METROFOCUS: APRIL 2, 2019

Exclusive: Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) of Staten Island discusses the ideological divisions within the Democratic party, the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “factor” in Congress and around the country, his reaction to perceived anti-Semitism in Congress, and his 100 day scorecard. The Trump administration has reversed course on cutting funding for the Special Olympics, but the fallout continues. We have the details.

Aired on April 2, 2019. 

 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS.'

FRESHMAN CONGRESSMAN MAX ROSE OF STATEN ISLAND.

THE DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE REPUBLICAN STRONGHOLD OF RICHMOND COUNTY DISCUSSES THE IDEOLOGICAL DIVISION WITHIN HIS PARTY.

THE ALEXANDRIA CORTES, IS REACTION TO WHAT SOME CONSIDER ANTI-SEMITIC COMMENTS AND THE CRITICAL ISSUES HE'S BEEN TACKLING DURING HIS FIRST 100 DAYS IN ACTION.

PLUS, THE STORM HAS PASSED FOR THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS AS THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION REVERSES COURSE AND DECIDES THAT IT WILL FUND THIS IMPORTANT EVENT FOR THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS.

NEVERTHELESS, THE FALLOUT CONTINUES.

A SPECIAL REPORT JUST AHEAD.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS.'

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY --

GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

LAST NOVEMBER, DEMOCRTIC CONGRESSMAN MAX ROSE HAD A VICTORY IN NEW YORK'S 11th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.

A TRADITIONAL REPUBLICAN STRONG HOLD WHICH INCLUDES ALL OF STATEN ISLAND AND PARTS OF BROOKLYN AND WAS THE ONLY CITY TO GO FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP IN 2016.

NOW AS HE APPROACHES HIS FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE, ROSE IS TOUTING HIS WORK AS THE RAREST OF WASHINGTON LAWMAKERS, A BIPARTISAN CONCENSUS BUILDER TO WORK ACROSS THE AISLE.

THAT INCLUDES PROTECTING STATEN ISLAND FROM FUTURE SUPER STORMS AND AN EFFORT TO SECURE MORE FUNNING TO BATTLE THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.

A DECORATED VETERAN IN AFGHANISTAN, HE IS WORKING TO PASS A BILL FOR THE 9/11 VICTIMS COMPENSATION FUND.

HE DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS AN OLD SCHOOL DEMOCRAT AND HE HASN'T SHIED AWAY.

HE REASONLY CALLED THE GREEN NEW DEAL A SOCIALIST ECONOMIC AGENDA.

HE IS HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE APPARENT DIVISIONS WITHIN TT CONTRACTIC PARTY.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

WE'LL GET TO THE WORK YOU'RE DOING IN WASHINGTON AND HAVE BEEN DOING THE LAST THREE MONTHS AND TO YOUR AGENDA IN A MOMENT.

LET'S START WITH THOSE DIVISIONS AMONG THE DEMOCRATS THAT I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION.

AS YOU KNOW, CONGRESSWOMAN OCASIO CORTEZ HAS BECOME A POPULAR FIGURE.

MORE THAN SOME CANDIDATES.

IN PART SHE'S ACHIEVED THAT FAME BECAUSE OF HER GREEN NEW DEAL.

HER PLAN TO HELP SAVE THE PLANET FROM THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

YOU YOURSELF HAVE CALLED CLIMATE CHANGE A NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT.

SO WHY DO YOU OPPOSE THE GREEN NEW DEAL AND CALL IT A SOCIALIST ECONOMIC POLICY?

WELL, LET'S LOOK AT CLIMATE CHANGE IN AND OF ITSELF.

WE NEED URGENT AND BOLD ACTION.

I THINK THAT COMES IN THE FORM OF NEED SUBSTANTIVE AND INCREDIBLE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT.

WE NEED THE POWER PROJECTS FOR BATTERY TECHNOLOGY, OTHER FORMS OF CARBON FREE ENERGY PRODUCTION, SMART GRID SYSTEMS.

ALL OF THESE HAVE TO HAPPEN.

THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR MILQUETOAST INCREMENTALISM.

IT JUST ISN'T WITH.

THAT BEING SAID, NOTHING ABOUT WHAT I JUST SAID WOULD PROVIDE A JUSTIFICATION FOR A MASSIVE SOCIALIST ECONOMIC POLICY PLATFORM.

