Weekly Update: Getting the North Country Safely Back to Work; Grant Funding for Housing Programs and North Country Students; Protecting Election Security

August 7, 2020
E-newsletter

Weekly Update

For the most up-to-date resources and information on COVID-19, visit my website here.

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ImageVisiting Jefferson/Lewis BOCES Construction Site 

On Wednesday, I visited the Jefferson/Lewis BOCES Bohlen Technical Center in Watertown, where I toured of the facility and discussed trades, career and technical education, and getting the North Country safely back to work. 

Visiting Ralph’s Tailor Shop in Gloversville

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Today, I visited Ralph’s Tailor Shop in Gloversville, a great small business that has been a staple of the community for many years. I had a productive tour and a great discussion about my work on behalf of our North Country small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis. 

Statement on Trump Administration Reinstating Tariffs on Imports of Non-alloyed Aluminum from Canada

I oppose the Trump Administration’s decision to reinstate the 10% tariffs on imports of non-alloyed aluminum from Canada. The United States and Canada have a strong economic partnership and trading relationship. This decision will slow the rate of our economic recovery from COVID-19, particularly for the manufacturers along the Northern Border in the North Country. Instead, our focus must be on working with our allies to address China’s overcapacity and the subsidized aluminum they continue to dump on the world market. I urge the Administration to reverse this reinstatement so we can focus on restoring our economy while holding unfriendly nations – like China – accountable. Read more here.

Holding NY-21 Working Group Calls

This week, I held a series of successful working group phone calls with our college Presidents, K-12 school superintendents, BOCES leaders, small businesses, manufacturers, local elected officials, and community leaders to hear their concerns and strategies for reopening the North Country safely. It is very important for me to stay in contact with stakeholders like these in order to ensure I am meeting their needs and advocating for them effectively at the federal level. I will continue to hold these working group calls next week.

Announcing Over $11 Million in USDA Rural Development Grants For Two North Country Towns

This week, I announced over $11 million in USDA Rural Development funding for the North Country through USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The Town of Cape Vincent will receive over $7 million and the Town of Massena will receive over $4 million in funding. USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This funding will help these communities improve water quality, increase well access, and finance water main improvements. These projects are absolutely crucial to ensuring that residents have access to safe, clean, and abundant water. I am committed to delivering tangible results to our North Country communities, and I look forward to witnessing the positive impact this funding has on these areas. Read more here.

Announcing over $2 Million in Department of Education Funding for North Country Colleges

This week, I announced over $2 million in U.S. Department of Education Student Support Services Program grants will be awarded to the following North Country colleges:

  • $612,373 for SUNY Plattsburgh
  • $536,993 for Fulton Montgomery Community College
  • $309,458 for SUNY Canton
  • $280,021 for Jefferson Community College
  • $281,019 for Paul Smith’s College
  • $332,515 for SUNY Potsdam
  • $317,461 for Clarkson University
  • $261,888 for Adirondack Community College

The Student Support Services Program, one of the federal TRIO programs, is designed to increase college persistence and completion for low-income and first-generation college students. These funds awarded to institutions of higher education will support opportunities for academic enrichment, career counseling, and supplemental financial assistance for program participants. I have stayed in close contact with our North Country colleges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are in critical need of funding to support students, faculty, and staff as they safely return to campus this Fall. These TRIO awards will help our higher education institutions as they work to ensure low-income and first generation college students remain on track to graduate amidst the many challenges created by the pandemic. Significantly more funding is needed, and I will continue to advocate for direct federal funding for our North Country colleges and students in order to help them recover from the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

Announcing Over $200,000 in HUD CARES Act Funding For the North Country

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has announced over $200,000 in Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) administrative support CARES Act funding to be awarded to several North Country housing authorities as follows:

  • $34,143 for the Gloversville Housing Authority
  • $31,880 for the Plattsburgh Housing Authority
  • $157,154 for the Glens Falls Housing Authority
  • $17,973 for the Harrietstown Housing Authority
  • $2,306 for the Dolgeville Housing Authority
  • $5,684 for the Town of Wilton

I am proud to announce this significant funding for six North Country towns. This funding will help our communities respond to constituent needs and will support the Housing Choice Voucher program that has proven successful in the past. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our communities are facing significant need when it comes to public housing programs. I look forward to witnessing the positive impact this funding will have on our North Country communities and families, and I will continue to advocate for these important programs. Read more here.

