maurice hinchey

House of Representatives / Courtesy photo

Maurice Hinchey's office announced Wednesday that the Congressman will not seek reelection this year.

The 73-year-old Democrat represented New York's 22nd District, which includes Binghamton, Ithaca and Monticello. First elected in 1992, Hinchey is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and a member of the Banking Committee.

He consistently voted with fellow Democrats in the Republican-controlled House, one notable exception was his vote against extension of Bush-era tax cuts, which was supported by a majority of both Democrats and Republicans.

Keith Marshall / via Flickr

The Greater Binghamton Business Journal had an update last week (that's just as quickly gone behind a paywall) on a $1.5 million contract awarded to ENSCO, a military contractor in Endicott.

The contract itself is small potatoes, according to the Business Journal's report, estimated to create about two jobs and retain four, for a company with 225 employees. But the grant will help fund the company's in-depth exploration of high-tech visualization tools for military use.

Emma Jacobs / WSKG

Broome County was hoping for $750,000 in federal dollars to restore its historic Forum Theater in downtown Binghamton. But word arrived this week it would meet the fate meted out to many a project hoping for a boost from the federal government.

Emma Jacobs / WSKG

On the eve of Congress's return to Washington, two central New York congressman, from opposing parties, say they expect challenges to federal spending in the coming session.

Republican Congressman Tom Reed was swept into Eric Massa’s empty 29th District seat in November.  Reed wasn't an "official" tea party candidate, but he did have support from the tea party movement.

Speaking by phone from Washington on Tuesday, Reed said he expected to see a new emphasis on cutting spending in the 112th Congress - and that new members like him should play a significant role.

"Right now all signs are positive that we are talking as a group, meeting as a group, and we are standing firm, together as a group," said Reed.

Reed doesn’t discount the possibility of a federal shutdown to balance the budget. His fellow House Republicans have committed to cutting $100 billion from domestic spending (or perhaps a little less), but have said the military will be spared.

That's important in the Southern Tier, where lots of industry centers around contractors and manufacturing.  And the possibility that the military won't be cut has given some cause for hope to nine-term Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey.  

Hinchey spoke with Lockheed Martin employees in Owego Tuesday, at the formal announcement of two new Navy helicopter contracts worth $249 million. He says he's still hopeful that federal dollars will be heading to the region for important projects.

"That may be an element of my personality, I don’t know, but nevertheless, I’ve feeling optimistic about it," Hinchey said.

Both sides also report being optimistic about working together. We'll see how that holds up next week as Congress takes up health care.

Citizenactionny / via Flickr

New York’s 22nd  congressional race has been identified as a possible Republican pickup. It’s a longshot, but the chance has focused national attention on the race. The conversation in the campaign so far has been mostly about the economy. The question is whether it’s the local economy or the national one that’s most important to voters.

Speaking before a campaign event in Endicott Friday, Maurice Hinchey acted surprised when asked about the perception of a tightening race between himself and his Republican opponent, George Phillips.