Clarence – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) presented the recovered World War II medals of George Sentz, who passed away this past March, to his wife Clara Sentz and son Jerry Sentz. Mr. Sentz enlisted into the Army Air Corps during World War II and was deployed overseas to serve in Panama.
“It was a privilege to present to Mrs. Sentz and Jerry with the medals that Mr. Sentz had earned for his heroic actions from World War II,” said Congressman Collins. “Mr. Sentz was a true American hero who protected our country from harm’s way during World War II and I am honored that my office was able to recover the medals that he earned.”
During his time in Panama, Mr. Sentz was apart of a team that stopped three Japanese ships from crossing through the Panama Canal. His team also captured a Japanese submarine, preventing it from crossing into United States territory. He was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Honorable Service Lapel Button, and the Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar for his heroic actions during the war. Congressman Collins’ office recovered these medals that became lost over the years.
After being honorably discharged, Mr. Sentz entered the Erie County Technical School for Mechanical and Aerospace on the GI Bill. Upon graduation, Mr. Sentz worked at the American Optical, where he was on the forefront of inventing many products which are still used for eye examinations today. Mr. Sentz passed away on March 18th, 2019, widowing his wife of 69 years and leaving his two sons, five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
Surrounded by family and friends, Mrs. Sentz and Jerry were presented with the four medals recovered by Congressman Collins’s office, an American Flag that was flown over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and a Congressional Certificate of Commendation.
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) introduced legislation that would provide a short-term, one time fix, to help the non-seasonal agriculture workforce. The Helping Labor Personnel (HELP) Farms Act provides a solution for farmers across the nation, especially in the dairy industry, while Congress and the Department of Labor continues to modernize the H-2A program and allow visas be granted on an annual basis instead of seasonal.
“Under current law, the H-2A visa program does not help our struggling dairy farms, who live in constant fear of losing their workforce,” said Congressman Collins. “This legislation provides a temporary solution while Congress and the Department of Labor work together to find a bipartisan solution.”
This legislation requires the Secretary of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Labor, to collect applications for temporary work authorization for non-seasonal agriculture workers. This non-seasonal agriculture workforce must be sponsored by a United States employer who he/she has worked with for at least two years. Upon approval of the application, the alien worker will be granted work authorization for two years along with his/her spouse and children. Additionally, protections are included for the sponsoring employer to ensure there are no consequences for employing an alien workforce due to an outdated and flawed H-2A visa program.
“There is not a single person representing dairy that does not understand we have a true crisis with the current system we have in place,” added Collins.
An alien worker who currently works in a non-seasonal agriculture occupation may be permitted to apply to this temporary work authorization program so long as they have not been convicted on felony charges of rape, kidnapping violent assault, sexual assault, or suspected of terrorism. Alien workers who are currently being detained may also be given the opportunity to apply for this program.
A copy of the bill can be found here:
Clarence, NY – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today recognized former U.S. Army Air Corps Sergeant Daniel Gill of Livonia, NY as his office’s May ‘Veteran of the Month.’
“I am honored to have the opportunity to meet Sergeant Daniel Gill and thank him for his service to our country during World War II,” said Congressman Collins. “Seeing him receive this honor surrounded by family and friends was truly special. We are all grateful for his service and my office will continue to recognize a local ‘Veteran of the Month’ as a small thank you to the thousands of Western New York veterans who have selflessly served our country.”
Prior to enlisting, Mr. Gill flew airplanes recreationally which encouraged him to graduate from high school early so he could enlist into the United States Army Air Corps at the age of 18. Mr. Gill was deployed to Berlin, Germany during World War II, where he was a pilot on a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft. During his free time, Mr. Gill played on a baseball team at the base camp and would play against local Germans. After returning home from the war, Mr. Gill was honorably discharged and worked as an engineer for Taylor Instruments until he retired. Mr. Gill has been married to his wife, Renate, for 40 years and together they have several children and grandchildren in the Rochester area.
Amongst friends and family, Mr. Gill was presented with an American Flag that was flown over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and a Congressional Certificate of Commendation.
To nominate a NY-27 ‘Veteran of the Month’ please submit an inquiry to NY27Veteran@mail.house.gov, or contact our district office at (716) 634-2324.Read More
Clarence, NY – Today Congressman Chris Collins addressed the rising water levels of Lake Ontario at the Oak Orchard Harbor which he has continually pointed to the International Joint Commission (IJC) and its Plan 2014 as the reason for the continued flood concerns. The Congressman was joined by Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey, Orleans County Legislature Chairman Lynn Johnson and other elected officials who share the same concerns of a possible flooding along the Western New York shoreline.
