MIDDLETOWN — The crowd packed the auditorium Thursday night at Monhagen Middle School in Middletown, looking for information.
They came to hear State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. His job, he said, is "making government work for the people."
He talked about the role of his office, representing the people of New York against insurance companies that wield the power of life and death through coverage decisions; colleges that steered students to particular banks for loans in exchange for commissions; Dell Computer's bait-and-switch financing offers; the New York Regional Interconnect power-line proposal.
"I'm glad to see him come and address (issues) locally," said Sherri Moore-Lindo, who works for Orange County Human Rights. "The college stuff is wonderful. We don't get to hear enough of that."
Janet Ford of Middletown came for health-care information. "I just figure, the more I learn, the better off I'll be," she said.
After Cuomo spoke, the crowd broke up into groups by topic. In the environmental group, NYRI was a hot topic. A real estate agent voiced her concerns — that the proposed line would run 200 to 500 feet from her house, that it would drive down property values.
"How much more is Orange County supposed to endure for a dirty, coal-fired power plant in Canada?" she asked.
Katherine Kennedy, who heads up Cuomo's Environmental Protection bureau, told her the attorney general will keep working to stop NYRI. She pointed to the attorney general's lawsuit to halt federal power corridor designations. Cuomo's office is working with other states to challenge the federal siting law that threatens to push through NYRI and similar power lines.
"It's a hard fight. You guys are doing an excellent job of fighting it," Kennedy said. "You can count on our office to lead the legal fight."
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