SCHUMER COMPLETES UNPRECEDENTED TOUR OF ALL 62 NEW YORK COUNTIES FOR 18TH YEAR IN A ROW; ANNUAL TOUR OF STATE FINISHES WITH VISIT TO COLUMBIA COUNTY – YEAR CONCLUDES WITH A TOTAL OF 189 VISITS TO UPSTATE NY & LONG ISLAND; PLEDGES TO VISIT ALL 62 COUNTIES AGAIN IN 2017
Upon His Election to the Senate in 1998, Schumer Made A Pledge To Visit Every Single New York County Each Year – After 18 Years, The Tradition Continues
Schumer Calls Tour Essential To His Work In U.S. Capitol – Pledges To Complete Another 62-County Tour In 2017
Schumer Sticks A Pin In All 62 Counties For 18thYear In A Row
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today completed his 18th 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.
Over the course of the year, Schumer made over 189 visits to Upstate New York and Long Island. He visited counties in the Capital Region 23 times; Western New York 19 times; Central New York 22 times; the Rochester Finger Lakes Region 26 times; the Southern Tier 15 times; the Hudson Valley 27 times; the North Country 10 times; and Long Island 47 times.
“When I first ran for the Senate, I made a promise that I would visit all 62 counties in my first year in office and I have continued this tradition every single year because of how much I learn – and how much I enjoy doing it,” said Senator Schumer. “I’ve always said, ‘Senators who stay in Washington and never return home are simply not doing their job.’ That’s why I go to the street fairs, the parades and all kinds of public events. Whether I’m in Hamilton County or Wyoming County, I’m always mixing and mingling with my constituents.”
Schumer continued, “This tradition, now in its 18th 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. In visit after visit after visit, every pin I place on the map of New York busts the DC bubble that can trap a politician in Washington and leave them out of touch with those who hired them. Well, I LOVE New York, and in my new leadership position I promise that I will keep up the visits and continue to work just as hard for the people of this state as I ever have. I’m confident that next year will be a great year for New York, and I’m excited to kick off my 19th 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:
Secured $18 Million TIGER Grant for the Port of Albany/Rensselaer: After an appeal to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx, Schumer was able to secure a pivotal grant that will allow the Port of Albany to reconstruct the Marine Terminal with a new warehouse, roadway and lifting equipment that with help ensure that international companies like General Electric and Siemens can continue to export their large scale products from the Port of Albany, protecting manufacturing jobs at those New York factories and creating additional jobs at the Port itself.
Pressed EPA to Make Hoosick Falls PFOA Contamination “Superfund” Sites: In June, Schumer pressed EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to include the PFOA contaminated sites in Hoosick Falls on the agency’s Superfund National Priorities List in their recommendation process this year, without delay. Heeding his call in September, the EPA included the sites on their recommendations for the National Priority List. This is the critical first step needed to achieve Superfund listing. Since the recommendation, stakeholders have participated in a public comment period and a final decision will be rendered in early 2017.
Convinced the Army to Award a JROTC Program to Albany High School: In May, Schumer visited Albany High School and their cadet corps, known as the “Henry Johnson Battalion.” The program has had terrific success in improving the lives of participating students, but because it wasn’t funded, it was limited to only 75 participants. Schumer was inspired by the cadet’s stories and commitment, despite using second hand uniforms and equipment, and pressed the Army to make the group a full-fledged, and fully funded, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. After his call, the Army agreed and now the “Henry Johnson Corps” has new uniforms and a new mission and will soon be expanded to 120 students at Albany High School.
Secured $12.8 million in Phase II funding for Troy Seawall: In February, Schumer announced more than $12.8 million in federal funding for the City of Troy. Specifically, FEMA will award a second, critical installment of funding for the reconstruction of Troy’s Seawall, which was which was severely damaged by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA will cover 100 percent of the cost, at $12,871,850. Schumer initially secured $6.7 million in federal funding in July 2014 so this stabilization project could begin and this damaged seawall would not threaten to undermine the City of Troy’s waterfront revitalization efforts any further.