JUST NOT NEEDED.

WE CAN HAVE A SEPARATE DISCUSSION, A SEPARATE DEBATE ABOUT WHETHER THIS IS THE TIME AND WHETHER AMERICA NEEDS THOSE TYPES OF ECONOMIC POLICY PRESCRIPTIONS, JOB GUARANTEES, HOUSING GUARANTEES, THINGS THAT ON ITS FACE SOUND GOOD BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE ARE POSSIBLE.

THEY'RE NOT ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE.

THERE IS NO NEED TO LIE TO VOTERS.

WE DON'T NEED DEMOCRATIC VERSION OF REPEAL AND REPLACE.

WE DON'T NEED.

THAT LET'S DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM.

I'LL TELL YOU.

I'M JUST BUILDING A FAMILY RIGHT NOW.

I DON'T WANT MY FUTURE CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN TO LIVE IN A WORLD THAT IS UNSUSTAINABLE, INHOS INHOSPITABLE.

WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.

SO CONGRESSWOMAN OCASIO-CORTEZ AND MANY OTHER CLIMATOLOGISTS BELIEVE THE RECENT WEATHER EVENTS WE'VE BEEN EXPERIENCING INCLUDING THE HURRICANE IN PUERTO RICO ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

RECENTLY IN THE TOWN HALL, LAST WEEK SHE TALKED ABOUT HURRICANE MARIA.

WE HAVE A CLIP OF THAT.

I WONDER IF WE CAN GET A LOOK AT THAT.

ON THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS DIED IN THE LARGEST TERRORIST ATTACK ON U.S. SOIL.

AND OUR NATIONAL RESPONSE, WHETHER WE AGREE WITH IT OR NOT, OUR NATIONAL RESPONSE WAS TO GO TO WAR IN ONE AND THEN EVENTUALLY TWO COUNTRIES.

3,000 AMERICANS DIED IN PUERTO RICO IN THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE MARIA.

WHERE IS OUR RESPONSE?

SO CONGRESSMAN, SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE HER ANALOGY, HER COMPARISON, IS JUST RIGHT.

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE?

I'M NOT HERE TO SPEAK TO WHAT OTHER MEMBERS ARE SAYING WITH EACH AND EVERY QUESTION.

BUT I CAN TELL THAT YOU THE GOVERNMENT FAILED PUERTO RICO.

IT FAILED THEM.

WHAT WE DID WAS NOT ENOUGH.

WE DID NOT DIRECT ENOUGH RESOURCES.

AND PEOPLE SUFFERED AND DIED AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THAT.

AND THIS FAILURE, THIS GOVERNMENTAL FAILURE TO BE THERE IN THE WAKE OF A NATUTURAL DISASTER DIDN'T JUST HAPPEN IN PUERTO RICO.

I'VE SEEN IT HERE IN THE WAKE OF SUPER STORM SANDY.

THE GOVERNMENT FAILED THERE, TOO.

WE ARE JUST FINISHING AND INITIATING THE RESILIENCY PRONGS FROM THAT TIME SIX YEARS AGO NOW.

MY FIRST PIECE OF LEGISLATION WAS TO ELIMINATE LAST PIECE OF RED TAPE PREVENTING THE SEAWALL IN STATEN ISLAND FROM BEING BUILT.

SIX YEARS LATER PEOPLE ARE STILL STARING OUT AT WHAT DECIMATED THEIR LIVES.

WE HAVEN'T EVEN STARTED YET.

I PROMISE YOU, WHEN WE HAVE HER BACK ON THE SHOW, WE'LL ASK HER A LOT ABOUT YOUR POSITION.

SO I HAVE A COUPLE MORE QUESTIONS WITH HER NAME INVOLVED.

AND THE NEXT ONE IS THIS --

WE'LL JUMP IN.

I WON'T DODGE YOU.

YOU WERE AMONG THE 20 OR SO DEMOCRATS WHO JOINED HOUSE REPUBLICANS TO VOTE FOR AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO BE NOTIFIED IF AN UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT TRIED TO BUY A FIREARM.

THE PROGRESSIVES DIDN'T LIKE AND IT CONGRESSWOMAN OCASIO-CORTEZ, OF THOSE WHO STRAYED FROM THE FOLD.

