Antonio Delgado

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Antonio Delgado is a Congressman from upstate New York.

Congressional Progressive Caucus

Shortly after the 2018 election Antonio Delgado joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Support from Onward Together

Onward Together supported Antonio Delgado as a candidate for the 2018 midterm elections.[1]

Early life

Born and raised in Schenectady, Antonio Delgado is a native of Upstate New York. His parents worked for General Electric and benefited from a better regional economy. They worked hard to pursue the American Dream of building a better future for Antonio and his little brother. Antonio attended Colgate University, in Hamilton, New York, where he graduated with high honors and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. From there, he went to law school at Harvard, which is where he met his wife Lacey, a native of Woodstock and Kingston.[2]

In 2011, when he wed Lacey Schwartz, Delagado was an associate in the New York office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, the Dallas law firm. From 2005 to 2009, he was a hip-hop performer and a chief executive of Statik Entertainment, a Los Angeles music production company.

He is a son of Thelma Hill and a stepson of William L. Hill of Guilderland, N.Y. His mother is a secretary in the office of the legal counsel to the New York State Department of Civil Service in Albany. His stepfather is the deputy commissioner for real property management and development in the State Office of General Services, also in Albany. Antonio Delgado is a son of Tony Delgado of Schenectady, N.Y.[3]

Education/activism

Delgado entered Colgate College with the intention of eventually becoming a doctor, but the first-year seminar “What is Real and What is True,” changed his thinking, and Delgado chose instead to pursue a dual academic concentration in philosophy and political science, according to Colgate University News.

Studying philosophy “trains you how to question [things],” Delgado said, and is “a good building block,” allowing one to think critically in everyday life.

Delgado was a Dean’s List student at the school and was involved in various extracurricular activities, including hosting “Race-ing Times” on the school’s television station, which examined issues of race and gender; working as part of the “Dream Team,” which fostered racial harmony through campus events; and was part of the college’s Society of Leaders.

Political science professor Joseph Wagner, who taught the seminar, became Delgado’s academic adviser and is one of many faculty members who the senior credited with influencing him over the past four years.

Delgado was also a residential advisor (RA) at the school for three years, according to Colgate University Media Relations Director Daniel DeVries.

The RA position started his path to becoming a “sort of leader on campus,” Delgado said.

A swastika was graffitied on one of the campus buildings while Delgado was at the college, a major incident Delgado said he helped address as an RA.

The incident occurred in September 1998, according to DeVries.

Delgado discussed students’ actions after the swastika was discovered.

“(After the incident) we had gotten together, a group of students, and talked about what we could do collectively to give everybody a positive headspace, because people get angry, and you want to figure out a way to deal with these things constructively, positively, in a way that can be reassuring and encourages real conversations, and makes people feel safe,” Delgado said.

Delgado and others organized a “love circle” in one of the campus quads, which Delgado said was one of the biggest protests the campus had in decades.

“It was remarkable to see the turn-out,” Delgado said. “All the different people from different backgrounds expressing themselves, and really making sure that we understood that we need to lead with love in these situations.”

Delgado was named a Rhodes Scholar his senior year, according to Colgate, one of only 32 students selected nationally for the honor, which takes into consideration students’ achievements in academics and sports (Delgado’s game was basketball), as well as their moral character, leadership, and “truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship,” according to the Rhodes Trust.

Delgado used the Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University in England, where he said he was not engaged in extracurricular activities, but instead chose to immerse himself studying philosophy and political theory.[4]

Early career

He graduated from Oxford in 2001, then worked for the next year at Northfield Mt. Herman, a prestigious private high school in western Massachusetts.

Delgado was employed at the school as an assistant director to the Admissions Office from August 2001 until August 2002, according to Northfield Mt. Herman Assistant Director of Communications Pam Lierle. The position entails recruiting qualified students for the school, according to a contemporary job description of the position.