Western New York
Facilitated agreement with KeyBank Corp. to save at-risk jobs in Western New York: Schumer and U.S. Representative Brian Higgins reached an agreement with KeyBank CEO Beth Mooney to save at-risk jobs in Upstate New York and bring additional investment and new jobs to the region. Schumer and Higgins negotiated with KeyBank CEO Beth Mooney for months on a plan to ensure that Western New York was not adversely impacted by KeyBank’s potential acquisition of First Niagara. The agreement ensured that all KeyBank and First Niagara branch employees were offered a full-time, comparable job with the bank following the acquisition. The agreement also helped ensure the long-term presence of corporate, commercial, and administrative jobs through a commitment from KeyBank that, by 2021, it will have at least the same number of employees in Upstate New York as the two separate institutions have today (6,117). In addition, at Schumer and Higgins’s urging, KeyBank committed to being a national leader in addressing the devastating impact of so-called “zombie properties,” which have negatively impacted communities across New York.
Created and fought for the Pre-Inspection Pilot Program at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo: For nearly 3 years, Schumer led the effort to create a pre-inspection pilot program for commercial truck traffic and to bring that pilot program to the Peace Bridge in Buffalo. A study performed after the pilot found that pre-inspection of U.S.-bound truck traffic at the Peace Bridge helped to significantly alleviate huge delays that hampers international commerce and tourism, exacerbates traffic snarls, and harms air quality. Schumer had worked with several Customs and Border Protection Commissioners and Secretaries of Homeland Security to develop the pilot. He later secured an agreement between U.S. and Canadian Authorities to launch the program, which kicked off on February 24.
Brokered a deal which unlocked nearly $17 million in federal funding directed to Erie County economic development projects, ending a decade-long tug-of-war: A Schumer-brokered compromise between the EDA and HUD will allow Erie County to jumpstart critical local economic development projects by freeing up nearly $3 million in direct federal grant funding and unfreezing nearly $14 million in revolving loan funds that can be used on projects throughout Western New York. Since 2005, Erie County officials had been unable to fully utilize money it invested in the Regional Development Corporation (RDC) Revolving Loan Fund because of a bureaucratic dispute between HUD and the EDA. As a result of Schumer’s intervention in the dispute, millions in funding will now be able to flow to critical projects throughout the region.
Central New York
Went to Bat for America’s Last Flatware-Maker, Sherrill Manufacturing: Central New York is home to America’s one and only flatware-maker, Sherrill Manufacturing. The flatware-maker does much of its business through the federal procurement website, GSA Advantage. Sherrill leaders came to Schumer after discovering that GSA Advantage was falsely labeling flatware as “Made in U.S.A,” even though it was made in foreign countries. Schumer filed a complaint with the GSA, asking for an investigation into the claims on the website. As a result, GSA found dozens of companies that were falsely labeling their products on GSA Advantage. These products were eventually removed or changed to reflect their country of origin, providing a much needed boost to Sherrill Manufacturing and its 40-plus employees.
Saved the Critical NUAIR Test Site in Central New York:Schumer successfully pushed for language that was included in the FAA reauthorization bill that extended the NUAIR unmanned aircraft systems test site at Griffiss Airport until 2019. This extension ensured that all six UAS test sites, including NUAIR, could continue their work of researching and testing UAS technologies; without this extension, NUAIR's test site designation would have expired in 2017.
Secured Federal Funding for Syracuse to Hire 12 New Firefighters: With the city set to hire over 20 new firefighters in 2016 on an already tight municipal budget, Schumer stepped in to help provide relief. Schumer worked closely with the Syracuse Fire Department to identify funding opportunities and directly advocated for the department with federal officials. Ultimately, he was able to secure $2 million from FEMA’s SAFER Grant program, allowing the city to use that money to pay for 12 new recruits, offsetting some of the burden on local taxpayers.