SHE'S GOING TO KEEP A LIST.

YES.

THEIR THIS IS VERY SIMPLE.

I'M NOT ONE TO DEAL IN SUBTLETIES.

I'VE HEARD.

I THINK IT IS BEST NOT TO BE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE.

IF THEY WANT TO PRIMARY ME, I'LL LAY OUT THE RED CARPET.

WE CAN SETTLE THIS AT THE POLLS.

THIS IS VERY, VERY, VERY SIMPLE.

WITH THAT BEING SAID, I WAS HONORED TO VOTE FOR UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS, THE FIRST PIECE OF SUBSTANTIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE GUN REFORM AND GUN LEGISLATION PASSED BY CONGRESS IN A GENERATION.

IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS, ANOTHER FRESHMAN DEMOCRATIC MEMBER, ILHAN OMAR, HAS MADE SOME REMARKS THAT MANY BELIEVE REPEATED OLD ANTI-SEMITIC TROPES.

SHE SEEMED TO SAY THAT THOSE WHO SUPPORTED ISRAEL, AND SHE SAID THAT SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL IS ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS.

MONEY.

YOU REASONLY ATTENDED A MEETING OF THE JEWISH ASSOCIATION IN STATEN SXILD ACCORDING TO THE REPORTS, YOU WERE ROUNDLY CRITICIZED FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE REACTION.

TO THE CONGRESSWOMAN'S STATEMENTS.

WERE THE CRITICISMS FAIR?

I'M NOT SURE IF I'M READING THE SAME REPORTS AS WHAT YOU'RE REFERRING TO.

WHAT I SAW THOUGH WAS CERTAIN HEY COMMUNITY.

MOSTLY JEWISH STATTEN ISLANDERS WHO HAD BEEN HURT BY THOSE COMMENTS.

WHAT I CAME OUT AND SAID, LOOK, I DO APOLOGIZE AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FACT THAT THIS HAPPENED.

WE HAVE A BIG PROBLEM IN OUR POLITICS TODAY.

AND THERE IS THE FACT THAT PEOPLE ARE JUST CONSTANTLY POINTING FINGERS.

CONSTANTLY TRYING TO SKIRT RESPONSIBILITY.

ILHAN OMAR MADE COMMENTS THAT I FOUND DEEPLY OFFENSIVE.

I WAS THE FIRST TO CRITICIZE HER IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO WORK THOUGH TO MAKE SURE THESE COMMENTS DON'T CONTINUE.

YOU CAN CRITICIZE ISRAEL.

YOU CAN CRITICIZE BENJAMIN NETANYAHU.

THAT'S YOUR RIGHT IN THIS COUNTRY.

THAT'S WHAT THEY SAY THEY'RE DOING.

BUT WE DON'T HAVE TO DO IT WHILE ALSO RAISING ANTI-SEMITIC TROPES.

THIS SHOULD NOT BE DIFFICULT.

AND I BELIEVE WE HAD A THOROUGH CONVERSATION IN THE COMMUNITY.

THAT'S MY JOB.

WE SHOULD TELL OUR AUDIENCE THAT YOU'RE JEWISH YOURSELF.

I AM.

AND FIRST JEW TO EVER HOLD A CONGRESSIONAL SEAT IN MY DISTRICT.

BUT I'M CONFIDENT THAT WE ARE GOING TO MOVE PAST THIS RESPONSIBLE SGLI MAKE SURE THAT ISRAEL IS SUPPORTED, PROTECTED, THAT WE CONTINUE TO WORK TOWARD OUR NORTH STAR, BEING A TWO-STATE SOLUTION.

EVERYBODY WANTS PEACE HERE AND I REPRESENT ONE OF THE LARGEST MUSLIM COMMUNITIES IN ANY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN AMERICA OF I THINK WE'RE BEING PRESENTED WITH A FALSE CHOICE.

WE CAN CLEARLY ESTABLISH TRUE PEACE IN THE REGION AND I INTEND ON BEING PART OF THAT STORY.

ONE LAST QUESTION ON THAT MEETING.

AFTER THE MEETING, THE PRESIDENT OF THE ORGANIZATION WHO PUT THE MEETING TOGETHER SAID YOU HAD NOT PUT THE ROOM TO REST.

SOMEONE ELSE SAID THAT.