At Northfield Mt. Herman, Delgado was responsible for diversifying the student body, which included doing outreach in poor parts of Newark and New York City, and working with The Oliver Program and A Better Chance, Delgado said — programs funneling talented, economically disadvantaged students to elite private schools.[5]

Harvard

Delgado next attended Harvard Law School — on student loans this time — where he received his J.D. in 2005.[6]

Rapper

Then something funny happened. With degrees from three of the most prestigious schools in the world under his belt, Delgado could have easily joined the elite law firm of his choice. Instead, Delgado decided to become a rapper.

Delgado called his hip-hop career “part of my narrative when it comes to my commitment to service.”

Delgado’s interest in rap began in college and increased during his time in England and Harvard. While working at a law firm in LA between his second and third years of law school, he partnered with hip-hop producer TK Kim, a fellow Colgate alum, and started recording tracks at Spitshine Studios, according to Music Dish.

Under the pseudonym “AD The Voice,” Delgado was able to press 7,000 copies of a promotional CD before he graduated, according to Music Dish.

With TK, he formed STATiK Entertainment, and released the 18-track album “Painfully Free” (parts of which are still available on Spotify) in late 2007.

In a 2007 interview with The Hip Hop Cosign, Delgado called his approach to hip-hop “a non-traditional method for pursuing social justice.”

“I tried the sensible path toward making change, but it was clear after my first year at Harvard Law, that our system of laws might not be capable of facilitating the sort of change,” according to the interview. “…Hip Hop culture, like the Church during the Civil Rights Movement, has the potential to function as an informal educational system, and a political space for radical social change. It speaks for the outcasts of society — the single mother, incarcerated father, and abandoned child — those the elite use as a scapegoat when the American dream fails for poor and lower-middle class people.”

“Painfully Free” is overtly political, criticizing the Iraq War, American imperialism, and racially based economic disparity, though it also contains traditional rap braggadocio.

On the track “Draped in Flags,” Delgado denounces the Iraq War, skewing the Bush administration’s shifting justifications for invading the country, elegizing American soldiers and Iraqi civilians killed in the war, and slamming the fossil fuel industry for profiting off the bloodshed.

Though the album never broke through, Delgado ties his years with hip-hop into the greater narrative of what he wants to accomplish in life.

“A large part of my thinking when I did music was about trying to figure out creative ways to reach young people to try to get them civically engaged…[hip-hop] was about making sure that I used the experience and the education that I was fortunate enough to receive [to] figure out ways to help people from under-served communities,” he said.

Delgado The Lawyer

Delgado joined the international law and lobbying firm Akin Gump in 2011.

Akin Gump had more than 850 attorneys in 20 offices as of 2017 and was the 36th highest-grossing law firm in the world, according to Law.com. It lobbied on behalf of hundreds of clients in 2017, including Bain Capital, Amazon, Pfizer, Monsanto, National Grid, UPS, and Volkswagen Group of America, according to U.S. House of Representatives lobbying disclosures.

Though Akin Gump is one of the biggest lobbying firms in the country, Delgado appears to have only worked on the law side of the firm. He never did any lobbying in the U.S. Senate, House, or in New York state, according to lobbying disclosures from the institutions.

Delgado earned about $330,000 at the firm in 2016, according to his financial disclosure form.

A major case of Delgado’s at the firm involved challenging an Indiana law forcing “Racinos” (racetrack-casinos) to pay taxes on income that was already legally allotted by the state government to various state funds. Delgado and other attorneys won the case, the judge ruling the law amounted to double taxation, according to the decision.

Delgado said he also did pro-bono work while at the law firm, often with the re-sentencing of those given life bids for crimes they committed as juveniles. A Supreme Court decision deemed it unconstitutional to give life sentences to youthful offenders without considering mitigating circumstances, such as their home environment, and those given life under the law had to be re-sentenced to lighter terms, Delgado said.

He was paid for the pro-bono work — Akin Gump does not earn money from pro-bono clients, but the firm considers the work billable, and attorneys are paid by the firm to undertake such cases, he said.

Rhinebeck

Delgado moved to the 19th District in early 2017. He bought a home with his wife, Lacey Schwartz, in the Village of Rhinebeck valued at $539,500, according to Dutchess County Property Tax Rolls.

