Remembering Congressman Maurice Hinchey, hero of the working class


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  • Maurice Hinchey receiving the "Friend of Labor" Award in 2012. Photo by Aviva Meyer, taken in Waryus Park, Poughkeepsie, Oct. 2006 (Photo provided)



Maurice D. Hinchey, a former United States representative from New York who built a reputation as a champion of the environment and blue-collar workers over a political career that spanned nearly four decades, died on Nov. 22 at his home in Saugerties, in the Hudson Valley. He was 79. From 2003–2013 he represented the 22nd district, which included all of Sullivan, Ulster, and parts of Broome, Delaware, Dutchess, Orange, Tioga, and Tompkins counties. Below is a tribute from the Hudson Valley Labor Leaders who were so fortunate to have Honorable Maurice Hinchey as their Representative for the working people.

“Former congressman Maurice Hinchey was best described as a progressive populist among his peers. Furthermore, known for his staunch support of the labor movement and the rights of working men and women. Truly a sad day for organized labor and a great friend who will be truly missed.” Ron Diaz, President of HVALF and UA Business Agent

"The first time I met Maurice Hinchey occurred when I became the Political Action Coordinator for ED 14 for NYSUT. At the annual Kingston Legislative Brunch in January, representatives were invited and Maurice often spoke. He was welcomed with great enthusiasm and spoke from the heart, as he always did. He had a reputation as a spokesperson and advocate for working people everywhere: teachers, tradesmen, nurses, and other public employees. He served his congressional district with distinction and by example. He was always available to listen to the concerns of his constituents and responded in kind when they needed him.His passing marks the end of his life but not his legacy. That achievement will never fade from our memory." Paul Ellis-Graham, Past President of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation, Past member NYSUT Board of Directors

"We are thankful to have had the good fortune of having Maurice Hinchey as an advocate for working people, Congressman Hinchey was always a good friend to CSEA and all of labor. Having worked as a toll collector as a young man, he understood the work our members do and was able to speak from experience as he advocated on their behalf. We are saddened by his passing, but grateful for the legacy he has left through his good works." Billy Riccaldo, CSEA Southern Region President

“On behalf of the working men and women of the Hudson Valley, I wish the Maurice Hinchey family our most heartfelt condolences. Hinchey’s decades of advocacy for his constituents earned him the utmost respect from both sides of the isle that few people in Washington, D.C. can claim today. Those who had the privilege to know Maurice Hinchey knew him to be a caring, down to earth leader. Hinchey was a true friend to organized labor. He will be missed by all.” Sparrow Tobin, Treasurer of HVALF, NYSUT ED, Middletown Alderman Elect

"We in Labor are deeply saddened at the passing of Congressman Maurice Hinchey. We are grateful to have had Maurice as our Representative. Maurice lead the progressive charge on so many issues never wavering for what was right for the working man and woman. It was a personal honor to work with Maurice and when he was busy righting the wrong in DC, he sent his Staff, Dan, Chris, Wendy, Annie in his place. RIP Maurice." Beth Soto, Executive Director of HVALF.

"The working men and women of the Hudson Valley have lost a champion for their causes and the causes of the middle class when we lost a good man like Representative Maurice Hinchey. He truly did work for everyone and he will be missed by everyone." Sam Fratto, Business Manager, IBEW Local 363

“I had the honor of working with Maurice on several occasions. He is a true champion of the working people." Barry Russell, Principal Officer, Teamsters Local 445

“As Thanksgiving is upon us, I am saddened to hear the news Maurice Hinchey’s passing. I am thankful though to have known him as a friend, a champion for labor, and genuinely good person that cared about people. He will be missed.” Frank J Fauci Jr., President, CWA Local 1120.

"Maurice was a consistent champion of our members and workers in general. He was one of the first political leaders in the area to step up and support the Ferncliff nursing home workers when they organized back in the late 90s into 1199, which opened up the area to more healthcare workers joining 1199. He was a shining example of what our elected officials should be. Our condolences go out to his family." Greg Speller, EVP 1199SEIU

“We lost a great man and huge defender of the environment. From fighting to clean up the PCB pollution of the Hudson to fighting organized crime and illegal dumping, he was a guy who dedicated a majority of his public life to making a difference and protecting our natural resources and so much more. Mighty Mo never shyed away from a fight worth fighting. A great loss to us all.“ Craig Dickson, UWUA Local 1-2 Business Agent

"Maurice Hinchey was a true leader in fighting for social justice and equal rights for all. Great leaders like him inspire greatness in others. May he rest in peace." Antonella Pechtel, NYSNA

"I’m so saddened at the news of Maurice’s death. We were friends from his days in the NY Assembly — and he came to Rockland to be the “headliner” for a fundraiser for me 30 years ago. I had the pleasure of presenting him with Rockland County’s Distinguished Service Award, when he was honored by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission at its annual dinner at Bear Mountain some years ago at the time he had announced he would no longer serve in Congress. What a cruel twist of fate that someone with so much value to contribute was unable to continue as a spokesman for our state and nation. Maurice was a shining star, always representing the best interests of the people." Rockland County Legislator Harriet Cornell

"Maurice will remembered as a friend as well as a politician to people across party lines. He would fight for your cause because he believed in it and it did not matter what party you belonged too. We have much to be grateful for in the Hudson Valley for all the hard work he did for us. He has been truly missed these last few years and we are still waiting for a representative that can follow in his footsteps." Diana Cline, President Mid-Hudson APWU

"Rest in peace Maurice. A true hero of the working class and poor a real voice in Congress to lift people up. Over the past 35 years I've had the privilege of speaking with Maurice weather it was at the Boy Scouts show in Kingston or at the Democratic Convention he was always a true gentleman and always listened to what I had to say he will be missed by all God bless rest in peace." Gerard Lyons, SEIU 200 United

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