A Conversation with Antonio Delgado | National | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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A Conversation with Antonio Delgado 

NY19's Congressman-Elect Talks about His Campaign and His Plans for Washington

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BKM: How do we do that? I've heard a lot of different workforce development proposals, but creating jobs on a mass scale is difficult. Industry is not coming back to the Hudson Valley. You know, so what are we trying to develop here?

AD: I would push back a little bit when you say industry is not coming back. I mean, you have to build things to make sure that it does come back. Yes, you might not get IBM back, we might not get GE back, but that whole model is in many respects moved on given globalization. The key is: How do you have opportunities for small business growth, entrepreneurship, and co-ops based on a robust infrastructure plan that creates immediate access to the market here locally and in New York City, where you have significant unmet demand, particularly for example in organic and locally grown food. We have thousands of farmers and farm operations in this district, and they are unfortunately hamstrung by the fact that they are lacking the infrastructure, regional infrastructure, to tap into those markets.

BKM: When you say "infrastructure," what do you mean specifically?

AD: Roads, rail, distribution plants, processing plants, broadband access. Quality cell service. How can you set up a business, how can you sell your goods and services in a manner that is fair relative to others who are across the country or even, you know, across the Northeast region, if you're lacking access to markets via your cell phone or via broadband access? One of the things that I really want to zero in on is rural broadband access. I really want to—this term, ideally—make sure that we can roll out some legislation that actually specifically addresses the lack of rural broadband all throughout this district. That is a chief priority of mine.

BKM: How would the legislation work? How do you compel broadband providers to create cost-ineffective infrastructure?

AD: There are pieces of legislation that I have not yet studied, but I'm aware that are out there that will be done to address this. And I want to make sure that my team looks at that and find ways to build off of that with other sponsors, individuals who've taken the lead on this across the country, and have a robust plan that we can present to the people, particularly people here at home.

BKM: The Green New Deal, what's your feeling on this? Are you going to be with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others and pushing this forward?

AD: I want to draw a distinction here, and I think, you know, it's funny how terms can take on a life on of their own, because the Green New Deal has been used many, many times before its current iteration. I mean, I used the Green New Deal at certain times over the course of the campaign well in advance of the way it's currently defined. So, we've got to be careful with our terms.

I'm for a larger, conceptual notion that we have to get to a place where we prioritize dealing with climate change in a robust and meaningful way. And that includes, as I talked about over the course of my campaign, a commitment to stop propping up fossil fuel industries and stop spending billions and billions of dollars in subsidies and tax credits when we don't need to, and to shift those tax credits and subsidies over into the renewable energy space. I think if we do that, we can actually incentivize more and more growth in wind, in solar, in geothermal. That is how you transition responsibly and effectively toward a robust green economy—it is a necessity at this point.

And we must be thoughtful of the impact of this transition on individuals who rely on paychecks in industries that might be left behind through this process. These are our fellow citizens who are raising their families with children, putting food on their table. What are the alternatives? What's not just the plan to create and incentivize investment and renewal energy? What's the robust plan to create skills training that actually pays in a manner that allows people to feel comfortable, or at least comfortably live through this transition, and not just be left behind and fall off a cliff by virtue of the transition.

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