The April 26 Delegate Assembly at 1199SEIU Headquarters in Albany, NY, attended by delegates and activists from the Mid-Hudson Valley and Capital Region, was packed. Much of the excitement was generated by special guest Congressional candidate Sean Patrick Maloney, who is running against Tea Party favorite Nan Hayworth, in the new NY-18 District in the Hudson Valley. After interviewing with many 1199 political activists in the region, Sean was enthusiastically endorsed by the 1199SEIU Executive Council.

Maloney said, “I’m running because there is an urgent need to take back our Congress from extremists who reject smart investments in health care, education and infrastructure; who reject sensible tax policies that create jobs and balance budgets; and who would end Medicare as we know it.”

Lydia Schmidt, a delegate from Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie said, “We were all still shocked at the damage caused by Hurricane Irene when we read that our Congresswoman would support disaster relief funds, only if more federal spending cuts were made. Where? More healthcare cuts? Education? It’s clear working people need better representation. I’m going to work to elect Sean because he will protect important programs, not gut them.”

The question and answer period was lively and informative. One delegate asked, “What do you think about the Trayvon (Martin) situation?” Maloney replied solemnly, “My first response is—heartbreaking.” When asked about his stance on immigration reform, he said, “Everyone deserves a path to citizenship-we need a system that reflects the heritage and diverse nature of our country. A great country is within our grasp — where a thriving, diverse and prosperous middle class grows in strength by expanding opportunity for everyone and respecting one another.”

Executive Vice-President Lisa Brown said, “Sean’s victory in the Hudson Valley is critical to all of us. We can’t let a Tea Party agenda prevail--it would take us back decades to a world where workers are denied rights, women are denied access to contraception coverage, and where the environment is under siege”.

Sean Patrick Maloney is one of several Hudson Valley-area candidates running in a Congressional Democratic Primary, which will be held on June 26. The newly drawn Congressional district encompasses parts of Orange, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties.