The 19th District race for the House of Representatives is one of the most hotly contested in the nation, drawing a lot of political action committee money and non-stop advertising.
John Faso, R-Kinderhook, is the freshman incumbent, having won the seat after the retirement of Rep. Chris Gibson, also R-Kinderhook, two years ago. He is a former minority leader of the New York State Assembly. Faso is challenged by Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, a lawyer with no previous political experience.
Our editorial board interviewed both candidates. We endorse Delgado.
We were impressed with Delgado’s commitment to the issues that affect working people — an economy that isn’t producing wage growth, an untenable situation for small farmers whose production costs outstrip their profits and that largest of issues today, health care.
Delgado emerged from a seven-way Democratic Party primary where he was considered to be on the centrist side of the field. He has not embraced Bernie Sanders-style single-payer health care, instead proposing a plan that allows people to buy into the Medicare system as another insurance option.
He’s a moderate Democrat who is a good fit for the region.
Faso, too, is a moderate. He has not embraced the extreme right wing of his party and pointed with pride to his ranking by the Luger Center as one of the most bipartisan members of the House. We were disturbed, however, by his tendency to support corporate interests over those of his constituents.
Faso refused to place any responsibility for high health care costs on the insurance companies and pharmaceutical giants who take massive profits from a system that most agree is broken. He also voted for the American Health Care Act, which would have displaced the Affordable Care Act and removed protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
Just as important, he would not rule out cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to close budget deficits that ballooned as a result of massive corporate tax cuts approved by the Republican majority. Funding tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations at the expense of vulnerable people is not a good thing. We need a new majority to stop that from happening.
We have also been disturbed by ads by Republican political action committees using thinly veiled racism to paint Delgado — a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar — as a dangerous gangster rapper. Delgado was, indeed, a hip-hop musician who used strong language in his commentary on social issues, but selective lyrics taken out of context have painted a false picture of that commentary.
We wish Delgado had a record of political achievement coming into this race, but we find his approach fresh and promising. We believe he deserves your vote.
The 19th District includes Otsego, Delaware and Schoharie counties.
In the 22nd Congressional District, of which Chenango County is a part, the choice is clear.
Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, is a state assemblyman with a record of achievement that includes some impressive examples of job growth. His efforts have gained him bipartisan support in that district.
He seems to be an appealing mix of progressive and pragmatist who would work to protect the interests of working-class people. He has pledged to work to close tax loopholes that blow up budgets and to work to end the influence of lobbyists and big political donors.
Despite ads to the contrary, he stated to The Daily Star editorial board that he would not support articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump — a sensible stance, though probably not popular with the left wing of his party.
The incumbent, freshman Republican Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, won the seat on her second try two years ago after an undistinguished career in the state Assembly. She has done nothing to distinguish herself since.
We encourage our Chenango County readers to support Anthony Brindisi.