HOW DO YOU REACT?

MY JOB IS NOT TO MAKE EVERYBODY HAPPY.

I HAVE BEEN A LEADER IN TERMS OF PROTECTING WHAT I BELIEVE, THE JEWISH COMMUNITY HAS MANY WAYS RECENTLY, SUFFERED AN ONSLAUGHT OF RISING ANTI-SEMITISM.

IT IS SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE TO SPEAK TO.

THERE'S BEEN RISING INSTANCES OF ISLAM PHOBIA.

IT'S TIME TO BRING AMERICANS BACK TOGETHER AND I'LL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THE JEWISH COMMUNITY AND EVERY COMMUNITY IN MY DISTRICT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY FEEL FREE TO PRAY, TO OBSERVE THEIR RELIGIOUS FAITH, AND TO BE WHO THEY ARE.

IT IS ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE.

TURNING TO THE ISSUES OVER THE LAST THREE MONTHS AND YOUR AGENDA.

AS I MENTIONED THE INTRODUCTION, YOU WORKED ON A BIPARTISAN BILL TO MOVE FORWARD ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE EAST SHORE SEAWALL.

IT WAS JUST TWO WEEKS AGO.

WHY WAS THAT WALL NECESSARY AND WHAT ROLE DID YOU --

THE GOAL WITH THIS WALL IS TO PROTECT COMMUNITIES ON STATEN ISLAND FROM FUTURE SUPER STORMS.

IT IS RELATIVELY SELF-EXPLANATORY HOW IT WILL DO THAT.

AND IT COULD BE TIED INTO OTHER RESILIENCY AND OTHER PROJECTS THROUGHOUT THE BURREAUX RELATED TO FLOOD MITIGATION AND OTHER MATTERS.

IT IS AN ABSOLUTELY EXTENSIVE, HUGELY COMPREHENSIVE PROJECT WHICH WOULD INVOLVE BRINGING IN OVER A MILLION POUNDS OF STONE JUST TO BUILD THIS THING.

IT WILL TAKE YEARS TO FINISH.

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE BENEFITS.

NOT JUST FROM A MATTER OF REDUCING STRESS.

NOT JUST THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE AREA.

PEOPLE'S HOME PRICES RISING BECAUSE THERE ARE THESE PROTECTIONS.

ALSO, FOLKS' FLOOD INSURANCE BILLS WILL BE REDUCED.

WE'LL ACTUALLY PUT MONEY BACK IN PEOPLE'S POCKETS.

WE GOT THIS LAST PIECE OF LEGISLATION SIGNED IN REGARD TO REDUCING AN EASEMENT.

PREVENTING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FROM WORKING WITH, WHETHER IT IS THE CITY OR THE STATE OR AN ASSORTMENT OF OTHER AGENCIES AFFILIATED WITH THIS PRONG AND IT SPEAKS TO WHAT SOME OF THE FAILURES OF GOVERNMENT HAVE BEEN.

I THINK WE CAN BOIL THEM DOWN TO AN ABSENCE OF URGENCY.

SIX YEARS TO GET THIS THING DONE.

NOW WE'RE JUST STARTING ON THIS.

THE PROBLEM WITH OUR POLITICS TODAY IS THAT MEMBERS OF COMING THINK THE SINGULAR JOB IS TO SIGN A PIECE OF LEGISLATION, WRITE A PIECE OF LEGISLATION AND GET IT PASSED.

WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE OUR EYE OFF THIS PRONG.

IT WILL TAKE YEARS.

WE HAVE TO CONTINUE ON WORK WITH THE CITY AND STATE, THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, FEMA, WHOEVER IT IS, TO MAKE SURE IT IS NOT DISRUPTIVE.

WE'RE THINKING OF KEEPING THE BEACH OPEN.

THINGS THAT MATTER TO PEOPLE AND IT MATTERS TO US.

AND WE'LL SHOW THEM GOVERNMENT CAN WORK.

GOVERNMENT DOESN'T JUST HAVE TO BE THE PROBLEM.

SO YOU ALSO SAID THAT COMBATTING THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC WOULD BE ONE OF YOUR PRIORITIES.