Unlocked Millions in Funding to Be Used at Utica’s Transformative Harbor Point Project: In 2005, Utica was awarded $2.1 million to re-establish Water Street, however, less than 10% of the funding was spent and the rest remained unused because the project was no longer needed. Federal rules blocked the grants from being used for new projects until Schumer backed legislation that gave the Federal Highway Administration and the New York Department of Transportation the flexibility to repurpose the money. As a result, Utica will now use these funds on its “Pedestrian way to the Utica Harbor” project, which will enhance connectivity and mobility around Utica’s Harbor Point and further aid the downtown area’s renaissance.
Rochester Finger Lakes
Delivered on $42.5 million in federal tax credits needed to finally redevelop the Rochester Sibley Building: Schumer helped secure $42.5 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) that were needed to greenlight the multi-phase $200 million redevelopment of the Sibley Building into a vibrant downtown hub for photonics spin-offs, high tech businesses, new shops, and tenants. These federal credits, which bring over $10M in equity, were the final piece of the puzzle needed in order for WinnDevelopment to stay on schedule and begin the first $110 million in renovations in 2016.
Secured $32 million for 390/490 Lyell Ave Interchange improvements through the DOT FASTLANE Program: The redevelopment of this highway interchange is a top-ranked transportation redevelopment priority to improve rush hour traffic flow, reducing congestion, curbing accidents, and facilitate access to Rochester’s Eastman Business Park and Elmgrove Business Park. This reconstruction will bolster Rochester area economy and attract new companies.
Created over 800 Jobs at Call Centers in Upstate New York:Schumer worked to secure the federal approvals needed to hire call centers in Upstate New York to provide various services for the federal government. As a part of the Senator’s efforts Coast Professional will add 200 new jobs in Geneseo, and Pioneer and ConServe will add 600 jobs at a number of facilities in Western and Central New York.
Successfully Gained Approvals for Alstom/Amtrak Deal Creating 750 New Jobs: Schumer worked for years to secure the necessary federal approvals for Amtrak and Alstom to enter into a contract to build the Next Generation of High Speed Trains in Hornell, NY. The agreement, which was finalized this year, will add 750 jobs to the Upstate economy, 500 directly in Hornell and 250 at other suppliers throughout Upstate New York.
Brought Critical Comprehensive Upper Susquehanna River Basin Flood Study to Fruition: Schumer, a long standing champion of flood protection for Southern Tier communities, successfully brought a key mitigation study into being. Schumer worked tirelessly to ensure that the study remained a top priority for the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and supported agency funding to meet the cost-sharing component. With the federal funding in place, a cost-sharing agreement with New York State was approved, and in August it was announced that the study would move forward. USACE will now begin a 3-year comprehensive look at the Upper Susquehanna River Basin, which will include an overview of existing flood mitigation structures, an analysis of areas at risk of flooding, an assessment of projects that have been undertaken to reduce risks, and the establishment of preventative measures to protect cities and towns throughout the river basin from future devastation.
Secured Good-Paying Jobs in Chemung County at the General Revenue Corporation (GRC)/Pioneer Facility in Horseheads:Schumer pushed to include a provision in the federal transportation bill, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, that enabled the IRS to hire designated private collection agencies to support collection of delinquent taxes not presently being recouped due to the lack of federal resources. As a result of Schumer’s efforts, General Revenue Corporation/Pioneer was awarded a new federal contract in September and the company will create 300 new good paying jobs at its Horseheads, NY facility.
Successfully fought for updated drinking water guidelines from the EPA for PFOA and PFOS Contamination: After the recent discoveries of the dangerous chemicals Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctyl Sulfonate (PFOS) in upstate New York water supplies, such as in Newburgh and Hoosick Falls, Schumer urged the Unites States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update their drinking water guidelines. The EPA updated their guidelines shortly after Schumer’s call.
Secured FCC waiver to combat “Swatting” Attacks at Middletown School District: The Middletown School District saw 13 fake “swatting” attacks this year alone, in which fake threats are issued that result in a swat team being sent to the location, but because of broad call-blocking rules, the school district could not access critical caller ID information to identify the anonymous perpetrators calling in threats. Schumer successfully urged the FCC to expeditiously grant the school district a waiver needed to track down the criminals.
