: Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: Franmarie Metzler; U.S. House Office of Photography / Source of Photo: delgado.house.gov

Antonio Delgado

  • Former rap artist who released an album replete with vulgarities
  • Was elected to the House of Representatives in 2019
  • Joined the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
  • Supports path-to-citizenship for illegal aliens
  • Supports Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • Supports repeal of the Hyde Amendment
  • Voted to impeach President Trump
  • Co-sponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
  • Condemned the Trump Administration for deploying federal law-enforcement to quell riots in Portland, Oregon in 2020

Antonio Ramon Delgado was born on January 28, 1977 in Schenectady, New York. The son of two General Electric workers, he grew up in the Schenectady area and graduated from Colgate University in 1999. Delgado subsequently received a Rhodes Scholarship and earned an MA degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from The Queen’s College at the University of Oxford in 2001. He later graduated from Harvard Law School in 2005.

After completing his formal education, Delgado moved to Los Angeles where he became a hip-hop music artist under the stage name, “AD The Voice.” In 2006 he released his only album, titled Painfully Free, which included songs containing many vulgar, racially charged, incendiary lyrics. Some examples:

  • “I wanna ride with my nigg—s, see them all get figures/I wanna see a righteous capitalist, if it’s possible for one to exist.”
  •  “Dead presidents can’t represent me, not when most of them believe in white supremacy/like spittin’ on my ancestry.”
  • “Look like we only goin’ from chains to cuffs, still nigg—s still locked up stuck on stuff.” (from the song “Nigg–s”)
  • In the song “SOS,” Delgado condemns what he perceived to be a slow federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005; he likens the Superdome, which was used to house displaced residents (many of whom were black) as a “slave ship”; and he calls “poverty” the “purest form of terrorism.”

Discussing his musical career in 2007, Delgado explained that because hip-hop music “speaks for the outcasts of society [whom] the elite use as a scapegoat when the American dream fails for poor and lower-middle class people,” it could serve as “a non-traditional method for pursuing social justice.” He added that although the U.S. “system of laws might not be capable of facilitating the sort of change” he desired, hip-hop culture “has the potential to function as an informal educational system, and a political space for radical social change.”

In 2011 Delgado joined the international law and lobbying firm, Akin Gump. Some of his work there was aimed at reducing the life-in-prison sentences of inmates who had committed their crimes when they were juveniles.

Upon moving to Dutchess County, New York in 2017, Delgado became heavily involved in the local Democratic Committee. When he ran in the 2018 midterm elections to represent Upstate New York’s 19th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, his campaign supporters included such notables as former President Barack Obama, former Communist Party USA National Chair Sam Webb, radical activist Maurice “Moe” Mitchell, the  Working Families Party, Citizen Action of New York, End Citizens United, and Indivisible.

Delgado was a vocal opponent of President Trump’s 2017-18 decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In a debate prior to the congressional elections of 2018, Delgado said: “You know, Israel is not a Jewish democracy. Israel’s settlements make it so that it can’t be. So we’ve got to have a two-state solution.” Those remarks prompted Arthur Schwartz of the Zionist Organization of America to denounce Delgado for having advocated the “talking points of Hamas.”

In light of the fact that New York’s 19th District was a toss-up, rural district, Delgado in his campaign tried to distance himself from the pronounced radicalism of San Francisco Democrat and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Thus, even though he had already accepted – nearly four months earlier — thousands of dollars from “Nancy Pelosi For Congress,” Delgado indicated in a televised debate on October 23, 2018 that he would not accept Pelosi’s endorsement. But then, just three weeks after Delgado had defeated incumbent Republican congressman John Faso by a margin of 51% to 46% in the November 6 election, he chose to support Pelosi’s re-election as House Speaker.

As a new member of the U.S. House, Delgado joined the Congressional Black, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ Equality Caucuses.