I'M LEADING THE EFFORT IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO CALL FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDING SO WE CAN PUSH MORE MONEY TO STATE, CITIES AND NONPROFIT WHO'S ARE ENGAGING IN THE TRENCHES TO PROVIDE FURTHER TREATMENT, TO PROVIDE FURTHER WRAP-AROUND SERVICES.

IT IS ALL TOO RARE THAT SOMEONE IS JUST DEALING WITH A SUBSTANCE ABUSE ISSUE.

THEY HAVE A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE.

HOUSING ISSUES.

LAST YEAR OVER 70,000 PEOPLE DIED FROM OVERDOSES.

IF IT HAD BEEN A GANG, A VIRUS, SOMETHING THAT KILLED 70,000 PEOPLE, WE WOULD HAVE FOUND TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

WE WOULD HAVE DONE EVERYTHING TO GET AROUND IT.

FOR SOME REASON WE HAVEN'T DONE THIS IN THE PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS.

WE HAVE IN THE PAST.

THINK OF WHAT WE DID WITH HIV AIDS.

IN YEARS TO COME, HIV AIDS WILL NO LONGER BE CONSIDERED AN EPIDEMIC IN THIS STATE AND THAT'S BECAUSE WE MADE MASSIVE INVESTMENTS IN TREATMENT AND EDUCATION.

WE NEED TO DO THE SAME WHEN IT COMES TO THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.

THE OTHER THING YOU'VE DONE IS TO SECURE FOR THE VICTIM OF 95th FUND.

WHY IS THAT SO DIFFICULT?

WHEN IT SPEAKS TO WASHINGTON, D.C., HOW WASHINGTON, D.C. DOES NOT WORK FOR THE PEOPLE.

RIGHT NOW MEMBERS OF BOTH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, FOR THE LAST 17 YEARS, ON 9/11, THEY TWEET OUT, WE'LL NEVER FORGET.

THEY HAVE PICTURES OF THE TWIN TOWERS.

WHEN THEY COME TO NEW YORK TO RAISE MONEY, THEY MAKE SURE TO VISIT A FIRE HOUSE AND THANK EVERYBOD TAKE PICTURE FOR THEM.

NOW WE'RE DEBATING WHETHER WE SHOULD BE THERE FOR THE FIRST RESPONDERS AND THE COPS AND THE FIREMEN AND THE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS WHO WERE THERE AT GROUND ZERO IN THE DAYS AND WEEKS THAT FOLLOWED THE INCIDENT?

UNBELIEVABLE.

IT NEEDS TO BE FUNDED FOR THE DUR ACHES OF THE CENTURY.

THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT DOING THE RIGHT THING.

WE'VE DONE IT BEFORE.

WE CONTINUE TO PUN THE BALL, DELAY, DELAY, DELAY, KICK THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD AND WE'RE PUTTING THESE FAMILIES THROUGH AN INORDINATE AMOUNT OF STRESSFUL IS THE GOVERNMENT GOING TO BE THERE FOR ME?

IS MY FAMILY GOING TO BEMPOR SA AFTER I PASS?

AN UNBELIEVABLE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEND TIME WITH SOME OF THESE FIRST RESPONDERS.

PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE AFTER HAVE ANY.

TO A TEE THEY ALL DAY KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW.

WITH THE INCREDIBLE HEALTH ISSUES MY FRIENDS HAVE GONE THROUGH.

I WOULD MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION.

KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW.

THAT'S THE QUALITY OF THESE HEROES.

WE HAVE TO BE THIS FOR THEM IN THE SAME WAY THEY WERE HERE FOR US.

IF THEY'RE NOT, YOU CANNOT TWEET OUT I'LL NEVER FORGET.

YOUR BEST GUESS.

YES.

I AM CONVINCED THAT NOT ONLY WOULD THE SENATE DO THE RIGHT THING BUT THE PRESIDENT WILL AS WELL.

THE PRESIDENT HAD TAKE CARE OF HIS HOME TOWN HEROES.

HE'LL REMEMBER HE'S A NEW YORKER.

TRANSIS IT A BIG ISSUE FOR YOU AND FOR STATEN ISLAND.

THE DAILY COMMUTE IS A HORROR.

ON TOP OF IT BEING A NIGHTMARE, NOW THE TOLLS HAVE BEEN RAISED.

SO ACCORDING TO ONE REPORT, IT IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE ONE-WAY TOLL IN THE COUNTRY.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT ALL THIS?

