Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Scoop: Re-elect Elise Stefanik

By Mark Frost, Chronicle Editor

Elise Stefanik is an extremely effective member of Congress. She makes significant headway for the 21st District. She’s smart, hard-working, knows the communities’ needs and tries to address them.

Glens Falls Hospital has struggled for years because it serves a largely poor, rural area but isn’t accorded the rural designation that would open up funding streams. Congresswoman Stefanik didn’t just deliver the hospital $44-million, she’s working through change to make the rural designation permanent.

Lake George needed big money for its new sewage treatment plant. It came from the Northern Border Regional Commission because Rep. Stefanik inserted a provision into a farm bill making all 12 of her counties eligible for funding from it.

When I interviewed Dr. John Rugge for the front-page article in this issue, he volunteered — no prompt from me — “Elise Stefanik is the lead champion in the House” in winning funding for community health centers such as Hudson Headwaters Health Network. No doubt she leads too for Fort Drum in the northwest part of the district.

Mind you, she’s a minority Republican in the Democrat controlled House and she still gets big things done.

Yes, but she’s for Trump, you say.

I would respond, first, being in good with the President is a strategic advantage to be cultivated by any legislator intent on getting the maximum value for her district.

But she prostituted herself by doing things she doesn’t believe in and opposing his impeachment.

I don’t think that’s true. I think she viewed impeachment as unwarranted, doomed and divisive. I think she believes Donald Trump has done some good things and some bad things — as the majority of her constituents probably believe. Two years ago Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the 21st District, 53.9% to 40%.

How dare Elise Stefanik be in sync with her constituents instead of the editorial board of The Post-Star? (Interestingly the corporate dailies The Post-Star and The Times-Union endorsed Ms. Cobb, while the locally owned Daily Gazette in Schenectady, the Watertown Daily Times and now The Chronicle all endorsed Ms. Stefanik.)

Do I approve of all her rhetoric and name-calling? I’d rather she go Chris Gibson than Jerry Solomon, but this is how politics is played in America, more so every cycle, by both Left and Right. Let’s dismount the high horse.

Elise Stefanik has always been accessible and is willing to take any question, and she generally provides a thoughtful, intelligent answer.

Tedra Cobb has run a phantom campaign. After Rep. Stefanik offered us an interview this month, in fairness we offered to interview Ms. Cobb. No response. When we offered a free 150-word statement that every other candidate gladly provided, Ms. Cobb ignored us again. She was “ghosting” us, Rep. Stefanik quipped on Twitter.

We’re not offended. Ms. Cobb also refused to debate Rep. Stefanik so that viewers in this, the most populous part of the district, could see it on TV.

Two years ago, Ms. Cobb did let us interview her. We recorded it. The very first question was:

Q: Why should you be the Congresswoman instead of Elise Stefanik?

A: Well, that’s a great way to start our conversation. Jeepers creepers, I haven’t met you before and you’re going in.

I’ve been doing journalism for more than half a century. That’s not an unfair question. It’s a lob that a capable candidate anticipates and hits for a home run.

Tedra Cobb may be very well-intentioned, but she is not ready to be a Member of Congress.

Don’t be stampeded by people who want to squelch Elise for daring to think for herself.

I hope she wins re-election and wins by a lot.

Copyright © 2020 Lone Oak Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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