Stefanik talks national security overseas

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (Photo — The Leader-Herald)

PLATTSBURGH — While a pack of potential opponents in this year’s Congressional District 21 race ratcheted up their campaigns, incumbent Congresswoman Elise Stefanik was on a delegation visit to Eastern Europe.

Upon her return, she worked on measures to address gun violence and to protect federal funding for economic development in the Northeast.

Stefanik (R-Willsboro), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chair of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, visited Latvia, Estonia and the Ukraine with Rep. Anthony Brown, a Democrat from Maryland.

The seven-day trip took place Feb. 17 to 24.

Timing cited

The visit was focused specifically on national security issues and activities related to information warfare, cyber operations, irregular warfare and special operations, as well as defense programs designed to strengthen partner nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization capabilities.

“The timing of this trip was important, as many of the briefings and discussions centered on countering Russian information warfare issues,” Stefanik said.

“Throughout the trip, we emphasized the importance of the NATO Alliance and bilateral relationships, including contributions from U.S. active-duty and National Guard forces from New York and Maryland.”

Stefanik met with members of the New York National Guard who are deployed to Ukraine. They train at Fort Drum in the Western part of the district.

She also attended briefings in Estonia, where the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade has previously been deployed.

“This trip was also an opportunity to visit with our proud partners in Latvia and Estonia on the eve of their 100th anniversary of independence as sovereign states,” she said.

“As the chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, I will continue to work in a bipartisan fashion with my colleagues on the committee to ensure we have the resources and strategy necessary to keep our nation safe.”

Border commission

Stefanik, Annie Kuster (D-NH) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers recently called on the governors of New Hampshire, Vermont and New York to support the Northern Border Regional Commission.

Created by the 2008 Farm Bill, the federal-state partnership comprises a federal co-chair and the governors of New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Maine.

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal eliminates the commission.

It was established to direct federal funding toward specific state economic- and community-development projects in rural and distressed parts of the Northeast.

The congressional delegation sent a letter to Governors Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Phil Scott of Vermont and Andrew Cuomo of New York, urging support of the commission.

Between 2010 and 2017, the commission allocated 155 awards across New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Maine totaling more than $80 million.

Other members on the letter include Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vermont), Claudia Tenney (R-New York-22), John Katko (R-New York-24) and Carol Shea-Porter (D-New Hampshire-01).

“The NBRC has the important task of making federal investments in a wide range of areas that have greatly benefited rural communities along the northern border,” the letter said.

“These grants have been utilized to expand business enterprises in rural communities, support workforce development initiatives and revitalize infrastructure along the northern border,” it reads.

“Despite the success of the NBRC, President Donald J. Trump has proposed to eliminate the NBRC in his most recent budget request. We write to express our opposition to this proposal and request your support as the chief executives of your states for the continued federal funding of this important Federal-State partnership.”

Primaries

Eight Democrats and one Republican are looking to unseat Stefanik this year.

The Democrats will choose their candidate in a primary on June 26.

A spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee declined to comment on Stefanik’s recent actions.

Republican Russ Finley of St. Lawrence County is seeking to challenge Stefanik in a Republican primary, also on June 26.

Candidates will have from March 6 to April 12 to secure the 1,250 signatures from across the 12-county district to get on the primary ballot.

(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.)

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