Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado has smashed through barriers to become the first person of color to represent his upstate New York district. He also may be the first member of Congress to have an actual rap career before being elected.
Now in the House after unseating longtime GOP Rep. John Faso, Delgado, who also happens to be a Rhodes scholar and a Harvard Law School graduate, says his priority is upstate New York and moving past the shutdown over "an antiquated solution to border security."
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Lauren Dezenski: In five words or less, describe your first emotions when you realized you won in November.
Antonio Delgado: Humbled by the opportunity.
LD: What's your top priority in your first term?
AD: I want to be accountable to the people, both in terms of how I operate and what I work on. I will be responsive and available to the people of my district: I will hold one town hall in each of the 11 counties in my district within my first year in office. We will have strong constituent services operations to help with everything from small-business loans to veterans' benefits. And my legislative focus will be on the key priorities that are impacting folks' lives in upstate New York -- such as improving access to quality health care, expanding rural broadband, supporting our farmers, and protecting our water infrastructure.
LD: What's your expectation on what happens with the current partial government shutdown?
AD: It needs to come to an end. From farmers to business owners to federal employees in upstate, we're seeing the real consequences of the shutdown. It's incredibly irresponsible, especially considering it all comes down to playing politics over an antiquated solution to border security.
LD: What was your biggest lesson from your campaign?
AD: Show up, listen, and be accountable. There's a sense -- and I think it's accurate -- that too many politicians just listen to corporate special interests and have become entrenched in Washington. So I don't take corporate PAC money, and I show up everywhere in the district so I can hear what really matters to people, and act on it.
LD: Do you have a favorite pump-up song? What is it?
AD: "Twofifteen" by Black Thought
LD: Tell me about your favorite food from your district.
AD: Too many options to pick from. But I do love going to Bun N' Cone in Margaretville.
Thank you to Francisco Durán for today's member tip! Is there someone we should talk to from your district? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions -- and thanks to all of you who have already reached out!