Fox features Stefanik as ‘Power Player of the Week’

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro (Official photo)

PLATTSBURGH — North Country U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik was featured as “Power Player of the Week” this week on Fox News Sunday.

Stefanik, 33, was interviewed by host Chris Wallace. He characterized her as a “rising star” in the Republican Party, “bringing new ideas to leadership in Congress.”

Here are excerpts from a transcript of the segment:

Wallace: “Millennials have become the largest segment of our workforce and are quickly becoming the largest segment of U.S. voters. While they are very negative about Washington, one of their own is trying to change that.

“Here’s our Power Player of the Week.”

Stefanik, he said, turned him down for a Power Player profile two years ago when she was first elected to Congress — at age 30, the youngest woman ever to win a congressional seat.

Stefanik: “I wasn’t scared,” she explained her refusal. “I wanted to get some accomplishments under my belt.

“I wanted to make sure that my first impression to my colleagues is that I am a workhorse. I invest myself in learning about the policy issues, and I add substantive ideas to the discussion.”

The show cut away to a scene on the House floor, with Stefanik declaring: “Rising today in strong support for the National Defense Authorization Act.”

Wallace: “Representing upstate New York, Stefanik is a member of the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committee. And as a Republican, she wrote a change to Obamacare that President Obama signed.”

Stefanik: “I wrote and passed the largest fix to our health-care law in my first term. We needed new direction.”

Wallace: “Running on the slogan ‘new ideas and new leadership,’ Stefanik campaigned on people’s frustrations with Congress.”

Stefanik: “I would ask every group I met with, ‘Raise your hand if you think Washington is broken.’ Every hand would go up.”

Wallace: “Part of her answer, use technology and transparency to make Congress more accountable.”

Stefanik: “I use the example of posting on Facebook. That’s using a new tool to reach out directly to constituents and hear back from them on every single issue. That’s something every single member should be doing.”

Wallace: “Are there any pinch-me moments that you are a congresswoman?”

Stefanik: “There are pinch-me moments every day.”

Wallace: “Stefanik started in politics a while ago.”

Stefanik: “I ran for Student Council secretary in sixth grade, and I ran on the platform of bringing a snack machine, and that is very popular.”

Wallace: “I figure you won.”

Stefanik: “I did.”

Wallace noted Stefanik spent two years in the White House under President George W. Bush, working on domestic policy. Then she ran for Congress in 2014.

Wallace: “How much pushback did you get? You are too young, too inexperienced?”

Stefanik: “I got a lot of pushback initially. Very few people took me seriously.

“Paul Ryan was one of the individuals that encouraged me and gave me great advice. You have two ears and one mouth; use it in that ratio. Listen to what their concerns are.”

Wallace: “Is it true,” he asked her, “that when you first got here you got stopped a lot (while trying to enter the Capitol)?”

Stefanik: “I did. And I still get stopped about once a month going back and forth to the floor to vote.”

Wallace: “She’s not just young, she’s a maverick, often bucking the party lines. She voted against the GOP tax bill [last] week, because it eliminates the state and local income-tax deduction important to New Yorkers. And that’s not all.

Stefanik: “I’ve introduced a Republican resolution that climate change is happening, and we need to find a solution.”

Wallace: “While Stefanik has had an impressive start in Congress, she doesn’t plan to be there forever.”

Stefanik: “I do think institutionally Congress benefits from having a churn of new members and new ideas. I don’t see myself being here for 25, 30 years.”

Wallace: “Maybe 15 or 20?”

Stefanik: “I don’t know. I’m thinking every two-year cycle. I need to make sure I continue to earn the support from my constituents.”

Wallace: “And we did discuss sexual harassment in Congress. While Stefanik says she hasn’t experienced it, she supports mandatory harassment training for members of Congress and their staff.”

(Editor’s note: Four daily newspapers in the North Country — the Enterprise, Post-Star of Glens Falls, Watertown Daily Times and Press-Republican of Plattsburgh — are sharing content to better cover New York’s 21st Congressional District.)