“For months now we have watched Lake Ontario’s water levels increase and it is very close to the same level measured when flooding occurred in 2017,” said Congressman Collins. “The IJC management of our shoreline and lake levels continues to be disastrous for shoreline communities.”
Since the IJC has failed to manage the Lake Ontario’s water levels during the Spring season, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency services has deployed 800,000 sandbags, hundreds of pumps, and 920 feet of temporary dams to prepare and protect those along the shoreline who will be affected. Counties along the shoreline are still contemplating calling for States of Emergency and are closely monitoring the water levels day-by-day. Congressman Collins has been a strong advocate for new commissioners to be put into place at the IJC, but it is up to the Senate to hold a final vote to confirm President Trumps nominations of Assemblywoman Jane Corwin to serve as the new IJC Chair and two new commissioners.
“Plan 2014 has failed the lakeshore communities once and it will fail again unless new IJC Commissioners are in place to conduct a new review of Plan 2014,” added Congressman Collins.
Congressman Collins will continue to put pressure on the Senate to hold a final vote, as well as closely monitor the rising water levels of Lake Ontario.Read More
Washington, D.C. – As Ontario Lake levels continue to rise, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) is warning that a new round of south shore flooding and erosion is likely with harsh Spring weather. Collins has continually pointed to the International Joint Commission (IJC) and its Plan 2014, which was approved at the close of the Obama Administration, as the culprit for continued flood concerns.
“The water levels are increasing at a rate of ½ inch per day on average and this is putting shoreline property owners and businesses at risk,” said Congressman Collins. “As I have said before, we cannot wait until our community is impacted by another flooding to take action, especially when this situation could have been prevented.”
As a result of growing flooding and erosion concerns, Collins has authored a letter to United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer imploring them to confirm new IJC Commissioners. The Trump Administration has nominated for Assemblywoman Jane Corwin to serve as the new IJC Chair along with two new commissioners. These appointments are currently awaiting Senate confirmation.
“The IJC’s current management of Lake Ontario water levels continues to be disastrous for shore communities.” added Collins. “Only with new IJC Commissioners can we get a new review of Plan 2014, and ultimately better management for lake waters.”
Lake shore counties Niagara and Orleans are already contemplating States of Emergency, while emergency coordinators are already requesting sandbags and pumps in an attempt to preserve and protect those who will be affected.
"What will make a big deference is the winds. If we get a strong nor-easter, the waves will push the already high water to extremes, that's when the real devastation will hit. If it does, we are prepared to issue a State of Emergency as we did in July of 2017," said David Godfrey, chairman of the Niagara County Legislature's Community Safety and Security Committee.
"Our Emergency Management Office and our volunteer fire companies are standing by to help our residents. We are ready to deploy sandbags, having stockpiled about 6,000 at the Newfane Highway Department garage, and will call for more as needed. The state is also ready to help fortify the shoreline, by deploying National Guard troops and equipment like a 50-foot, water-filled barrier known as an aqua dam,” Godfrey added.
“Our residents never completely recovered and now the fear is back,” said Lynne Johnson, Orleans County Legislature Chairman. “The county's emergency services workers and volunteer fire companies are as ready as possible for flooding after the hard lessons learned two years ago. We have already asked for 100 pallets of already-filled sandbags and will surely need more.”
"We were blindsided in 2017, but we have been working together so we're hopefully ahead of the game," Johnson added. "The state agencies are on alert. They are ready to assist our emergency managers and they know the impact we had in 2017."
A text of the letter can be found hereRead More
Clarence, NY – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) joined participating high school students and their families at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery, located on the Genesee Community College campus, for a brief reception to announce the winner, runner up, and honorable mentions of the 2019 Congressional Art Competition.
“Each year I look forward to viewing all the artwork submitted by the talented student artists throughout New York’s 27th Congressional District,” said Congressman Collins. “While each of the 46 artwork submissions were impressive, our art competition judges ultimately selected William Palmer, from Batavia High School, as this year’s winner. I look forward to welcoming William and his family to Washington, D.C. to view his art piece displayed in the Capitol.”
This year’s Congressional Art Competition displayed artwork of 49 high school students from 16 high schools within New York’s 27th Congressional District. The 2019 winner, William Palmer, will receive a round trip flight to Washington, D.C., where he will join hundreds of high school artists nationwide to see their artwork displayed in the U.S Capitol for one year.
