SCHUMER COMPLETES TOUR OF ALL 62 NEW YORK COUNTIES FOR 17TH YEAR IN A ROW; ANNUAL TOUR OF STATE FINISHES WITH VISIT TO RENSSELAER COUNTY – YEAR CONCLUDES WITH A TOTAL OF 213 VISITS TO UPSTATE NY & LONG ISLAND; PLEDGES TO VISIT ALL 62 COUNTIES AGAIN IN 2016
Upon His Election to the Senate in 1998, Schumer Made A Pledge To Visit Every Single New York County Each Year – After 17 Years, The Tradition Continues
Schumer Calls Tour Essential To His Work In U.S. Capitol – Pledges To Complete Another 62-County Tour In 2016
Today, with his visit to the Central Fire Station in Troy, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer completed his 17th consecutive tour of all 62 New York State counties – a feat that continues his run as the first New York State public official to visit every single county in New York each year he has been in office. Schumer highlighted some of the year’s biggest accomplishments, including: successfully securing a posthumous Medal of Honor for Sgt. Henry Johnson in the Capital Region; bringing millions of dollars in transportation funds to Western New York that will allow the City of Buffalo to return cars to Main St.; keeping work flowing to Lockheed Martin in Salina by helping land a $4.5 billion missile defense deal; preserving hundreds of jobs between the Kraft-Heinz Avon, Walton and Lowville plants located in the Rochester-Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and North Country; incorporating West Point base projects in federal appropriations bills; preventing the U.S. Department of Housing and urban Development (HUD) from clawing back Sandy relief funds from those affected by the storm on Long Island and NYC, and much more.
Over the course of the year, Schumer made over 213 visits to Upstate New York and Long Island. He visited counties in the Capital Region 23 times; Western New York 16 times; Central New York 25 times; the Rochester Finger Lakes Region27 times; the Southern Tier 15 times; the Hudson Valley 38 times; the North Country 10 times; and Long Island 59 times.
“Crisscrossing the state, seeing old and new faces, meeting new people and hearing firsthand from New York families, business owners, students and professionals of all stripes, is one of the most important things that I do as a senator. When I first ran for the Senate, I made a promise that I would visit each county in my first year in office and I have continued it every year since because of how much I learn – and how much I enjoy doing it,” said Senator Schumer. “This tradition, now in its 17th year, makes me a better public servant because when I visit local communities, meet residents and have an opportunity to understand the key issues, it makes me more effective. I’m confident that next year will be a great year for New York, and I’m excited to kick off my 18th annual 62-county tour in January.”
Upon completion of this legislative session, Schumer’s office will issue its full report detailing his achievements from the past year.
Some of the highlights include:
After 97 years, Albany’s Sgt. Henry Johnson awarded the Medal of Honor
In June, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Henry Johnson 97 years after his brave acts in the Argonne Forest in World War I. It was the culmination of a decades-long fight that Schumer took up when he took office as Senator sixteen years ago. Schumer’s staff found previously uncovered key evidence, including eye witness reports and a communique written days after the battle by Gen. John Pershing that singled out Henry Johnson for his bravery, and which eventually convinced the Dept. of Defense to recommend – and the White House to ultimately approve – the Medal of Honor award.
Schumer convinces JetBlue to land at Albany Int’l Airport; Service will begin on December 10
For over 15 years, Schumer has pushed JetBlue to fly to Albany, as they already do in the other large Upstate cities. Year after year, the company responded that Albany was too close to their hub in New York City. But last year, Schumer and JetBlue announced that service between Albany and Florida would finally start in 2015, and the company credited Schumer’s dogged pursuit as key in their decision. Daily flights between Albany and Orlando and Albany and Ft. Lauderdale will begin on December 10.
