(Editor’s note - This is the first of a two-part article. Thursday, a look at what to expect if voters send Tedra Cobb to congress.)
WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - What would another two years of Elise Stefanik in Washington be like?
Judging from what Stefanik has said, a lot like the last six years.
Stefanik, a Republican, is running for a fourth term in office. She’s opposed by Democrat Tedra Cobb.
At stake: New York’s 21st congressional district, a sprawling district which takes in all of 10 north country counties - including Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence - and parts of two others.
When north country voters go to the polls next Tuesday - or vote early, or vote by mail - they’re basically deciding who to hire to represent us in Washington.
Stefanik argues she’s doing the job now, and re-electing her just continues a track record of success.
“I make sure the north country has a seat at the table at the highest levels,” she said.
Some of the successes Stefanik points to:
- Her work on behalf of north country farmers in the 2018 farm bill and the U.S. - Mexico - Canada - Trade Agreement of 2019.
- Getting more than $165 million for north country hospitals, and other relief for them during the COVID crisis.
- Her support of the Paycheck Protection Program, which helped small businesses keep employees during the early months of the pandemic.
- Getting Fort Drum designated as the preferred east coast missile defense site.
“We’re gonna work over the next couple of years to get that done, but having that named in the defense bill is a big, big deal for our community,” Stefanik said.
Stefanik, like virtually every other Republican, has repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But she also argues she’s gone beyond just ‘repeal and replace.’
“I’ve been one of the bipartisan leaders, writing the largest fix to Obamacare, signed into law by President Obama,” she said during a debate held at WWNY.
And she supports keeping the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act.
“We absolutely must protect those with pre-existing conditions - I have family members who have pre-existing conditions. We should let young people stay on their parents' plan until the age of 26, allow health care to be purchased across state lines, and ensure small businesses can pool together when it comes to purchasing their health care,” she said.
Stefanik chooses her words carefully when discussing Social Security and Medicare. She doesn’t say “cutting,” instead calling to ‘modernize’ the two programs.
“I think we should make no changes to Social Security and Medicare for those who are the age of 50 or above, but we need to be making sure we are modernizing our programs so they exist for future generations,” she said.
Stefanik has closely, publicly allied herself with President Trump, but said she can “absolutely” be an effective representative of the district if Joe Biden wins the presidency and Democrats take control of the senate as well as the house.
“I support President Trump, President Trump supports me, but I’m running on my record of results, and that’s being able to work effectively with the president to get things done for this district,” she said.
“I’ve been an effective member of congress with a Democratic president and also with a Republican president, and that is what my commitment is, always representing this district.”