FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 28, 2005
Schumer Completes Annual 62-County Tour Throughout New York For Seventh Year In A Row
Despite Growing National Responsibilities, Schumer Maintains Relentless Schedule Throughout New York
As Candidate for U.S. Senate, Schumer Pledged To Visit Every County In His First Year As Senator, But Has Done So Every Year He Has Been In Office
Even After Winning Re-Election by Record Amount in 2004, Schumer Still Completes 62 County Tour This Year
With a visit to Columbia County today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer completes his 62 County tour of New York for the seventh year in a row – a feat that makes him the first Senator to visit every single county for every year he has been in office. Schumer's 2005 tour of New York included 14 trips to Albany; 16 to Erie; 12 to Monroe; 20 to Nassau; 13 to Onondaga; 16 to Suffolk; and 10 to Westchester. He also made multiple trips to Broome, Chemung, Cortland, Dutchess, Jefferson, Niagara, Oneida, Orange, Richmond, Rockland, and Ulster Counties.
"If there's one thing that's been clear to me since I became Senator, it's that being effective means hitting the road and meeting with people around the state," Schumer said. "Talking face-to-face with local officials or visiting a factory or a farm and getting a firsthand account of what New Yorkers need is the best way I know how to serve. These visits make me much more effective when I try to get a company to invest in an area or fight for an appropriation in Congress."
Despite an increasingly prominent role on the national stage, Schumer has continued maintaining his accessibility and vigorous work on behalf of New Yorkers throughout the state. In January, for example, Schumer visited Rochester, near the site of a 2001 a CSX train crash derailing 23 cars, three of which spilled toxic chemicals into the Genesee River. In response to this and other recent fatal accidents, Schumer introduced the Rail Crossing and Hazardous Materials Transport Act of 2005 which sets tougher minimum and maximum fines for railroad companies for fatal accidents and establishes new requirements for investigations, inspections and the use of new safety technology. The legislation aims to crack down on negligent railroad companies and requires the broader use of modern technology to protect the public from more fatal crossing and hazardous materials accidents.
Schumer visited Syracuse University in March for the formal opening of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs. Schumer secured a $10 million endowment for the new state-of-the-art global affairs institute in the past two appropriations cycles. As one of Schumer’s top priorities, the institute will attract some of the world’s top academics and could be a stimulus to help attract people to the region.
In June, Schumer visited SuperPower in Albany to announce their Cryogenic Refrigeration System and Superconducting Wire Technology had significant passed tests, proving they will work to improve efficiency. Schumer had fought for Department of Energy funding for High Temperature Superconductivity Research to support Superpower. In January, Schumer successfully pressed Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Garman, to look within the Department of Energy budget for ways to restore the development of HTS research. He also supported the inclusion of funds in the Defense Appropriations Bill to support Superpower’s research.
Later in the summer, Schumer attended the groundbreaking for the “Port of Excellence” at the Champlain/ LaColle crossing in Clinton County, designed to alleviate chronic delays and facilitate additional cross-border commerce. After Schumer visiting the border crossing in 2000, he helped secure $90 million in federal funding to date for the project.
This fall, Schumer met with Orange County farmers in Pine Island where he learned from sod and turf farmers that this year’s April and October floods had severely damaged their crops, and that chronic flooding threatens their viability. Schumer pledged to help secure a visit from the Army Corps of Engineers to inspect the damage and offer suggestions on flood mitigation. Within days of his visit, senior Army Corps of Engineers officials from the New York Regional Office and a Schumer staff member toured affected farms in the Town of Warwick (Orange County), met with local officials and farmers, and surveyed the problem areas.
Schumer also announced this year that he secured a measure that would allocate $45 million in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill for the next generation of homeland screening technology, a move that means SureScan of Endicott will be one of a few companies able to compete for this money once they are certified by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Schumer first brought the TSA to meet with SureScan in 2003.
Schumer traveled to Long Island to share his survey of previously undisclosed MTBE leaks that posed a grave danger to the region’s water supply. Schumer fought hard to remove a proposal that would have given makers of the MTBE gasoline additive liability protection against environmental lawsuits. In a subsequent trip to the north shore of Suffolk County, Schumer responded to the concerns of a majority of Long Islanders when he became the first federal official to join their opposition to the ill-advised Broadwater liquefied natural gas plant to be located in the Long Island Sound.
Throughout the year, Schumer, who has been lobbying since 2002 for a waterfront corporation to tackle the redevelopment of Buffalo's Inner and Outer Harbors, successfully urged the Empire State Development Corp set up the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. for that purpose. In addition, Schumer secured $8 million for the Southtowns Connector project in the Transportation Reauthorization bill. Schumer also played a leading role in bringing the New York Power Authority and the Western New York delegation together to push for a better deal for Erie County. As a result, the Waterfront Commission was brought into negotiations and in the final relicensing settlement, Greenway Commission will receive $2 million a year for 50 yrs, and the Waterfront Commission $3.5 million a year for 50 yrs.