2019 Congressional Art Competition Winners
William Palmer, Batavia High School
Mya Showalter, Clarence High School
Haley Dalberth, Livonia High School
Grace Rudolph, Batavia High School
John Bruggerman, Batavia High School
Congressman Collins would like to extend a special thanks to Genesee Community College and President James Sunser, the art competition judges, Roz Steiner Art Gallery Director Mary Jo Whitman and Associate Professor of Photography & Art Joe Ziolkowski, and all of the teachers, parents and students who participated in this year's Congressional Art Competition for making this event a success.
Clarence, NY - Today Congressman Chris Collins was presented with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual Spirit of Enterprise Award. This award was presented to Congressman Collins in recognition of his support of pro-growth policies in the second session of the 115th Congress.
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce works tirelessly to ensure Congress is supporting policies that will help grow our economy and create more jobs here in America,” said Congressman Collins. “I am honored to once again receive the Spirit of Enterprise Award and I want to thank the Chamber for its continued advocacy on behalf of over 3 million U.S. businesses.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award is given annually to members of Congress based on their votes on critical business and job legislation, as outlined in the Chamber’s annual scorecard. Members of Congress were scored on votes related to access to capital for small business, ensuring our workforce has the skills necessary for the jobs of tomorrow, and helping American manufacturers compete in a global economy.
After supporting legislation such as the “Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018” and the “Medical Device Tax Repeal,” Congressman Collins received a “92% 2018 Score” by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Please click here to view additional pro-growth policies that Congressman Collins supported in the second session of the 115th Congress.
For more information about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award, please visit: https://www.uschamber.com/press-release/us-chamber-recognizes-318-members-of-congress-pro-business-votesRead More
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) reintroduced legislation that prevents states from diverting fees collected from consumers on their phone bills, which are meant to be used to improve 9-1-1 emergency communications systems. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has found that New York diverts at least 41% of 9-1-1 fees that are collected for non-public safety related purposes. Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) co-lead on the bill has also seen 9-1-1 fee diversion in California.
“It is completely unacceptable that states, like New York, continue to rob our emergency response systems of important and necessary resources by diverting funds,” said Collins.“ Diverting these fees puts lives in danger, especially in rural areas. I thank Congresswoman Eshoo for her support once again of this legislation and her commitment to making sure all communities across the nation can achieve the highest level of safety.”
“State and local governments charge citizens 9-1-1 fees on their phone bills to support emergency services, but some states divert this revenue to other government projects unrelated to improving public safety,” Rep. Eshoo said. “In fact, nearly $285 million in 9-1-1 fees collected by states were diverted for non-9-1-1 purposes in 2017, taking away valuable resources from already strapped public safety budgets. This bipartisan legislation directs the FCC to crack down on this practice to ensure taxpayer dollars collected for emergency services are actually invested in emergency services.”
Passage of this bill will direct the FCC, in consultation with public safety organizations, and state, local and tribal governments, to determine the appropriate use of funds collected from consumers. Currently, states are able to set their own definition of what is a covered cost for 9-1-1 fees, which has allowed them to divert fees.
Last April, Collins toured the Niagara County 9-1-1 call center with FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly where they called on the state of New York to stop diverting fees. Unfortunately, fee diversion continues in New York and other states around the country.
Clarence, NY – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today recognized U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Sergeant and prisoner of war Casmier “Casey” Bukowski of Lancaster, NY as his office’s ‘Veteran of the Month.’
“Mr. Bukowski turned his passion for airplanes into a career that made a huge impact his life,” said Congressman Collins. “I am honored to present Mr. Bukowski with a small gesture of gratitude for his service to our nation during World War II. It is veterans like Mr. Bukowski who are great assets to our communities and it is imperative to recognize him, along with the numerous patriotic veterans in New York’s 27th District who continue to serve our country.”
Casmier “Casey” Bukowski enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps as a gunner on a B-17 airplane which was nicknamed “Friday the 13th”. Mr. Bukowski flew out of Ridgewell, England and completed 14 successful missions. On his 15th mission, Mr. Bukowski’s plane was shot down by German Bf 110 fighters. Out of the seven crew members on the mission, only three survived the attack. Mr. Bukowski sustained serious injuries from the impact, including one that would later require his right eye to be removed. He was taken as a prisoner of war by German soldiers and sent to a POW camp in East Prussia. Mr. Bukowski was forced to march for 82 days before being liberated by American soldiers in Leipzig. When Mr. Bukowski returned home, he was honorably discharged and received the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, and the Prisoner of War Medal.
Amongst friends and family, Mr. Bukowski was presented with an American Flag that was flown over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and a Congressional Certificate of Commendation.
To nominate a NY-27 ‘Veteran of the Month’ please submit an inquiry to NY27Veteran@mail.house.gov, or contact our district office at (716) 634-2324.