In Schoharie County, FEMA agrees to relocate the Niagara Engine 6 Firehouse and pay for the relocation of the Schoharie Public Safety Building
Niagara Engine 6, a volunteer fire company in the Village of Schoharie, was severely flooded during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Floodwaters from the Schoharie Creek also reached the second floor of the county public safety building during the storm. This severely damaged the county jail. For many years, FEMA refused to pay the cost of relocating the firehouse to higher ground and was adamant that they would only pay to restore the Public Safety Building to its former state and harden it against future flooding. Schumer made numerous pleas to FEMA for both cases. Finally, this year, FEMA agreed to pay the full $6.4 million cost of relocating the firehouse out of the flood plain. Schumer also personally called Administrator Fugate and urged him to approve the framework plan for the Public Safety Building. Shortly after, Schoharie got the news that they had been waiting four and a half years for: the federal government will pay 75% (NYS will pay the remaining 25%) of the costs associated with moving the Public Safety Building out of the flood plain as well. The total project cost for the public safety building is estimated at $26 million.
Western New York
Secured $18 million to Return Cars to Lower Main St. in Buffalo
Schumer successfully fought to secure $18 million from the highly competitive federal TIGER grant program for the City of Buffalo. The funds, which will be used to make improvements to lower Main St., mark the second time Schumer has secured a TIGER grant for the project. The Cars Sharing Main St. Project, for which Schumer has now secured over $33 million, is breathing new life into downtown Buffalo and helping recreate a downtown business district.
After decades of work, Peace Bridge Pre-Inspection pilot program begins
Following extensive advocacy by Schumer, the Peace Bridge Pre-Inspection program was partially implemented. The program is meant to alleviate congestion at border crossings by “pre-clearing” commercial vehicles. Both Canadian and federal government officials agreed to the proposal, which was championed by Schumer and, when fully implemented, will help alleviate maddening border congestion, reduce pollution and preserve security. Schumer’s long history of advocacy on behalf the pre-clearance program was instrumental in its approval and pending implementation.
Schumer Kicks VA into Gear to Help Disabled Veteran Dale Dart
Schumer was instrumental in delivering much-needed ADA accessible home upgrades for veteran Dale Dart and other veterans like him. Mr. Dart received funding from the VA’s Specially Adapted Housing program for the upgrades, but the process of installing the upgrades was stalled due to excessive bureaucracy within the VA contracting system. After Schumer’s push, the VA agreed to investigate the cause of the delays and prioritize moving the project forward. The renovations to Mr. Dart’s home were completed in October, 2015.
Central New York
Kept work flowing to Lockheed Martin in Salina; Helped land $4.5 billion missile defense deal for CNY plant
Nearly two years after stopping a plan to chop away at Lockheed Martin's Syracuse operation, Schumer continued his efforts to keep the local plant bustling. In May, he successfully urged German officials to choose Salina-made MEADS, or the Medium Extended Air Defense System, as their country’s primary missile defense system. The selection provides a boost to Lockheed Martin and their workforce in Central New York, which develops the system. The $4.5 billion contract with Lockheed Martin is not only a boost to the CNY workforce but it's another win for the Salina plant, which has remain largely untouched since Schumer got wind of efforts to chop jobs.
Defended Syracuse residents against inaccurate federal flood insurance maps
Syracuse engineers who measured Onondaga Creek found errors in a proposed new Syracuse flood map that could have been costly for South Side homeowners. Engineers discovered that the creek is wider and could hold more water, which meant up to 150 properties were included in flood zones erroneously. This prompted Schumer to demand that the FEMA delay issuing the maps. As a result, FEMA agreed to remove the properties from the flood zone and its owners were not be required to buy federal flood insurance that costs between $250 and $1,200 per year.
After years of residents’ frustration, Verizon heeds Schumer’s call to tear down abandoned eyesore in Camillus
For over two decades, the telecommunications giant allowed a property of theirs to deteriorate in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Camillus. Residents and village officials frustrated with the state of the abandoned, unkempt property wrote and pleaded with Verizon for years to fix the situation. With their pleas ignored, they turned to Schumer who demanded Verizon take care of their property or sell it to another owner. Verizon leveled the building and is in the process of selling the property so it can be used to enhance the neighborhood.
