed radical left policies that Biden has espoused.

"In addition, the President offered his own uplifting message of American greatness and a bright and prosperous future for all Americans. The President built a historic economy, created record low unemployment, unleashed American manufacturing, and put America first on the world stage in his first term, and I have no doubt he has the ability to rebuild our nation from this unprecedented crisis and accomplish even more in his second. I am looking forward to fighting alongside him for a prosperous future for Western New York and America."

August 27, 2020 - 1:08pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs is joined by Congressman Tom Reed and Congressman Joe Morelle in calling on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar to provide additional funds for hospitals from the Public Health Services and Support Emergency Fund (PHSSEF).

“Hospitals in our region, such as Thompson Health, have fully complied with all COVID-19 guidelines and served their communities effectively during the pandemic; however, following these guidelines has resulted in drops in inpatient volumes and increased costs for protective equipment and testing,” Congressman Jacobs said.

“While they have faced the same challenges and financial struggles as other providers, our hospitals, many serving rural communities, have not received the same amount of federal aid.”

Jacobs, Reed, and Morelle cited Thompson Health and Eastern Niagara Hospital, which have not received any relief funding since the initial round of federal funding distributed on April 10th. Thompson Health serves more than 165,000 residents and has more than 1,700 workers.

Before COVID-19, 80 percent of their revenue came from outpatient services – these were halted to focus on the COVID-19 response, and they are now facing $10 million in losses. 

Thompson Health and other providers have been without critical funding for over seventeen weeks, despite their continued efforts to provide COVID-19 relief services to our area. Without additional support, they are facing severe financial cutbacks that could have devastating effects on the region.

The Representatives are asking for the consideration of a “plus-up” formula for future aid funding. Under this method, each hospital would receive, at minimum, the same percentage of the previous year’s revenue. This would make funding distribution more even, currently Thompson, for example, has received roughly 2 percent of FY19 revenue, while other hospitals have received up to 50 percent FY19 revenue.

“We care about our communities’ access to medical care and the incredible hospitals in our region who provide quality services,” Congressman Reed said. “It is only fair that HHS work with us to ensure bureaucratic classifications don’t prevent medical providers from receiving the federal aid they deserve to continue serving people during this difficult period.”

“Healthcare providers have been on the front lines battling this unprecedented global health crisis, yet many smaller providers have failed to receive the support and assistance they deserve,” Congressman Morelle said.

“Many are struggling under the weight of financial loss and need our help to continue the essential services they provide for our community. I’m proud to partner with Congressman Chris Jacobs to stand up for these small hospital providers and urge HHS to provide additional relief immediately.”

August 24, 2020 - 3:10pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, news, Nate McMurray, NY-27.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, congressional candidate in NY-27, released the following statement after his opponent voted against $25 billion in funding for the USPS (H.R. 8015), but then released a statement that he had mistakenly pushed the wrong button and meant to vote for the bill:

"Yesterday, thousands of letter carriers and postal workers in NY-27 went to bed believing that their congressman voted against their very existence as essential workers. Today, hundreds of thousands of voters woke up to wonder whether their congressman was even able to do his job. Chris claims he was 'distracted' during the vote and was on his way to the airport before he realized he had 'pushed the wrong button.'

"How could he allow that to happen? Could he have been eager to get home before his big fundraiser Monday morning? The truth is that this negligence would never have happened on a vote important to his big-money donors.

"No matter his alleged intention, Chris Jacobs' actions have shown zero support for the USPS and zero ability to stand up to the President. Chris has been silent as Trump threatened our democracy, saying that no funding meant fewer mail-in ballots for November and a better chance for his reelection. He hasn't said a word about postmaster DeJoy stealing mailboxes and dismantling mail sorting machines here in Buffalo.

"I'm proud to be endorsed by the National Association of Letter Carriers, because they know I can't be distracted from the fight to protect our workers, unions, and democratic institutions. There is going to be another big vote in November, on inept politicians like Jacobs and Trump — I know there are many former Jacobs voters in NY-27 who are ready to change their vote, too."

We offered Chris Jacobs an opportunity to comment on his vote but did not get a response from his congressional office.

Here is a story from the Buffalo News about the vote, Jacobs' statement about casting the wrong vote, and his position on the bill.

"I don't know what happened," Jacobs said. Noting that he might have been distracted during the vote, he added: "I must've hit the wrong button."

Reed, who voted yes without incident, agreed with Jacobs' sentiments in favor of the bill, which also blocks President Trump's postmaster general from implementing changes that have delayed delivery and that could hamper mail-in voting in the November election.

"I believe a healthy, functioning post office is critical to our nation’s well-being,” said Reed, who recently sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to ask about the delays. “With more federal support and additional coordination with Postmaster General DeJoy, the issues delaying mail, medication and bill deliveries can be addressed immediately."

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: We received the following statement from Jacobs:

“I fully support the USPS and I had every intention of voting in favor of H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act. I made an unfortunate mistake and voted no instead of yes. I will ensure that the Congressional Record is corrected to reflect my support for this legislation. During these uncertain times it is critical that Western New Yorkers have faith in our fundamental public institutions and the United States Postal Service is certainly one of those. I supported and intended to vote for Saturday’s legislation to send a clear message that I will do whatever it takes to ensure a stable and reliable postal service. Saturday’s bill should’ve been included within a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package. 