NOT ONLY ARE STATEN ISLANDERS AND FOLKS IN SOUTH BROOKLYN EXPERIENCING THE COMMUNITY NIGHTMARE, BUT WE'RE SEEING IT IN THE COUNTRY AS WELL.

I'M SICK AND TIRED OF BEING THIS VIEW, THIS PEDESTRIAN, OUTER BURROUGH THING.

WE'RE SEEING COMMUTING NIGHTMARES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.

BUT IT IS PARTICULARLY STARK ON STATEN ISLAND.

70-MINUTE COMMUTES ON AVERAGE.

AMONG THE TOP THREE OF ANYONE IN THE COUNTRY.

EACH WAY.

EACH WAY.

NOW THEY'RE JUST MAKING IT IS MORE EXPENSIVE.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE IGNORE THESE PROBLEMS FOR A GENERATION.

THE CHICKENS ARE COMING HOME TO ROOST.

NO SILVER BULLET.

WE NEED EXPAND THE FERRY SERVICES.

EXPANDED ROADS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT GOING TO GET OUT OF THEIR CARS.

EXPANDED BUS RAPID TRANSIT SO MORE PEOPLE CAN SEE THAT THEIR COMMUTING TIME IS NOT JUST LOWER BUT MORE ENJOYABLE WHEN THEY GET OUT OF THEIR VEHICLE.

WE SEE THIS IN OTHER COUNTRIES, OTHER STATES.

IT REQUIRES THE RIGHT RESOURCES AND PRIORITIES.

WITH CONTINUED ADVOCACY AND FINALLY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PARTNERED.

ALL RIGHT.

WE'LL END IT THERE.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

> ON MARCH 27th, EDUCATION SECRETARY BETSY DeVOS PROPOSED THE ELIMINATION OF NEARLY $18 MILLION OF FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS.

HER ANNOUNCEMENT WAS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED BY CRITICISM FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE.

THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BERNIE SANDERS CALLED IT UNBELIEVABLE.

WHILE FORMER 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JOHN KASICH SAID IT WAS JOOUTRAGEOUS.

24 HOURS LATER TRUMP SAID WE'RE FULL FUNDING.

IT DOES MORE THAN SOME THINK AND FEDERAL FUNDING IS THE KEY TO ITS EXISTENCE.

HERE WITH ENSIGHTS, STACY, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

FIRST, DO I WARM TO START WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT WE HEARD FROM BETSY DeVOS.

EVEN THOUGH IT WAS WALKED BACK.

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD THAT?

I THINK I WAS.

I THINK ALL OF OUR NEW YORK FANS AND FRIENDS WERE VERY CONCERNED.

THIS FUNDING WAS TARGETED FUNDING FOR OUR UNIFIED CHAMPION SCHOOLS PROGRAM WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

IT WASN'T, WE'RE NOT FEDERALLY FUNDED PER SE THAT WE GET SO MUCH MONEY PER ATHLETE OR ANYTHING.

THIS WAS A PROGRAM THAT WE USE SPECIFICALLY FOR OUR WORK IN THE SCHOOLS.

IT IS A NEWER PROGRAM THE LAST DECADE OR SO.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN A HUGE CHAMPION OF THE UNIFIED CHAMPIONS SCHOOL PROGRAM.

IT REALLY PROMOTES INCLUSION WHICH IS REQUIRED BY OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

WE'RE HELPING THEM GET WORK DONE.

FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T REALLY GET WORK DONE, HOW MUCH PROVIDES TO ALL CHILDREN.

NOT JUST SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN BUT ALSO NONSPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN.

IF YOU THINK OF YOUR HIGH SCHOOL, YOUR SPORTS HIGH.

NOW IN 145 EXCUSE ACROSS NEW YORK STATE WE HAVE A UNIFIED TEAM WHICH MEANS HALF THE INSTITUTES HAVE IT AND HALF DON'T.

SO IT IS THE SAME RULES, SAME OFFICIALS, UNIFORMS, AS THE OTHER TYPICAL SPORTS TEAMS THAT WE'RE USED TO SEEING.

THAT'S JUST ONE COMPONENT.

WE WORK OTHER STUDENTS DIRECTLY WITH THEM TO HAVE ALL YEAR ROUND ACTIVITY THAT'S PROMOTE TOLERANCE AND EMPATHY AND SCHOOL SPIRIT.