Schumer has continued to watch Rome Labs and DFAS like a hawk when it comes to protecting Utica & Rome jobs; Schumer led the effort to preserve jobs at both
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) center in Rome employs more than 900 residents. Rome Labs employs more than 1,000. Schumer led the charge to get the U.S. Air Force to facilitate a swift transition of leadership at Rome Labs and recently visited the facility to reiterate his strong support for a fully funded operation that he sees as essential to the nation’s cutting-edge communications and cyber-defense efforts. Schumer explained that, since 1997, it has been the USAF’s “Superlab” and is considered the nation’s premier research organization for Command, Control, Communications, Cyber and Intelligence (C4I) technologies. The lab focuses on developing information technology for air, space and ground systems, in addition to partnering with other federal agencies, universities and other state and local governments. Schumer also led the charge to fend off any proposed cuts to DFAS and made numerous calls to military leaders to reaffirm his support for DFAS operations in Utica-Rome. Schumer met with the Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) regarding DFAS and renewed his push to keep DFAS open in the future.
Rochester Finger Lakes
Following Multi-year Schumer Push, U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) selected Rochester for new National Photonics Center
Schumer played an integral role in bringing the AIM Photonics Center to Rochester over the past several years beginning in March 2013, when he stood with the Presidents of both UR and RIT to announce legislation to create a national network of manufacturing innovation centers and how Rochester could compete for a photonics manufacturing center. In October 2014, he launched an effort to bring the center with the support of the Rochester consortium leading the proposal. In January 2015, Schumer announced that, following his push, the DOD had selected the joint New York application as one of the finalists. In April, Schumer pushed the DOD to select the New York-led application so that it could begin to leverage its regional assets and create this state-of-the-art manufacturing hub, based in Rochester.
After decades of decline, Schumer secures EPA approval for $9.5M to restore Braddock Bay in Town of Greece
Schumer announced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally agreed to provide $9.5 million in federal funding to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to construct the Braddock Bay Restoration plan. In recent years, Braddock Bay’s barrier beach has been largely washed away and left open to Lake Ontario. Without this much-needed barrier, the Bay has lost an estimated 100 acres of wetlands and sand pushed in from the lake has made it too shallow for most boaters. With a more than 90 percent drop in activity since 2005, the local marina has been dealt a significant blow to its revenue stream and Bay-area property values have been threatened. Schumer previously secured $575,000 in federal funds to initiate the final design phase of the Braddock Bay restoration project and pushed the EPA to greenlight its construction.
Working With Governor Cuomo, Schumer saved Kraft-Heinz Avon plant from hundreds of job cuts
Schumer and Governor Cuomo announced that an agreement had been reached to save at-risk Kraft-Heinz facilities, which employ nearly 1,000 workers throughout Upstate New York. The agreement will ensure that Kraft-Heinz preserves a significant employment base throughout New York State for years to come and paves the way for additional investment and growth at a number of Kraft-Heinz facilities. Under the agreement, Kraft-Heinz will continue operating the Avon plant in Livingston County, as well as the Walton and Lowville plants. Additionally, Kraft-Heinz will defer its planned closure of the Campbell plant for a period of 12-24 months, during which time the company will work with state, federal and local officials in an effort to identify a new operator who would retain the plant’s existing employment. The State and company are also committing to each invest at least $20 million to support and modernize Kraft-Heinz’s Upstate operations.
