News from Brindisi’s office

Rep. Anthony Brindisi

Brindisi to Host Veterans Breakfast in Utica

Congressman to honor veterans for their service with community breakfast

One week before Veterans Day, Congressman Anthony Brindisi is hosting a Veterans Appreciation Breakfast in Utica. Brindisi will share how his office and local Veterans organizations can be of service.

This event is free and open to area Veterans. Space is limited so Veterans are encouraged to RSVP by calling Brindisi’s Utica office at 315-732-0713. Media outlets are encouraged to attend and help share the event with local Veterans. A flier to share on social media can be found HERE.

WHO: Congressman Anthony Brindisi, 22nd Congressional District Veterans

WHAT: Veterans Breakfast

WHERE: 72 Tavern at the Adirondack Bank Center, 400 Oriskany Street W, Utica, NY

WHEN: Monday, November 4 at 8:30 am—10:15 a.m.

Brindisi launches #FloodTheIJC campaign to hold IJC accountable to Lake Ontario property owners 

Brindisi launched the #FloodTheIJC campaign today. Brindisi announced that he will be sending a letter a week to the International Joint Commission (IJC), the governing body for Lake Ontario water levels, and is encouraging Lake Ontario property owners to share their stories with him and the IJC.

Following the failure of the IJC to present a clear and cohesive solution to the continued flooding in Oswego County, Brindisi joined local community leaders to demand action. Brindisi plans to send a letter a week to the IJC highlighting current water levels compared to the same time in 2017, a year with widespread flooding.

“I’ve met with flood victims, toured the impacted businesses, and spoken with community leaders and we all agree: enough is enough,” Brindisi said. “The IJC needs to be held accountable and if they aren’t being responsive to the communities’ needs then the IJC needs to hear these concerns each and every week. As their Congressman, I will not stop until the IJC listens and responds to the concerns of this community.”

Brindisi addressed his letter to Canadian Section Chair Pierre Béland and American Section Chair Jane Corwin.

“I am deeply concerned that the current course of action by the IJC will again result in flooding along the North and South shores of Lake Ontario in 2020,” Brindisi wrote in his letter. “In January 2019, Lake Ontario water levels stood at 245.34 feet, and as you know we experienced the second year of devastating flooding. We cannot see another year where residences, businesses, and infrastructure across the Upstate New York and Canadian shorelines are under water, hurting our economy and our communities.”

Earlier this year, Brindisi brought members of the IJC to Oswego County for a roundtable discussion. Brindisi continued his fierce advocacy by bringing community leaders before members of the IJC to follow-up on their concerns.

In August, Brindisi and Congressman John Katko (NY-24) secured a Government Accountability Office study of the IJC’s Plan 2014. Brindisi continues to hold the IJC accountable and call for a fix to Plan 2014.

Residents interested in joining the #FloodtheIJC campaign can fill out Congressman Brindisi’s survey HERE.

Full text of Brindisi’s letter is below:

Dear Chairpersons Corwin and Béland, 

On September 24, 2019 I joined with my colleagues Congressman Morelle (NY-25) and Congressman Katko (NY-24) to call on the International Joint Commission (IJC) to “take aggressive preemptive action to deter flooding in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system ahead of spring 2020.” We requested a plan from the IJC by October 7, 2019. That date has come and gone with no response from the IJC. I have enclosed a copy of that correspondence for your convenience. It has been nearly 30 days since that request, and I will be corresponding with you every week until we have received a satisfactory response to our inquiry.

I am deeply concerned that the current course of action by the IJC will again result in flooding along the North and South shores of Lake Ontario in 2020. In January 2019, Lake Ontario water levels stood at 245.34 feet, and as you know we experienced the second year of devastating flooding. We cannot see another year where residences, businesses, and infrastructure across the Upstate New York and Canadian shorelines are under water, hurting our economy and our communities.

I have heard from experts in our community that the January 2020 lake level must be 244 feet or below in order to prevent another round of flooding, assuming another year of heavy rainfall. As of October 16, Lake Ontario stands at 246 feet. This is half a foot higher than at the same point in 2017, the last time these communities faced widespread flooding.

Families and businesses on both sides of Lake Ontario are depending on your assistance to ensure that the trigger levels in Plan 2014 do not result in yet another damaging and difficult year for riparians. Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter and I look forward to your response.