Cosponsoring the Emergency Assistance for Safe Elections Act

I am a cosponsor of the Emergency Assistance for Safe Elections (EASE) Act, legislation that helps states ensure those who want to vote in person can do so safely. It provides $400 million in funding for state and local election administrators, for a variety of election purposes including:

  • $200 million to help local election administrators ensure polling places are clean and safe for voters. Funds could be used for disinfecting equipment for voting machines, personal protective equipment (PPE) for poll workers, etc.
  • $100 million to help recruit a new generation of poll workers by establishing a program to help pay part of the student loan costs of people who serve as poll workers. 
  • $100 million to help clean outdated voter rolls and maintain accurate voter registration lists.
  • Updates to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which established voluntary guidelines for voting machines, to secure non-voting technology.
  • Banning of ballot harvesting, where political operatives go door-to-door collecting ballots.

States are facing an unprecedented challenge in keeping this year’s elections safe and secure for all voters and volunteers, while implementing the proper protocols to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. This important legislation will provide our local election administrators with the resources they need to keep polling places clean, provide the proper PPE to volunteers, and make sure that voters can either safely vote in person or opt to submit a mail-in ballot. This bill will ensure the mail-in voting process is more secure and help our states as they navigate this challenge. I will continue to support legislation and initiatives to protect our elections and ensure that North Country voters are able to participate safely and securely. Read more here.


Encouraging Census Participation

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Important Census Update: The Census Bureau will begin emailing households in low-responding areas to encourage them to respond to the 2020 Census. Millions of emails will be sent this week and then grow in numbers and continue into September. These emails supplement a final campaign reminding people to respond to the 2020 Census on their own, as census takers begin asking households to respond to the census. The email messages will come from 2020census@subscriptions.census.gov. Read more here.

If you have not already, be sure to fill out your 2020 Census. The census determines how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into our communities, including NY-21, which will directly fund our police departments, firefighters, schools and more. In mid-April, the Census Bureau began mailing the paper questionnaire to homes that have not yet responded online or by phone. If you receive mail through a P.O. Box, the Census Bureau will not be able to send you a response form, as they require your physical address to count you at the place where you live. Only a complete street address will help the Bureau accurately count you in the right place. If you cannot receive mail at your home, a Census Bureau worker may deliver a questionnaire, leave information about responding, or interview you. You can complete the census online at my2020census.gov. You can also call the Census Bureau at (844)-330-2020. The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to keep all of your reported information confidential. Visit my website here for more information.

Cosponsoring the Local Journalism Sustainability Act

I am a cosponsor of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, legislation that proposes a series of tax credits aimed at bolstering local newspapers and media in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local newspapers were facing challenges before the COVID-19 pandemic, and now their challenges are especially unique. The bill is supported by the News Media Alliance, National Newspaper Association, and many other groups. Our local news outlets are so important to the North Country, especially in our more rural or isolated areas. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our news outlets, newspapers, and TV and radio stations have gone above and beyond to deliver up-to-date information to our North Country residents in a timely fashion. I am proud to be cosponsoring this bill to support readers, advertisers, and publishers and keep local news media sustained. I look forward to advancing this legislation along with my House colleagues and supporting initiatives like this to keep local journalism thriving. Read more here.

ICYMI: Ranked As Third Most Bipartisan Younger Member in the House

In case you missed it, The Fulcrum released a report from the Millennial Action Project ranking the top 5 most and least bipartisan younger Members of the House of Representatives. I was ranked as the number three most bipartisan. Additionally, the Lugar Center ranked me in the top 5% most bipartisan Members of the entire House. 

Younger members with the highest bipartisanship scores:

1. Democrat Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey
2. Republican Lee Zeldin of New York
3. Republican Elise Stefanik of New York
4. Democrat Joe Cunningham of South Carolina
5. Democrat Abigail Spanberger of Virginia
 
Younger members with the lowest bipartisanship scores:

73. Democrat Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts
72. Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
71. Democrat Ilhan Omar of Minnesota
70. Republican Michael Cloud of Texas
69. Democrat Rashida Tlaib of Michigan

Read more here.

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