(NEXSTAR) — Members of Congress from Upstate New York spoke on the issues affecting their regions during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Several regions of New York have moved into the first phase of reopening the state.
The following seven representatives participated in a COVID-19 Congressional Town Hall moderated by Tim Lake at the end of April. Tuesday, they continued the conversation with a second event that explored the challenges surrounding the novel coronavirus and answered viewer questions.
- (D-NY-22nd District)
- His district includes Chenango, Cortland, Madison, and Oneida Counties. His district also includes parts of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego, and Tioga Counties.
- (D-NY-26th District)
- His district includes parts of Erie and Niagara Counties, including the City of Buffalo.
- (R-NY-24th District)
- His district includes all of Cayuga, Onondaga, and Wayne Counties and part of Oswego County.
- (D-NY-25th District)
- His district is located exclusively in Monroe County and is mostly comprised of the City of Rochester.
- (R-NY-23rd District)
- His district covers all of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tompkins, and Yates Counties. It also includes parts of Ontario and Tioga Counties.
- (R-NY-21st District)
- Her district covers the North Country which includes all or parts of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington Counties.
- (D-NY-20th District)
- His district covers all of Albany and Schenectady Counties as well as parts of Saratoga, Rennselaer, and Montgomery Counties.
In Tuesday’s town hall, the congressional representatives tackled issues with the federal government’s coronavirus response.
While all seven voted Yes on previous relief packages, there were party line splits when it came to this week’s vote on the HEROES Act, the $3 trillion relief aid package, which includes billions in aid for state governments.
Democrat Paul Tonko voted Yes while Republican Elise Stefanik voted No.
“I voted no; I was very concerned — a bill as important as this one — there was little or no outreach to Republicans,” Stefanik said. “Biggest difference [as to why I voted no] is there was no bipartisan negotiation, and I was concerned about the process and the substance.”
“I voted for it because we’re in the middle of a crisis,” Tonko said. “Many communities are hurting and looking at budget cuts that could mean critical layoffs of firefighters and nurses. Real danger of not having enough front line workers. This bill responds with intelligence and heart. Let’s not shut down the process.”
New York has been hardest hit among states with nursing homes, especially, seeing the worst. Some representatives, including Stefanik, want to know why.
“I have been concerned with the way New York State has mismanaged nursing homes,” she said. “If you look back to March, the executive action the Governor took to send people back to nursing homes when we had the Javits Center.”
All the representatives said they need to work in a bipartisan manner to both continue relief bills at the federal level and work in coordination across the state to keep their regions moving forward in the phased reopening.