When asked if he was currently involved in any charitable organizations, Delgado said most of his time is spent either trying to secure the NY-19 nomination or raising his two sons, but said he was a member of the Rhinebeck Democratic Committee, a role he said he takes “very seriously.”

He joined the Rhinebeck Democratic Committee along with his wife, filling two vacant positions as interim members, said Rhinebeck Democratic Committee Chair Warren Smith. The couple was voted in as full members of the committee by the Dutchess County Democratic Committee at their subsequent meeting, Smith added.

The position entails attending meetings, finding and supporting candidates for local office, and petitioning for candidates on a regional and national level — going out and gathering signatures to get them on the ballot, Smith said.

The committee voted to endorse Delgado for Congress in February, Smith said.

“The committee as a whole felt it was appropriate to endorse him,” Smith said, though he added the vote was not unanimous and some of the committee members are supporting other candidates.

Smith declined to say that he was supporting Delgado personally.

“I’m not endorsing any candidate personally,” he said. “I’m going to support whoever wins the primary.”

The Dutchess County Democratic Committee voted to endorse Delgado March 1.

It was “a close vote,” according to the Dutchess County Democratic Committee, which used a “Ranked Choice Voting” system to choose their candidate, wherein voters rank their choices from most favored to least instead of choosing a single candidate.

Delgado received 51.5 percent of the vote, while Flynn came in second, with 48.5 percent, according to the committee.[7]

Endorsements

Citizen Action/Working Families Party Endorsement

After operating mostly on the fringes of left-leaning politics, the Working Families Party saw nearly two-thirds of its 1,036 endorsed candidates win state and local offices in 2017. Buoyed by a renewed interest in alternative candidates, as evidenced in the success of Bernie Sanders on the left and Donald Trump on the right, Mitchell led a midterm cycle with some notable wins — defeating conservative Democratic incumbents in New Mexico, Rhode Island and Maryland and contributing to candidates who ended Republican control of the Colorado Senate. Under his leadership, the WFP joined other progressive groups in helping flip the U.S. House of Representatives while supporting insurgent Democrats such as Antonio Delgado in New York and Jahana Hayes in Connecticut.

[9]

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2018 Citizen Action of New York/Working Families Party endorsement.

Citizen Action meeting

Citizen Action of New York Hudson Valley Chapter August 10:

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With Phillip Leber, Anita Thayer, Antonio Delgado and Mike Grubiak.

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Andrew Falk, Antonio Delgado.

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Citizen Action support

Citizen Action of New York Hudson Valley Chapter November 4 at 12:54 PM:

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The office is rockin and rolling. We are hitting the doors and working the phones. Join us!

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Radical staffers

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson organized a march of over 500 people in Kingston on June 30th 2018, for the Families Belong Together national day of action. We connected the national calls for the end of family separations and detainment with our local calls for meaningful protections for undocumented people here in the Hudson Valley and across New York state: creating municipal ID programs and making driver’s licenses accessible to all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status. These protections are a means of keeping families together too.

In response, Kingston Mayor Steve Noble pledged to work with us to implement a municipal ID program. Noble also noted that it was the biggest rally that Kingston had seen yet! New York’s 19th District Congressional Candidate, Antonio Delgado, met us at the end of our march to express his support and commitment to policies that will keep families together.

Thank you to Rise Up Kingston, the Worker Justice Center of New York, Citizen Action, Ulster Immigrant Defense Network, La Voz, and the many more organizations who made this day possible.[10]

Collective PAC

Launched in August of 2016, the Collective PAC is backing several candidates in 2018, including Antonio Delgado NY (19) [11]

Indivisible

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In 2018 Indivisible endorsed Antonio Delgado.

Future Forum Caucus

Abby Finkenauer for Congress December 6 2018:

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‪Happy to announce I was elected Vice-Chair of the Future Forum Caucus (young D members of Congress) along w/ Congressman Jimmy Gomez & Congressman -elect Antonio Delgado. Excited to join our Chairwoman Congresswoman Murphy as we work to bring hope and opportunities for growth across generations. ‬ — with Abby Finkenauer.

Communist volunteer

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Written in 2020

Former Communist Party USA leader Sam Webb campaigned for Antonio Delgado in 2018.

References