FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 19, 2006
Schumer Completes 62 County Tour For Record Eighth Year In A Row With Visit To The 42nd Rainbow Division Of The Ny National Guard
After Spearheading Historic Nationwide Electoral Victory and Despite Growing National Responsibilities, Schumer Continues to Follow Through on Original Pledge to Visit Every NY County Every Year
Schumer to Outline Accomplishments from Last Year Including Extending the College Tuition Tax Credit, Delivering Federal Aid to Flood Ravaged Areas, Bringing JetBlue to Stewart Airport, and Rest
With New leadership Role as 3rd Highest Ranking Democrat, Senator Announces He Will Complete Tour Next Year with Albany as the First Stop January 1
With his visit to the historic 42nd Rainbow Division of the New York National Guard in Rensselaer County today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer completes his 62 County tour of New York for the eighth year in a row – a feat that makes him the first Senator to visit every single county in New York every year he has been in office. Schumer will discuss this year’s tour, his accomplishments, his plans for next year’s tour and his new role in the Senate. Schumer's 2006 tour of New York included 12 trips to Albany; 17 to Erie; 12 to Monroe; 13 to Onondaga; and 12 to Westchester. He also made multiple trips to Chautauqua, Cortland, Dutchess, Jefferson, Livingston, Niagara, Oneida, Orange, Richmond, Rockland, and Ulster Counties.
“This was a busy year, but by far my most important and enjoyable accomplishment is visiting every county in New York yet again,” Schumer said. “What I am able to achieve in Washington is directly related to my county visits. Meeting the people and seeing firsthand what they're going through is a vital part of how I go about working to solve problems in their communities. With our new clout and power in Washington, I’m already looking forward to next year’s tour.”
In addition to significant legislative and political accomplishments in 2006, Schumer has also delivered for the people of New York, with many of his accomplishments and efforts the direct result of visits to New York communities, upstate and down, large and small.
In February, with educational, business, and government leaders all citing a decline in math and science proficiency, Schumer visited Rochester and called for the creation of a national math and science center of excellence in Rochester. The goal of the center is to recruit, train and retain outstanding math and science educators, encourage more young people to study math and science, and collaborate with local employers seeking personnel with extensive math or science training. Schumer is fighting for federal funding for the center, now based at Nazareth College.
Over the last several months and after an April meeting with Ralph Wilson in Buffalo, Schumer has actively advocated for the Buffalo Bills to the NFL leadership. Schumer worked closely with Commissioner Tagliabue and is now working with Commissioner Goodell to communicate the small market team’s point of view throughout negotiations around the Collective Bargaining Agreement to ensure that measures are put in place that protect the health of small market teams. Earlier this year, Schumer lobbied outgoing NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to ensure the league’s Qualifier Committee includes representatives from small market franchises. On April 21, after a meeting organized by Schumer with Tagliabue and Buffalo native Tim Russert, Tagliabue announced that Bills owner Ralph Wilson would serve on the eight-team committee that is now determining how league revenues will be split.
On April 12 in Gloversville, NY, Schumer kicked off his statewide grass-roots campaign to restore funding cuts made to the federal FIRE grant program. At Schumer's urging, fire departments across New York have taken advantage of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, and used funds for hiring additional firefighting personnel; specialized emergency response training; the creation of wellness and fitness programs for firefighters; equipment and facility upgrades; new fire trucks; and fire prevention programs. Schumer led the fight to fund the FIRE grant program at $547 million, far exceeding the $293 million proposed by the Administration. Because of its dramatic success in improving fire safety, Congress has raised the amount of money authorized for the program from $100 million for FY2001 to $950 million in FY 2006 and $1 billion in FY 2007.
This June, Schumer immediately visited the devastated counties and promised to deliver as much aid as humanly possible to help families and businesses recover. In the months after the flooding, Schumer successfully prodded state and federal government to expedite disaster declarations and ensure outlying counties were included in relief packages. In July, after extensive lobbying by Schumer, FEMA announced it was sending temporary living trailers to areas damaged by the flooding. Schumer sent a personal letter David Paulison, head of FEMA asking him to move the trailers to New York swiftly. The counties FEMA approved to receive the trailers were Broome, Delaware, Chenango, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Orange, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, and Ulster.
Schumer, who stood with fisherman during a July event, worked closely with the recreational and commercial fishing community to build leniency into the fishing quotas. In December, the Senate approved a new deadline to restore the fluke. The deadline, pushed back to 2013, had originally been 2010, placing an enormous burden on the fishing economy and the overly stringent rules were decimating fishing businesses, commercial fishing and recreational fishing which are the lifeblood of Long Island in the summer. The passage of the legislation means the National Marine Fisheries Service now has the ability to rework the quota for the coming summers.
On October 25, Schumer, joined by JetBlue CEO David Neeleman during a visit to the airport, announced that the airline would start new low-fare service from the Hudson Valley airport. The new service will provide two daily roundtrips to Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, and one daily roundtrip to West Palm Beach. Since Schumer was first elected to the Senate in 1998, he has worked hard to improve low-cost air service from Stewart and all of upstate New York. In 2001, Schumer first introduced JetBlue to Stewart, and since then has pushed Neeleman to locate JetBlue’s cheap fares and first-rate service at Stewart. Since first being elected to the Senate, Schumer has visited the airport more than half a dozen times to advocate for increased service and improved access to the airport.
During a November visit to Fort Drum, Schumer announced a commitment from Freddie Mac to buy up to $100 million of loans originated by HSBC. In addition, they designed initiatives to provide families with the information they need to learn about the homeownership process, better manage their finances, and provided mortgage products for individuals with limited credit or down payment savings. Earlier in October, Schumer visited the area and made a similar announcement with Fannie Mae. Schumer secured a series of financial, service and product commitments from Fannie Mae for soldiers, their families and the community of Fort Drum.
In December, the Senate passed a two-year extension of the Schumer authored College Tuition Tax Deduction, which saves middle class families across the country thousands of dollars every year by allowing them to deduct up to $4,000 in college tuition expenses from their taxes. On an October conference call with reporters and during visits to colleges in Buffalo and Rochester, Schumer said that the credit was needed now more than ever as the cost of going to college in upstate New York was up more than 35 percent since 2001.