Stefanik, in NY GOP speech, draws contrasts with Dems

ALBANY — U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said she is an example of how Republicans can work to take back New York.

Stefanik cited her re-election to a third term last November in a tough political environment for the GOP in the midterms.

“We won not just Republicans, but independents and Democrats. We ran on a record of results versus far left resistance,” she said Monday in remarks at the New York GOP Convention held at the Marriott Hotel in Albany.

“Our district is an example of what it means to rebuild the party and win,” she added.

In an eight-minute speech, Stefanik shared her biography with those who were not familiar with her story: graduating from Harvard University, working in Washington, D.C., including helping U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan prepare for the 2012 vice presidential debate, and returning to help with her family’s plywood business, before running being running for Congress in 2014.

At 30, Stefanik was the youngest woman elected to the House of Representatives until surpassed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was 29 when elected in November 2018.

Stefanik said Ocasio-Cortez is running the Democratic Party, which is lurching toward socialism.

“I’m pretty much the opposite of AOC, and I am proud of it,” Stefanik said.

Stefanik criticized the Democrats in New York pushing an agenda that includes driver’s licenses for people in the country illegally, the highest taxes and the least business-friendly environment in the country, and rampant corruption. That has contributed to a million people leaving the state in the last decade.

She also took a shot at New York’s junior senator, who is also running for president, for flip-flopping on issue such as gun control.

“We have Kirsten Gillibrand — known as Annie Oakley in the House and Jane Fonda in the Senate,” she said.

Stefanik said she has been working to recruit Republican women to run for Congress and is excited about the campaigns of Liz Lemery Joy, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko in New York’s 20th Congressional District; Chele Farley, who is seeking to unseat Sean Patrick Maloney in NY-18 in the Hudson Valley; and Nicole Malliotakis in NY-11 on Staten Island.

Stefanik has founded the E-PAC to help women candidates. She believes those efforts are paying off as more than 170 women have reached out to the National Republican Congressional Committee expressing interest in running for office.

Redistricting challenges

When asked to comment on last week’s Supreme Court ruling that essentially stated that the court was not going to get involved in the state’s efforts to draw congressional district maps, Stefanik said she worried that New York could lose one, possible two seats because of shifting population.

“That is going to be a challenge for Republicans in upstate New York,” she said during a media availability following her remarks at the GOP convention.

However, she said she does not think it would affect her campaign, as she has run a campaign across all of the counties in her district.

Mueller testimony

Stefanik said she is looking forward to former special counsel Robert Mueller testifying in public later this month about his findings into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Stefanik said she does not support impeaching President Donald Trump but said it is important for Mueller to come up on Capitol Hill.

“There is going to be a lot of tough questions on both sides of the aisle,” she said.

She said she does not believe a majority of the American public supports impeachment, and she anticipates that this issue would play out in the 2020 election and could have negative effects for Democrats if they overreach.

Iran tensions

Stefanik said she believes that President Trump has broad powers, based upon the legislation passed following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to address increasing tensions with Iran.

She supports Trump’s strategy to increase sanctions on the regime.

Battling ticks

Stefanik has co-sponsored the TICK (Ticks: Identify, Control, Knockout) Act, which would establish an office of oversight and coordination for tick-borne diseases. The office would focus on improving prevention and treatment, expanding research, improving testing, raising public awareness and making treatment more affordable, according to a news release.

The bill would reauthorize funding of $10 million a year for five years for the Centers of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases and authorize the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grants at $20 million to state health departments to improve data collection and support early detection and diagnosis.