I urge the Speaker to resume negotiations and I will be working tirelessly to get one passed with targeted aid for small businesses, farmers, workers and families.”

-Congressman Chris Jacobs

August 14, 2020 - 10:55am
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is releasing the following statement in response to the Peace Agreement announced today between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

“Today’s announcement of an agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates represents a major step toward stabilization of the Middle East and showcases American leadership on the international stage. President Trump has consistently worked toward combatting Iranian aggression in the region, and this agreement moves us closer to unifying more Middle Eastern countries against one of the largest threats to regional stability, major allies, and American troops.”

August 14, 2020 - 10:39am
posted by Press Release in Nate McMurray, news, NY-27, Beth Parlato.

Press release:

Democratic candidate Nate McMurray released the following statement as reports circulated that Wednesday, Aug. 12th, Conservative candidate Beth Parlato would vacate her ballot line in NY-27. Under significant pressure from GOP party bosses, Parlato is reportedly willing to accept a nomination for a State Supreme Court judgeship using an often abused loophole in New York election law.

“I do not agree with Beth on much, but I admire her strength and tenacity. The same party bosses that attacked her and pressured her to bow to Jacobs in the primary want a unified political machine because they’re nervous about Jacobs in November. She told them ‘No’ before, and I hope she’ll do it again.”

McMurray hopes that Parlato stays true to her principles regarding party corruption.

“I talked with Beth a few times, and she was as disgusted by these party insiders as I was. These are the same men who made excuses for Chris Lee, still defend Chris Collins, teamed up against David Bellavia, and traded their principles for Jacobs’ deep pockets — a guy who up until a couple of months ago didn’t have a conservative bone in his body.

"She knows Jacobs is a fake. She knows that his allegiance isn’t to conservative morals or Republican ideals, his only loyalty is to the pursuit of money and power. I hope today she won’t do what Jacobs has done so many times, changing herself and her positions on a dime for political expediency.”

The Batavian attempted to give Parlato a chance to respond. We sent an email to her campaign email address and the email bounced. We sent a direct message through Facebook to her campaign more than 24 hours ago and the message doesn't appear to have even been read. 

August 11, 2020 - 12:16pm
posted by Press Release in Nate McMurray, NY-27, news.

Press release:

The United States Postal Service, even before the current strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has endured years of attacks by President Trump. These attacks have ramped up as more states expand access to vote-by-mail in response to the still-raging pandemic.

Democratic candidate for Congress Nate McMurray is calling for NY-27 to be a national bellwether, for absentee and vote-by-mail systems to be quickly safeguarded, and for Trump’s attacks on America’s favorite Federal agency to be rebuked.

In his attacks on the Postal Service, Trump has continued to baselessly claim "fraud" regarding mail-in votes, but in addition to this smear campaign has fractured its inner foundations: withholding funding; appointing unqualified Republican donor Louis DeJoy to be postmaster general; and slowing delivery times, delaying delivery of medications, Social Security checks, and soon millions of votes in the November elections.

“The Postal Service is a vital, publicly held resource," said McMurray, who has twice been endorsed by the National Association of Letter Carriers. "The connection it provides, especially in rural areas, is more important than ever because of the pandemic.

"Mail-in votes, which have been around since the Civil War, are necessary to keep our nation safe as we prepare for this November election. The USPS is an institution that binds our country together, rain or shine, one stamp at a time. It predates the nation’s independence and is recognized by the Constitution.” 

In the NY-27 June Special Election, nearly half of all votes cast were cast by mail. After an unprecedented resurgence in the absentee count — capturing nearly 70 percent of all mail-in ballots — McMurray closed his election night gap to just 5.2 percent.

This result was nationally recognized as a harbinger for November, when the results of many elections, including the Presidential Election, are unlikely to be known on election night.

After a landmark ruling handed down last week in New York State to protect votes previously removed from official counts in the NY-12 primary, the McMurray campaign estimates that several hundred additional ballots will be counted in NY-27.

The ruling, in this case, argued by Arthur Schwartz, counsel to the McMurray campaign, ordered the NYS Board of Elections to direct all local boards to count all ballots received by June 24th, regardless of postmark, and all ballots received by June 25th with a timely postmark. 

“I applaud this ruling and continue this campaign’s fight to count every single vote. Even as Jacobs votes to gut healthcare protections for pre-existing conditions and continues to stand by Trump in Washington, more votes against him by the people of NY-27 continue to be counted,” McMurray added.

McMurray has previously called for New York State to take direct action to bolster the absentee voting process in November, including a simplified application, clearer ballot instructions, for ballots to be sent sooner, and for the realities of rural postal service to be recognized in setting postmark deadlines.

McMurray is now joining leaders across the country in calling for the Inspector General to investigate the recent actions of the Trump administration and Postmaster DeJoy, full funding of the USPS, and a legislative review of Bush-era law that has detrimentally constrained Post Service finances, growth, and innovation. 

McMurray concluded: “We know that the President himself votes by mail. We know that his attacks on mail-in voting are a sham, just partisan lies while he attempts to destabilize the electoral process and put party over country. Does Chris Jacobs stand with Trump on this as he does with the President on every other issue?

Extreme Republicans like Jacobs and Trump know that if every American has the chance to vote, they will lose. I will continue to defend our democracy, demand that every vote be counted now and in November, and defy any politician that calls for anything less.”

Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button