Clarence, NY – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today hosted a Vietnam War Commemoration Event at the American Legion Post 527 in Hamburg honoring more than 100 Vietnam Era veterans and distributed commemorative lapel pins from The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. This event was part of a national effort to recognize and thank Vietnam Veterans during the second National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
“As we commemorate the second National Vietnam War Veterans Day, the memory is vivid in the minds of these outstanding individuals,” said Congressman Collins. “ We hold these Veterans in a high regard for what they had endured during their time in combat. This was an extraordinarily humbling evening and these Veterans have my deepest gratitude for their selfless service.”
President Donald Trump officially designated each March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day to honor and thank U.S. Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices. Approximately 9 million Americans, 7 million living today, served in the military from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. More than 58,000 Americans died while serving during Vietnam war era.
“I was honored to meet so many remarkable men and women this evening,” Collins added. “ There are never enough ways to say thank you to someone who is willing to sacrifice themself for our nation.”
The Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin is available to any veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. Any veteran interested in receiving more information regarding the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin should contact Congressman Collins district office at 716-634-2324.
2243 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Chris Collins represents New York’s 27th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. The 27th District of New York includes 105 towns spread out over eight counties in Western New York and the Finger Lakes. The residents of NY-27 first elected Mr. Collins to Congress in November of 2012 and he won reelection in November of 2016 and November of 2018.
Previously, Congressman Collins served on the House Small Business, Agriculture and Science, Space and Technology committees, and The House Energy and Commerce Comittee.
Chris comes to Capitol Hill with extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. Before serving as Erie County Executive, Chris built a career as a business owner and entrepreneur, creating and saving hundreds of American jobs.
Private Sector Businessman
Chris Collins is a successful small businessman with 36 years in the private sector, saving and creating hundreds of good-paying jobs in Erie, Niagara, and Monroe counties. His current companies include:
The key to success at all of these companies is the implementation of Lean Six Sigma, which drives efficiency and quality.
The Congressman began his professional career with Westinghouse Electric in 1972, spending eleven years with the company in various positions of increasing responsibility including Manager of the Westinghouse Gear Division. When Westinghouse announced it was closing its Buffalo facility, Collins purchased the assets of the Gear Division and founded Niagara Falls based industrial gear manufacturer Nutall Gear Corporation in 1983.
Erie County Executive
In 2007, Chris Collins was elected Erie County Executive despite a voter enrollment of almost two Democrats for every one Republican. He took over the largest county in Upstate New York with a $1.2 billion budget and 5,000+ employees. At the time, Erie County was effectively bankrupt; having a state imposed control board, no cash surplus, runaway debt, and many roads, bridges, parks, and beaches inoperative. Remarkably, Collins’ business mentality and implementation of Lean Six Sigma resulted in a staggering turnaround for Erie County. In 4 years, Erie was transformed from a county in the worst financial shape of any county in New York State to one with financial prospects and upward trajectory. During his tenure, Collins’ accomplishments included:
In Erie County, Collins articulated 6 core values that formed the basis for his decision-making. Now, he carries these core values to Washington as the Congressman for New York’s 27th Congressional District.
Leadership in times of emergency
In February 2008, Erie County experienced a Hepatitis A emergency when an infected employee handled produce at a popular supermarket. Over the course of several days, the County vaccinated and inoculated 10,000 people to protect the public. The event was one of the largest vaccination events in the history of the United States.
One year later, tragedy struck Erie County when Continental Flight 3407 crashed in a residential neighborhood, killing all 49 passengers and crew on board, and one person on the ground in Clarence Center. Collins was one of the first public officials on the ground and immediately declared the situation a State of Emergency. Throughout the night and over the next several days, Collins worked to ensure the cooperation of Erie County departments and other government agencies in the recovery, investigation and family support efforts.
In the summer of 2009, flooding devastated Southern regions of Erie County. Dozens of homeowners lost the contents of their basements and first floors. Collins mobilized the County’s Emergency Services and Public Works departments to assist local governments in their recovery efforts. Erie County also successfully lobbied the Federal government to provide FEMA aid dollars to both local governments and individual homeowners.
Chris lives in Clarence, NY with his wife Mary. He has 3 children and 4 grandchildren. He has a BS Mechanical Engineering from NC State and an MBA in Finance from University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a life-long member of Boy Scouts, an Assistant Scoutmaster, an Eagle Scout, a member of the Executive Board – Greater Niagara Frontier Council (GNFC) and chairman of the GNFC National Jamboree for 2001, 2005, 2010, 2013, and 2017 as well as the World Jamboree for 2007. Chris is the recipient of the prestigious Silver Beaver Award for service to scouting and named 2005 Horizon Citizen of the Year.
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