Bringing Good-Paying Jobs to the Southern Tier at the Alstom Facility in Hornell
In September, Schumer visited the Alstom Transport facility in Hornell to announce that after a year and a half of consideration, Amtrak’s Board of Directors would confirm Alstom as their selected partner to build their next fleet of Acela Trains in Hornell. This $2.5B contract, slated to receive final approval in December, will result in 400 new hires at Alstom in Hornell and an additional 350 jobs throughout the Southern Tier at varies subcontractors. Schumer has a long been an advocate for rail transportation and has met often with Alstom executives over the course of the procurement process and pushed the Department of Transportation to support Amtrak’s procurement process.
Securing a New, Safe Fire Department for Glen Aubrey
Numerous floods had repeatedly damaged the Glen Aubrey Fire Department’s facility. The damage from the most recent flooding was so severe that it became clear the facility needed to be relocated outside of a flood zone to prevent future damage. FEMA denied the Department’s request for funding to relocate, and its appeal had been languishing in red tape ever since. Schumer went to bat for the Department and urged FEMA Administrator Fugate to help and the Department won approval to relocate.
Working With Governor Cuomo, Schumer saved Kraft-Heinz Walton plant from hundreds of job cuts
Schumer and Governor Cuomo announced that an agreement had been reached to save at-risk Kraft-Heinz facilities, which employ nearly 1,000 workers throughout Upstate New York. The agreement will ensure that Kraft-Heinz preserves a significant employment base throughout New York State for years to come and paves the way for additional investment and growth at a number of Kraft-Heinz facilities. Under the agreement, Kraft-Heinz will continue operating the Walton plant in Delaware County, as well as the Avon and Lowville plants. Additionally, Kraft-Heinz will defer its planned closure of the Campbell plant for a period of 12-24 months, during which time the company will work with state, federal and local officials in an effort to identify a new operator who would retain the plant’s existing employment. The State and company are also committing to each invest at least $20 million to support and modernize Kraft-Heinz’s Upstate operations.
Schumer secures millions in Appropriations for West Point projects
Schumer announced that funding of $70 million to replace the waste water treatment plant at West Point and $55 million for a new elementary school at West Point were included in the Senate-passed Appropriations bill.
Schumer secures Northern Westchester Hospital $5.4 million in federal funding for critical electrical system improvements
Schumer, along with Senator Gillibrand and Congresswoman Lowey secured $5.4 million in federal funding for Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) from FEMA to make critical electrical system improvements. During Superstorm Sandy, NWH lost power for 70 hours due to its 45-year-old electrical infrastructure. These funds will enable the hospital to strengthen and increase the reliability of its emergency electrical system to prevent a similar extended loss of power.
Schumer secures much-needed first responder funding; Federal dollars will allow City of Poughkeepsie to hire and train five new police officers and seven new firefighters
In June, Schumer announced approximately $625,000 in federal funding for the City of Poughkeepsie to hire five new police officers. Despite rising crime rates, the City of Poughkeepsie’s police force has declined in recent years to just under 96 sworn officers. This year, Schumer also secured nearly $1 million in federal funds for the City of Poughkeepsie to hire seven new firefighters. The City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department supports a community for 33,000 located in Dutchess County, and responds to over 5,000 calls per year. This funding -- provided by the Department of Justice's COPS Hiring Program (CHP) and FEMA's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency (SAFER) program -- will help alleviate the current threat of understaffed teams of first responders that the City of Poughkeepsie faces.
As Kraft-Heinz planned to slim its NY operations, Schumer and Governor Cuomo fought to bring millions in investment and 110 additional jobs to their Lowville facility
After the newly formed Kraft-Heinz company announced it would curtail NY operations, Schumer worked closely with Governor Cuomo to convince Kraft Heinz leadership to preserve much of its NY operations. Schumer left no stone unturned - calling Warren Buffet, prominent Wall Street investors and Kraft Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees. In the end, Schumer helped craft a deal that brought millions of dollars in investment and over 100 jobs to Lowville, which is in addition to saving the already 350-plus jobs at the facility.