Brindisi, Katko, Craig announce bipartisan mental health legislation to assist farmers and rural communities

Representatives Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), John Katko (NY-24), and Angie Craig (MN-02) are fighting to increase mental health care options for producers and rural communities across the country. Brindisi led a group of Democrats and Republicans to introduce the Seeding Rural Resilience Act, a bipartisan bill to help address the growing rate of suicide in rural parts of the country.

“A career in agriculture is a difficult but rewarding life,” Brindisi said. “Our Upstate farmers help feed the world, but unfortunately, many bear incredible burdens. Whether it’s low prices, a trade war, or Mother Nature, much of a farmer’s bottom line is out of their control, and that uncertainty can add to daily stresses. Our bill will help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health in our rural communities and ensure all farmers have better access to mental health care.”

“Central New York’s economy is largely driven by the local farms that have been passed down from generation to generation. But, the current rate of suicide in rural communities is 45% higher than it is in urban areas,” said Rep Katko (NY-24). “Facing isolation and stigma associated with seeking mental healthcare, farmers often fail to seek out care. We must ensure these families in our region have access to the mental health resources that they need. As co-chair of the bipartisan Mental Health Caucus, I have prioritized improving access to mental healthcare for all Americans – and I am proud now to join Representatives Brindisi and Craig in introducing The Seeding Rural Resilience Act, bipartisan legislation that aims to improve mental healthcare for farming families by implementing suicide prevention training programs and promoting awareness of mental illness in rural areas. I am confident this legislation will make meaningful progress to improve mental healthcare for our region’s rural communities.”

“I’ve talked with farmers whose families have farmed on the same land for generations describe the stress inflicted by the current farm crisis. Earlier this year I held a roundtable focused on rural mental health in Wabasha, I’ve also walked with farmers on their land as they describe the sense of isolation that can set in with uncertain markets and low commodity prices,” said Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02). “I understand that right now we must expand mental health resources to support Minnesota farmers, and I’m proud to expand resources that meet farmers where they live.”

From 1999 to 2016, suicide rates grew in nearly all 50 states. New York’s 22nd Congressional district has a higher rate of suicide than the state average. And according to the Center for Disease Control, the suicide rate is 45 percent higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

Brindisi’s bill was praised by Upstate New York farmers and advocates.

“We appreciate Congressman Brindisi recognizing the struggle that some NY farmers are currently experiencing,” said Upstate New York farmer Bret Bossard. “Mental health awareness is a positive step in the right direction towards bringing awareness to this growing problem.”

“New York Farm Bureau supports efforts to increase both mental health awareness in the farming community and resources available to assist farmers facing high levels of stress,” said New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher. “Times remain tough for many farmers, and it is imperative that agency staff, who are regularly meeting with farmers, know how to identify people who may be struggling and direct them to appropriate help. In addition, efforts to educate rural communities on mental health issues can provide an opportunity to open up a dialogue and reduce the stigma often surrounding it. This support could not only save a farm, it could save a life.”

“I want to thank Anthony Brindisi for his continuous efforts to bring services to rural America,” said Remsen farmer Ben Simons. “As a longtime farmer and active member of the agricultural community, I can tell you that a lot of farmers struggle with their mental health whether it is from the stress of running a business that deals with a lot of uncertainties or because of factors like low milk prices and a tough economy. The Congressman’s Seeding Rural Resilience Act will increase access to programs to help farmers identify and manage their stress and to know that there is help when you need it is crucial to the health of our agricultural and rural communities. Farmers are very resilient, but everyone needs support from time to time!”

The bipartisan legislation would:

  • Implement a Farmer-Facing Employee Training Program that requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide voluntary stress management training to Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency, and National Resources Conservation Service Employees.
  • Form a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and USDA to create a $3 million PSA to increase public awareness of farm and ranch stress and destigmatize mental health care in rural communities.
  • Direct the Secretary of Agriculture to work with state, local, and nongovernmental stakeholders to collaborate and determine best practices for responding to farm and ranch mental stress.

The companion bill in the Senate is sponsored by Senators Jon Tester (MT) and Chuck Grassley (IA).

