According to recent figures, Northern New York has a higher rate of unemployment. The longer heating season here compels north country seniors and low-income residents to spend more of their income to heat older homes, homes in need of energy efficiency investments that reduce heating bills and conserve energy.
One way to put people back to work and support local contractors is the often-overlooked investment in energy conservation by retrofitting homes and businesses to make them more energy efficient; this lowers electric and heating costs. The U.S. Energy Department Weatherization Assistance Program already provides grants to low-income people to help them weatherize their homes by sealing windows and installing installation that lowers electric and heating costs. By expanding the program to middle- and higher-income groups eligible for no-interest loans, we could make a larger dent in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improve the health and safety of our communities.
This program and others are not socialism as U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik has characterized the Green New Deal. Rather, they are federal investments that will create hundreds if not thousands of north country jobs, reduce heating and electric costs, and stimulate our regional economy.
Such proactive investment in our people and climate will require new leadership from the White House and Congress. That is why I support Tedra Cobb, who is a proven leader.