In January 2019, Delgado declared his support for H.R. 1, The For the People Act, which, in contravention to the congressman’s stated intent to “make democracy work for the people,” was a hyperpartisan piece of legislation designed to alter election laws in a manner that would disproportionately favor Democrats for many years to come.

In March 2019, Delgado co-sponsored The American Dream and Promise Act, which, according to Congress.gov, was designed to: (a) “cancel removal proceedings against certain [illegal] aliens who entered the United States as minors and grant such aliens conditional permanent residence status for 10 years.” This bill would affect most notably those illegals who were eligible for protection under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Enforced Departure, or Temporary Protected Status provisions. Condemning what he called the “inhumane and cruel practices” of the Trump Administration, Delgado in a March 12 press release affirmed that he was “standing strong with Dreamers and immigrant communities” in favor of a pathway-to-citizenship under the terms of the bill. “It goes against our fundamental values to deport individuals who are here for no other reason than to contribute to and work toward our shared hopes and dreams as a nation” he declared.

In March 2019 as well, Delgado co-sponsored legislation to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a historically bipartisan and broadly popular provision which had first passed in 1976 to prohibit federal funding for most types of abortions. “Women have a Constitutional right in our country to make their own decisions about their health care, including abortion,” said Delgado. “But the Hyde Amendment effectively denies that right, so that only women who can afford to access their right to an abortion can do so.” Thus, he explained, “low-income women and women of color are disproportionately blocked from accessing their full reproductive health options.”

In December 2019, Delgado signaled his intent to vote in favor of both articles of impeachment which had been filed against President Trump. Accusing Trump of having “abused his power and put our national security at risk,” Delgado claimed that the president had not only “pressured a foreign government [Ukraine] for personal political gain,” but had also “obstructed Congress by blatantly refusing to cooperate with the body’s constitutional right to investigate the matter.”

In February 2020, Delgado decried President Trump’s immigration policies as “inhumane,” “xenophobi[c],” and “incredibly unacceptable.” After the Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) resolved that it would thenceforth seek to enforce immigration laws in sanctuary cities and counties across the United States, the congressman described the decision as an “alarming” manifestation of “dark energy” that constituted a “bridge too far.”

Amid the violent unrest that followed the infamous, highly publicized death of George Floyd during an altercation with a white policeman in late May of 2020, Delgado in early June authored a Washington Post op-ed titled, “I Know How Painful Racism Is. But We Can’t Give up on Voting.” Lamenting that had “cried many a tear as a black man in America” because he was so commonly perceived — by police and civilians alike — to be “a walking threat for no reason other than the blackness of [his] skin,” Delgado said it was vital for citizens to “elect prosecutors” who would “hold police officers accountable” for their misconduct.

On June 8, 2020, Delgado co-sponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Actlegislation that called for such measures as: the creation of a National Police Misconduct Registry; the implementation of “police training and practices to end racial and religious profiling”; a mandate for “training on racial bias”; the elimination of qualified immunity for police officers; the granting of subpoena power to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division; and the creation of incentives that would encourage state attorneys general to conduct “pattern and practice investigations” of police departments. “No single policy will undo centuries of systemic racism,” Delgado stated, “but today the House and Senate are taking an important step to increase the transparency and accountability in policing.”

In July 2020, Delgado joined 117 fellow House Democrats in signing a letter condemning the Trump Administration for having deployed federal law-enforcement personnel to Portland, Oregon, where Black Lives Matter– and Antifa-affiliated rioters were running rampant, and where a federal courthouse had been vandalized and set ablaze by arsonists. The letter expressed no condemnation of the destruction caused by the rioters, but instead denounced “a tyrannical and overweening federal government” and its “deployment of roving units of secret police under the control of the President” to carry out an “outrageous assault on the liberties of the people and the police powers and political sovereignty of the states.” “This is not legitimate law enforcement under our Constitution,” wrote Delgado and his co-authors, “but a shocking slide into authoritarianism and police state tactics.”