When Alcoa announced it would reduce its workforce in Massena, Schumer and Governor Cuomo intervened to save 380 jobs
Alcoa announced in early November that it would shutter its smelting operations in Massena, reducing its 700 plus workforce to just 220 employees. Schumer and Governor Cuomo put a package together to entice Alcoa to maintain a strong presence in Massena. Schumer worked tirelessly to convince Alcoa to take the deal offered by NYS, which they ultimately did. Alcoa will maintain a workforce level of roughly 600 people at the plant, 380 jobs over the planned layoffs.
As the Army reduced its force by 40,000 troops nationwide, Schumer fought to protect Fort Drum from deep cuts
The North Country breathed a huge sigh of relief when the U.S. Army announced it will only reduce the force at Fort Drum by less than 100 soldiers, sparing the 10th Mountain Division from deep cuts as the Army shrinks its ranks nationwide. Schumer directly lobbied Army brass, from Army Secretary John McHugh to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, making the case that Fort Drum is not only essential to the nation’s military, but an integral part of the North Country’s economy and way of life. Many feared the possibility of a larger force reduction by 1,500 to 2,000 soldiers.
Keeping Sandy Recovery & Storm Victims On The Front Burner:
- Schumer prevented HUD from clawing back Sandy-victim funds
Nearly 65 percent of homeowners were underpaid by an average of about $16,000; approximately 75 percent of those cases were for claims under $20,000. Despite this, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was set on clawing back the funds distributed to Sandy victims if the homeowner concurrently received a private insurance payout. By doing so, HUD would leave hundreds of homeowners underpaid, and struggling to rebuild. Schumer urged HUD to abandon the duplicate relief policy. After Schumer’s push, HUD waived the policy altogether--an unprecedented decision-- and allowed Sandy victims to keep any disbursement under $20,000, even if they received an insurance payout for a similar claim. By helping to create this two-pronged policy, Schumer has eased the burden of Sandy victims and helped rebuild and restore New York homes.
- Extended the Sandy Claims Review Process, so more Sandy-victims could gain access to benefits they may have feared to pursue
The Superstorm Sandy Claims review process was set to end on September 15, 2015. This unfair deadline approached to the detriment of Superstorm Sandy victims still trying to rebuild. Schumer called upon the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to extend the review process deadline and continue granting benefits to the victims of the storm. Following his advocacy, FEMA announced an extension of the filing deadline into mid-October, helping Sandy victims who deserved federal resources, rebuild and restore their lives.
Secured $1M in DOT Funding to keep Project Independence rolling for countless seniors
Funding for Project Independence, a program providing seniors with transportation to vital services, was set to expire, endangering the health and independence of our seniors. Schumer, however, pressured the Department of Transportation (DOT) to renew its funding for the project. His push ensured that 54,000 seniors, a quarter of the population in the Town of North Hempstead, eligible for the program can continue to rely on program for trips to doctors’ offices, grocery stores, community centers and nursing stations. This program is essential to help seniors “age in place.” Without Schumer’s push, the DOT funds for the program would have ended leaving thousands of seniors without reliable, safe transportation and several other critical program. Thankfully Schumer was able to extend the funding for three years helping seniors retain their independence while getting the care they deserve.
Restored Luster to Long Beach; Teamed-up with Billy Crystal & Secured federal dollars to replace thousands of trees destroyed during Sandy
Superstorm Sandy of 2012 uprooted and destroyed thousands of trees across Long Beach leaving the island vulnerable. These trees were a vital part of the city’s flood mitigation and erosion protection plan, and without them, Long Beach’s landscape and infrastructure were at risk. Schumer and Actor Billy Crystal urged FEMA and HUD to collaborate and grant the necessary funds for the replacement of the trees. As a result of Schumer’s push, FEMA granted the funds necessary to remove the trees and stumps, and HUD granted $1.3 million to replace the trees. Schumer’s push ensures that Long Beach will return to its full beauty and its infrastructure will stay rooted in place for years to come.