The bill is also supported by the American Dairy Coalition, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychological Association, Farm Aid, Female Farmer Project, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers’ Association, National Family Farm Coalition, National Farmers’ Union, National Sunflower Association, National Young Farmers Coalition, Rural & Agricultural Council of America, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, and the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Association.

Brindisi statement on Al-Baghdadi raid

Following reports of the death of ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi, Representative Anthony Brindisi released the following statement:

“This is a great victory in the war on terror and in our efforts to defeat ISIS. I commend President Trump for giving the order and thank our special forces for their bravery and courage. We need to continue to be vigilant and work with allies to eliminate ISIS.” 

We need to make sure women veterans can access benefits they earned

Congressman Anthony Brindisi’s legislation, H.R. 2972, is now a part of landmark legislation to modernize the VA for women Veterans. During a House Veterans’ Affairs markup today, Brindisi’s provisions were included in the Deborah Sampson Act. The legislation will eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face and would help ensure the VA can address the needs of women Veterans who are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment, and go without needed health care.

Brindisi’s H.R. 2972 would statutorily require the Veterans Affairs Women Veterans Call Center to be accessible via text and create an online, one-stop-shop for women Veterans’ benefits.

“I am thrilled that the Deborah Sampson Act will include my bill to increase access to benefits for women Veterans,” Brindisi said. “This landmark legislation would build on efforts by VA and this Committee to ensure all women Veterans are aware of the hard-earned resources and benefits available to them and where to turn if they are struggling.”

The Women Veterans Call Center is currently available via text, but Brindisi’s legislation would codify that in law. Also, in order to create more efficiency, the legislation requires the VA to create a centralized page in which women Veterans can access gender-specific information, pages, and resources throughout the VA system. This page will include locations of medical centers, CBOC’s and contact information for women’s health coordinators. This webpage will be updated at least every 90 days.

Brindisi’s testimony is below:

I’d like to thank Chairman Takano, Ranking Member Roe, and the Deborah Sampson Act’s Sponsor, Congresswoman Brownley, for their commitment to improving access and care for our women Veterans. 

I also want to thank Chairwoman Brownley for including my bill in the Deborah Sampson Act, to require VA’s Women Veterans Call Center to be accessible via text message.

The bill also makes navigating VA websites easier by requiring VA to create a one-stop-shop for women Veterans’ benefits in the form of a central web page where women veterans can access various information regarding the extensive resources available to them within VA.

This bill will build on efforts by VA and this Committee to ensure all women Veterans are aware of the hard-earned resources and benefits available to them and where to turn if they are struggling.

Women are the fastest growing demographic within the Veteran population and we need to make it easier to connect them with VA resources.

As more women servicemembers separate from service and transition into VA care, it is important VA has the tools in place to support them, and that women Veterans know what is available to them.

Again, I thank the Committee for its attention to this important issue, I support passage of this bill, and I yield back.

Brindisi supports strong, bipartisan sanctions on Turkey

Congressman Anthony Brindisi joined Democrats and Republicans today to put sanctions on Turkey. Brindisi joined 402 members of Congress to pass the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act. Following the vote, Brindisi issued the following statement:

“Kurdish forces helped us in our war against ISIS and Turkey needs to be held accountable for the violence towards our allies. These tough and targeted sanctions will let Turkey know their aggression towards our partners in the War on Terror will not be tolerated. I am hopeful that these sanctions will help stabilize the situation in the Middle East, hold Turkey accountable, and help protect our allies and America’s standing with them.”

This bill provides a targeted response to the crisis caused by Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria. It sanctions senior Turkish officials involved in the decision and those committing human rights abuses. It restricts the Turkish military’s access to financing by sanctioning financial institutions that do business with the Turkish defense industry. It also prevents the sale of arms to Turkey for use in Syria and requires the Administration to impose sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act for Turkey’s purchase of the S-400, a Russian missile system.

Brindisi to Host Veterans Town Hall on Veterans Day

Congressman to hold monthly town hall in Chittenango for veterans

Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) will hold his November town hall on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. The event will be held at Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango. This event is free and open to the public.

Members of the media are invited to attend and encouraged to share the details with their readers, listeners, and viewers.

WHO: Congressman Anthony Brindisi

WHAT: Veterans Town Hall

WHERE: Clear Path, 1223 Salt Springs Rd, Chittenango, NY 13037, USA

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.

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