In his re-election campaign of 2020, Delgado was endorsed by a host of leftwing individuals and organizations including, among others: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Black Economic Alliance, the Human Rights Campaign, the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, MoveOn, the New York State AFL-CIO, and two chapters of the Service Employees International Union.

Following is an overview of Delgado’s stated positions on a number of key campaign issues:

  • Jobs: Delgado pledged to “continue the fight to increase the minimum wage.”
  • Health Care: Supporting “the goal of getting the profit motive out of our health care system,” Delgado boasted that he had introduced the Medicare-X Choice Act, which he said “would create a public option” and serve as “the best way to finally get us to universal healthcare coverage” – i.e., a government-run, single-payer system.
  • Tax Policy: Asserting that “trickle-down economics has never worked for the American people,” Delgado declared his “vehement” opposition to “tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest among us,” “loopholes that are only available to the super rich,” and policies that allow “big companies” to “shield … their profits overseas.”
  • Education: Delgado said “we need to invest in public education,” without mentioning that U.S. taxpayers were already spending $12,600 per year for each K-12 public-school student in the country. He also pledged to help “make college more affordable for every member of our district, by supporting the expansion of Pell Grants and increasing opportunities for student loan forgiveness and relief, including through public service.”
  • Environment: “The impact of climate change on our environment is undeniable,” said Delgado. “It is imperative that we work together — at a local, federal and global level — to mitigate the factors causing extreme and often unpredictable weather conditions.”
  • Women: Delgado pledged to “continue fighting to defend women’s … right to reproductive care” – i.e., taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy. He also “strongly support[ed]” the Paycheck Fairness Act, passed by the House, “in order to close the gender pay gap.”[1]
  • LGBTQ: Delgado in 2019 voted to pass the Equality Act, a bill designed to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal civil rights law.
  • Immigration: Delgado called for “comprehensive immigration reform that includes an attainable path to citizenship for undocumented people who are contributing to our economy and society,” particularly “the 1.3 million DREAMers and TPS [Temporary Protected Status] holders.”
  • Criminal Justice: “I support increasing funding for proven alternatives to incarceration,” said Delgado, “including treatment programs, drug courts, and mental health courts.” Having “seen firsthand how mass incarceration affects our communities,” the congressman added that “we need to end mandatory minimum sentences and ban private prisons” because “there is no room for a profit motive in incarceration.” Moreover, he stated that “we need to have a system that focuses on rehabilitation, not just incarceration”; “we should … have clemency programs to give people second chances”; and “we need bail reform” to prevent people from being jailed simply because they could not afford to pay their bail.
  • Guns: Delgado argued that gun violence should “be considered a public health crisis” in light of the fact that “35,000 Americans are killed by guns every year” – though he did not mention that more than 60% of those gun-related deaths were suicides. Asserting that “the National Rifle Association has a chokehold on many of our political leaders,” the congressman vowed that “I won’t take a cent of money from the NRA.”

In November 2020, Delgado won reelection to his House seat with 54.5% of the vote.

In February 2021, Delgado, noting that black and Hispanic Americans were displaying a disproportionately high degree of hesitancy to be vaccinated against the coronavirus pandemic, authored an op-ed identifying the United States’ history of “institutional racism” as the principal cause of that hesitancy. Americans “must acknowledge the dark truths of our nation’s past and the failures in our [healthcare] system that generate health disparities,” he explained, “in order to chart a path forward that delivers equal justice and vaccines for all” as well as “restored trust in government.”

As of November 2021, Delgado had reliably voted in favor of President Joe Biden’s positions 100% of the time since January of that year.

Footnotes

  1. When a number of key variables related to the respective career choices of men and women are taken into consideration, the “gender pay gap” disappears entirely. That is, when men and women work at jobs where their titles, their responsibilities, their qualifications, and their experience are equivalent, they are paid exactly the same. And contrary to conventional wisdom, this is not, by any means, a new phenomenon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it was true even decades ago. For further details, click here.