Created 128 New Jobs by Convincing Warby Parker to Build a Lens Plant in the Hudson Valley: Schumer successfully spearheaded an effort to convince NY-based eyeglass company Warby Parker to build their first manufacturing facility in Sloatsburg, NY. The company was considering a number of sites in the U.S. but during conversations with Warby Parker's CEO, the Senator was able to successfully convince the company to select a New York location with 128 new jobs in the Hudson Valley.
Secured Crucial Grant of Inspection for Upstate New York Company: Schumer helped Midway International secure a Federal Grant of Inspection to import chicken from the United States Department of Agriculture. Prior to the Senator’s push, Midway had been unable to receive the permit and had lost out on contracts worth millions of dollars. This permit will allow Midway to grow its business and expand its contribution to the local economy.
Sponsored and Passed Legislation Eliminating the “Victory Tax” for Olympic Medal Winners: As our Olympians headed to Rio de Janeiro, Schumer joined with his colleague Sen. John Thune (R-SD) on legislation to stop the collection of taxes from athletes who win medals at the Olympic and Para-Olympic games. Most of our athletes toil for years to achieve their dream of competing for our country. New York has a number of Olympic and Para-Olympic athletes, especially with the Olympic Training Center located in Lake Placid.
After Two Years of Advocacy, Allegiant Flights Finally Took-Off from Ogdensburg: Senator Schumer was among the first officials to pledge his support to make Ogdensburg International Airport a regional hub for North Country residents. In 2014, Schumer successfully urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to approve the airport’s proposed runway expansion so larger Allegiant planes could take flight. He remains committed to the efforts moving forward, delivering over $18 million in federal funds to be used on necessary improvements and working closely with officials to ensure bureaucratic barriers did not delay the project. Allegiant jets finally took flight at Ogdensburg International Airport in October 2016, providing increased travel options for residents and further boosting tourism in the North Country.
Secured $200,000 in federal funds for the Nassau Back Bays resiliency study: In 2012, Superstorm Sandy knocked down trees and damaged thousands of buildings leaving many coastal zones susceptible to colossal damage from future storms. Currently, neighborhoods such as Freeport, Oceanside, Baldwin and the Five Towns, experience an increase in flooding, even during winter storms. In a preventative effort to shield these areas and protect homes, roads, property and people from powerful storms, Schumer advocated for a study of the region. As a result of Schumer’s push, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct a $200,000 study looking at specific coastal protections — such as dunes, raised homes and seawalls. Schumer’s persistence ensured the protection of the many communities in Nassau County in the event of future natural disasters.
Passed a Mandate That Will Require Continuous Detailed Reporting by Navy and Northrop Grumman on the Toxic Bethpage Plume: On December 13, 2016, Senator Schumer led the charge in Congress to include a mandate in the 2016 Water Resource and Development Act (WRDA) requiring a detailed report on the toxic Bethpage plume. The law mandates that no later than 180 days after WRDA becomes law, and then annually for the next four years, the Navy will submit a report to Congress on the groundwater contamination at the Bethpage Plume Site. The report will include the following: a description of the status of contaminants that are leaving the site and migrating to locations within a 10-mile radius, a detailed mapping of the movement of the plume over time, an analysis of the current and future impacts of the movement of the plume on drinking water facilities, and a comprehensive strategy to prevent the groundwater toxins from contaminating drinking water wells that have not yet been affected by the plume.
Bluefish Limits Won’t Be Enacted for Commercial Catch: In July, Senator Schumer called on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to reexamine the data used to determine that the 2015 bluefish quota was met. NOAA’s determination would have prematurely ended the commercial season for bluefish and hurt commercial fisheries. As a result of the Senator’s efforts, NOAA reassessed the data and determined that the 2015 bluefish quota had not yet been met, and that bluefish were not being overfished. The decision allowed for a 1.5-million pound quota transfer among states and the commercial sector, increasing New York’s bluefish quota to 500,000 pounds. Because Schumer pushed for this data reevaluation, local fishing boats were able to continue fishing and bringing in revenue for a few additional months this year.
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