Rep. Maurice Hinchey is on a farewell tour as he retires after 20 years in Congress.
The Democrat from Ulster County was in Binghamton yesterday to thank supporters and discuss his accomplishments.
In his opening remarks to a few dozen supporters at the Broome County Library, Hinchey discussed the colon cancer that brought about his decision to retire.
“It was a serious situation,” he said, noting he’s had four surgeries. “I’m still here. I’m getting better and stronger.”
His congressional district was one of two in New York eliminated in redistricting.
Upstate New York always brought with it challenges, Hinchey said. Economic difficulties, environmental concerns, infrastructure needs and employment opportunities were some of problems that he tried to help solve, he said.
Along with the improvement of Route 17, transforming it into Interstate 86, Hinchey told the crowd that he pushed for federal aid to help with job growth, advancing education, creating health care facilities and enabling the arts. Clean-up of toxic chemicals left over from IBM in Endicott and helping to keep BAE Systems Solutions in Greater Binghamton are two of several accomplishments the legislator trumpeted.
Hinchey mentioned his fight to encourage the Environmental Protection Agency to take an active role in studying the impacts of hydraulic fracturing and received a round of applause. Cheers also greeted him after he mentioned his opposition to the war in Iraq.
“I fought against the invasion and occupation of Iraq,” Hinchey said.