SO IN ADDITION TO THE UNIFY THAT YOU JUST MENTIONED, WE HAVE LOTS OF PROGRAMMING.

WE HAVE THE SPORTS PROGRAMMING.

WE DO 5,800 COMPETITIONS A YEAR.

THIS WEEKEND WE HAVE A VOLLEYBALL.

THEY TRAIN ALL YEAR ROUND.

JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE A DISABILITY DOESN'T MEAN THAT.

IT IS AN AMAZING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY TO GET THESE TEENS TOGETHER AND TO WORK WITH THEM.

TO GET THEM TO THE REGIONAL LEVEL, THE STATES LEVEL.

WE JUST SPENT SIX PEOPLE TO ABU DHABI.

THEY JUST CAME BACK.

IT IS EXCITING AND WE COULD NOT DO IT WITHOUT OUR VOLUNTEERS.

GOING BACK TO THE WHOLE ISSUE OF FUNDING.

THAT'S AT THE FOREFRONT RIGHT NOW.

IS THIS FUNDING GOING TO THINGS LIKE TRAVELING?

ALL OF OUR ATHLETES COMPETE AND OUR UNIFIED PARTNERS.

THE STUDENTS WHO COMPETE WITH OUR STUDENTS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES.

IT IS ALL FREE OF CHARGE.

THEY HAVE ON TRAIN, GO TO THE BASKETBALL FACILITY AND WORK.

WE PAY FOR ALL OF THAT.

SO WE RELY FLAP TLOPIC DONATIONS AND NEW YORK CAUSE THE GOOD JOB SUPPORTING US.

WE HAVE LOTS OF WORK TO DO.

WE WANT TO HAVE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR ATHLETES.

WE HAVE LOTS OF GREAT PLANS TO DO THAT.

THEN AGAIN TO GO BACK TO FUNDING, SO MANY ISSUES BECOME PAWNS WHEN IT COMES TO THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVEL.

THE FACT THIS WAS EVEN CONSIDERED TO BE A CUT, I'M JUST WONDERING, WHAT WAS THE COMMUNITY'S REACTION THAT IT WAS EVEN ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK?

IT IS A BUMMER.

I THINK THE OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT THAT WE GOT SO FAST, AND ALL OF OUR OFFICES WERE FLOODED.

I THINK OUR VOLUNTEERS.

WE'VE GOTTEN FOUR TIMES THE INQUIRIES ABOUT VOLUNTEERING IN THE LAST WEEK AND ALL THE OFFICES THAT WE HAD IN THE WEEK PRIOR.

WE HAVE ONE SCHOOL THAT WROTE DIRECTLY TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO US.

WE COULDN'T FEEL BETTER ABOUT OURSELVES.

AND WE WERE DISAPPOINTED THAT THE GOVERNMENT FOR A SMALL PERIOD OF TIME DIDN'T VALUE THE WORK WE WERE DOING.

WE'RE HAPPY THAT WAS REVERSED.

WE'RE SO HAPPY THAT OUR MESSAGE IS THROUGHOUT TO SO MANY.

THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF NEW YORK HERE'S CAME RIGHT TO OUR DEFENSE.

SO OUT OF A POTENTIAL, THAT'S WHAT WE WANT TO FOCUS ON.

I THINK THAT'S WHAT YOU'LL FIND WITH SPECIAL OLYMPICS IN NEW YORK AND ALL OVER THE PROGRAM.

WE HAVE THE LARGEST, 68,000 ATHLETES.

IF YOU'RE INVOLVED, YOU FEEL GOOD.

YOU'RE DOING THE RIGHT THING.

YOU'RE GETTING TO MEET DIFFERENT PEOPLE.

IT'S FUN.

AS FIERCE AS THAT COMPETITION IS, THEY DO WANT THAT GOAL.

WHAT YOU WILL SEE, YOU WILL SEE TEAMMATES SHAKING EACH'S HANDS.

YOU GO AWAY HAVING SOMETHING TO CHEER ABOUT.

TO FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ON NEW YORK'S SPECIAL OLYMPICS PROGRAM, GO TO METRO FOLKS.ORG.

IT IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA.

YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PS SMPB ESPSE&G.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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