WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - North country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik will speak to her party and the nation Wednesday night during the Republican National Convention.
But first, she spoke with our Washington correspondent Kyle Midura.
For many political observers it can seem like there are two sides of Elise Stefanik.
There’s the moderate – with a reputation for working across the aisle - and more recently, the fierce defender of the president, vocally backing him in Congress and on cable news.
On night three of the Republican National Convention, the stage is set for one of the party’s rising stars: Rep. Elise Stefanik.
“My priority is making sure the north country has a seat at the table and is heard in front of a national audience,” said Stefanik (R. - 21st District). “I’m going to highlight the positive of President Trump’s record, and touch upon Joe Biden’s 47-years of failure.”
In our interview, Stefanik did not offer a full accounting of Biden’s alleged missteps, but praised president Trump’s economic track record, support for the military, and handling of the pandemic.
Despite the president’s repeated assurances coronavirus would be quickly contained, the death count now stands at more than 170,000, and America averages 40,000 new infections every day.
“We were ambushed, because the federal government failed,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.
The north country region doesn’t need to look too far, up to Canada, to see a country that hasn’t seen the per-capita death rate or infection rate.
Stefanik argues America leads the world in testing and any blame rests with China and New York’s own government.
“If you look at where deaths were highest, it was because of Governor Cuomo’s failed leadership and nursing home policies,” she said.
Four years ago, asked about then-candidate Trump, Stefanik offered only lukewarm support.
But, she consistently downplays disagreements – like when she voted against the president’s signature tax cuts in 2017 or called for more COVID testing and federal support this April.
And when she supports the president, she’s full-throated, as witnessed during the impeachment saga – winning praise from the man himself.
For Stefanik, a member who ranks as one of the most bi-partisan in Congress, and skipped 2016′s convention altogether, taking center stage Wednesday night reflects a new standing within her own party.