Following Local Editorial, Rep. Delgado Discusses his Op-Ed on Racism & Participating in Democracy & the Justice in Policing Act on MSNBC

June 10, 2020
Press Release

RHINEBECK, NY—Last week, Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) wrote an op-Ed in the Washington Post, I Know How Painful Racism is. But We Can’t Give Up on Voting. Following the release of this op-Ed, the Times Herald-Record wrote an editorial highlighting the Congressman’s voice, his work to reach out to constituents across the district, and the importance of voting.

In addition, Rep. Delgado joined MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes and Morning Joe to discuss his op-ed and legislation Rep. Delgado is an original co-sponsor of, the Justice in Policing Act, which now has the support of more than 200 members in the House. Below are videos from the interviews and transcripts of his remarks.
 

All In with Chris Hayes

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  Morning Joe

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On All in with Chris Hayes

“Well, I think [conversations across the district are] a combination. It's a combination of self-reflection where people are really trying to do the work of internally investigating how they can improve and build upon the work that we see happening all across the country. As you noted, you know, back in 2018, there was an onslaught of negative advertising grounded in degrading notions of black masculinity. And we rose above that and we leaned on love and led with compassion, and empathy, and mutuality. And I think, you know, my district, which is a very diverse one, a third independent, a third Democrat, a third Republican. What we value more than anything is humanity, civility, decency. We see things happening across the country, people coming together, multi-cultural, multi-racial, I think people feel hope and want to feel moved and inspired by that. Also understanding, though, that we have a long, long road ahead of us.”

“Well, I think the concept of policing, while important, there is the deeper issue, and it's about equality, and how we treat each and other how we account for one another. And, you know, policing fundamentally is about public safety. And treating each other with a level of respect and serving the community and enabling the community to thrive. So to the extent that any community, whether it's black, brown, yellow, they have to feel accounted for. They have to feel protected. They have to feel enabled. And so that, to me, is how we're able to cross this sort of urban/rural divide, if you will, because at the end of the day, it's about the humanity, it's about the heart, right? And I think to the extent that people cannot see that happening in other places or don't feel it at home, it is profoundly problematic. On a human level it is problematic.”

“Well, it's an incredibly important issue. Even before this bill, Justice in Policing Act, which was introduced this week, it came on the heels of one of the most multicultural, multiracial, cross generational movements we've seen in decades. So, first, let's not overlook the fact that this is a powerful, powerful moment where the government is responding to the will of the people in this moment, and we cannot overstate that enough. We've got to be able to take this thing all the way to the finish line because it is an extension of the will of the people. And so for me doing that work, and making sure we can bring folks together across the political spectrum to make real, meaningful change, that's how you give people confidence in the system that the system actually can reflect the will of the people.”

”My district, in many respects, has been hallowed out. We don't even have broadband access in much of the district. Here we are in the 21st century, richest, most powerful country in the world and we have communities not living with broadband access. We know how important that is with the impact of COVID-19; tele-medicine; you’re thinking about our students needing to learn online; small businesses having to convert their operations. And Yet we have communities here by the thousands that do not have broadband access. It’s because so much of how government is operating, to date, isn't about promoting general welfare but enabling private capital. So how do we strike the right balance to make sure rural communities, rural communities who do not have densely populated areas where private actors are not prone to invest because the demand not being as high. Where does government step in and do that work? For me, it's about being an advocate for our community to make sure we are on the front lines being thought of and prioritized by the folks in Washington.”

“Well, for the 27,000 small business owners, including self-employed, nearly 5,000 small family farms in my district, it's a tough road ahead and it's been tough before COVID-19. Because we are in desperate need of infrastructure. We are in desperate need of making sure we have workforce development. We're in desperate need of affordable housing and all of these issues, all of these trends predate COVID-19….So for me, it's about making sure we utilize this moment to propel ourselves, you know, investing in ways that have a return on investment. Investing in our education system; investing in our roads and our transportation. You know, people need equal access opportunity here…That's why with the Heroes act, I partnered up on a bipartisan basis to get direct aid to every state and local government irrespective of population size. Government units over 500,000 people. We don't have any unit like that in New York 19.”

On Morning Joe:

 

“Well, first, let me start off by saying how important it is that Congress was able to introduce [the Justice in Policing Act] on the heels of a multi-cultural, multi-racial, cross-generational movement, the likes of which we have not seen in quite some time. And we have to really accept the moment here for what it is. The people are speaking out and they want change. So, for me, being able to tap into that, and as a Member of Congress serving at a time like this is incredibly moving on a personal level. The first African-American person of color to represent upstate New York. And if you walk through the bill, we are taking significant steps in the right direction to bring about transparency and accountability to law enforcement, whether it's things like racial bias training, whether it's banning choke holds, whether it's banning no-knock search warrants, whether it's making sure we have a registry when it comes to police misconduct. Again, transparency and accountability, good policing, making sure that we are really amplifying the needs of the community, protecting, and serving it and doing it in an accountable fashion.”

“There is nothing in the [the Justice in Policing Act] that zeros out police budgets. Nothing. And so, when we're hearing folks talk about this piece of the conversation – it’s a strawman – let's focus on exactly what the bill does. Let's focus on the power of this movement. You know, it's such a profound time that we're living in right now. With all of the divisiveness that we're experiencing, with all of the partisanship, we are seeing people all across this country come together in ways that we haven't in a long time, despite the hate, despite the ugliness, despite all the noise. I heard Joe [Scarborough] earlier talking about that fact. Let's focus on the power of this moment, the love, the compassion, the empathy that people are expressing in their hearts in the face of great division. Let's not focus on the noise.”

“Well, I will say, first and foremost, the [Justice in Policing Act] was introduced a couple days ago. We are already at over 200, over 200 within a matter of a couple days here, of co-sponsors. So, there is a real effort to push this thing through. Now, yes, making it bipartisan, unfortunately, is always going to be a challenge in this environment because of how much the noise dominates the conversation. Nonetheless, we have got to continue to do the work. I made it a point to be somebody who seeks out common ground all the time, trying to figure out a way to bridge the gap. My district, which is a rural one, the eighth most in the entire country and third of any Democrat, by the way -- you know, we have to make sure that we're finding common ground. A third independent, a third Democrat, a third Republican. So, being able to bring to bear the urgency of this moment, doing so in a way that invites good dialogue without demagoguing is of criminal importance. We cannot assume people's perspective. I can hear out that perspective and give it a chance to breathe, and then from there, attempt to build consensus. So, I hope that in this moment, all of my colleagues all across the political spectrum can understand the import and how much the communities across this country are desperate to see us come together and reflect the will of the people. That is how you instill confidence in our system.”