Stefanik raises nearly twice as much money as Cobb in quarter

Politics Week in Review

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U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik raised nearly twice as much money in the third quarter of 2019 as Democratic challenger Tedra Cobb for her reelection, according to data released Monday by both campaigns.

Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, raised more than $450,000 in the period from July 1 through Sept. 30, compared with more than $250,000 during that same period, for Cobb, who hails from Canton.

That brings the amount of cash that Stefanik has in the bank to nearly $1.3 million, compared with $500,000 for Cobb.

Stefanik said in a news release that she has received donations from each of the 12 counties in NY-21, which includes all of Warren, Washington, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties and portions of Saratoga and Herkimer counties.

“This record level of support reflects my independent record of always putting the North Country first, and of reaching across the aisle to deliver real results for our district,” Stefanik said in a news release.

In addition, she said E-PAC, her organization to elect more GOP women, has raised more than $95,000 for the quarter, totaling almost a half-million dollars since it was launched in January. E-PAC has donated a total of $125,000 to 24 women candidates.

Cobb said in a news release that she has raised more than $655,000 during the 2020 election cycle. She has 1,935 individual donors. A total of 85% of her contributions came from New York state and two-thirds of them came from inside NY-21.

Cobb has not received any money from corporate political action committees or from insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Cobb said she is proud of the support she has received.

“People are tired of the gridlock in Washington and Congresswoman Stefanik is part of the problem,” Cobb said in a news release. “Stefanik has spent her career in D.C. climbing the partisan political ladder and supporting policies that hurt Northern New York families.”

Neither Cobb nor Stefanik has yet filed the full campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission, which is due by Oct. 15.

Making limos safer

Stefanik said Thursday she would be introducing legislation along with two other colleagues from New York’s congressional delegation to improve limousine safety in response to last year’s tragic accident in Schoharie that killed 20 people.

The SAFE Limos Act of 2019: Safety, Accountability and Federal Enforcement would require each new limousine to have lap shoulder belts and meet minimum safety requirements for seat strength and integrity.

The legislation would also require the U.S. secretary of transportation to evaluate the feasibility of retrofitting existing limousines with lap and shoulder belts and safety systems; set safety standards for converting used vehicles into limousines; and develop guidelines to determine what automakers should do to make sure their altered vehicles comply with safety standards, according to a news release.

The Take Unsafe Limos Off the Road Act would create a grant program to help states impound or immobilize limousines that fail inspection and require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to restart a rulemaking requirement to inspect all commercial motor vehicles used to transport passengers.

The End the Limo Loophole Act would require that vehicles that are altered to transport more than 15 passengers be designated as a commercial motor vehicle. Stretch limos currently fall outside of this definition.

Stefanik is sponsoring the legislation with U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, and U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are introducing companion legislation in the Senate.

Training cyber-workers

Schumer on Monday visited the construction site of the University at Albany’s new ETEC building, which houses the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, to call for more workers to tackle cyberthreats.

Schumer announced a plan for a pilot program to create a “hub-and-spoke” system in which the community colleges would serve as the spokes and offer initial training in cybersuecirty. Hubs would be four-year institutions such as UAlbany, which would offer more advanced coursework.

The goal would be to create a feeder system that would link these students to high-paying jobs in the field. Someone with a bachelor’s degree can earn $115,000 per year, according to a news release from Schumer.

The country is lacking skilled cybersecurity workers, according to Schumer. Between September 2017 and August 2018, there were 313,735 job openings in cybersecurity nationwide posted by employers in the private and public sectors, including 14,698 in New York, according to University at Albany data.

The state Department of Labor estimates that between 2016 and 2026, there will be a 28% increase in demand for cybersecurity workers.

Schumer has been sounding the alarm in recent weeks about this cyberthreats, citing examples of the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the breach of credit-monitoring company Equifax, which led to exposure of personal information including over 100 million Social Security numbers.

Possible rematch?

The Times Union is reporting that Democrat Aaron Gladd, who grew up in Saranac Lake, is not ruling out a rematch with Sen. Daphne Jordan in 2020 for the 43rd Senate District seat.

Gladd, of Brunswick, said no decision has been made, but he is listening to people who have reached out to him about running again.

The article pointed out that Jordan, D-Halfmoon, has nearly $25,000 in her campaign coffers and Gladd has a little more than $5,000 on hand, but has not raised money since the election.

Jordan defeated Gladd 53% to 47% in the district, which encompasses all of Columbia County and parts of Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties.

In addition, the story brought up the recent news of a human rights complaint filed by a former Jordan staffer, who said he was forced to dress up as a leprechaun and was fired after he refused to attend a campaign strategy meeting in July.

When contacted through Facebook, Gladd said he is certainly listening to the people who have reached out to him.

“Their support is humbling. My wife and I will keep talking to people and hearing them out. We’ll make a decision soon,” he said.