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Audio Feature: This week in news for Rep. John Faso

Feb 24, 2018 11:43 am
Here's the week in the news for Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook), the District 19 Congressperson for the WGXC listening area. Faso returned to Washington D.C. this week where Fivethirtyeight.com currently reports Faso votes with Donald Trump's positions 86.6 percent of his votes, the same as last week, since Congress was on a hoiday this week. Even with no responsibilities in Washington D.C., Faso did not announce any events on his Public Schedule webpage. Click here to download or play an audio version of this report (7:41).

• A school shooting in Florida Feb. 14 left 17 dead and at least 14 wounded, and Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) reacted with a statement that did not offer any specific remedies. His Twitter statement read, "As we learn more about the senseless and tragic shooting in Florida, my prayers are with the victims and all the students, teachers, law enforcement and families impacted by this violent attack. We must understand how to recognize warning signs and better protect our communities." On December 6, Faso voted for the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which takes away the right of individual states such as New York to determine what qualifications a person must meet before being allowed to carry a concealed firearm in its borders. Under the bill, the state with the least regulation makes policy for all other states, since its concealed carry rules would be law everywhere. The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys opposed the bill. Faso also received $5,950 in 2016 from the National Rifle Association. The Daily Freeman rounded up what the candidates who want to unseat Faso had to say about his response to the school shooting. Democrat David Clegg, from Woodstock, said, “Faso voted to repeal the rule restricting gun sales to the mentally ill. Faso has received thousands of dollars from the National Rifle Association and has continuously voted to support their best interests.” Jeff Beals, another Woodstock Democrat, said in a video statement that Faso, “offers no solutions,” and to the victims, he said, “Your government has let you down, but we won’t let you down.” Elka Park Democrat Brian Flynn said in a written statement, “It is time politicians actually did something instead of only extending their thoughts and prayers.... As a parent, I shouldn’t have to fear my kids aren’t safe at school. We can support both the Second Amendment and gun safety laws at the same time." Antonio Delgado, a Rhinebeck Democrat, said, “We lose far too many lives to senseless violence.... It’s absurd that people on the no-fly list, domestic abusers and those with mental health issues can still legally purchase firearms, [and] it is even worse that representatives like John Faso vote to make it easier for people who are mentally ill to buy guns.” Democrat from Kerhonkson Gareth Rhodes said, “My heart is broken for the families and the survivors in South Florida who are burying their loved ones after another senseless mass shooting.... We owe it to our communities to enact common-sense gun safety reforms, which most Americans support, starting with universal background checks, ensuring firearms are stored securely, and banning the sale of military-style assault weapons.” Kingston Democrat Pat Ryan said, “As a combat veteran, I understand the vital importance of responsible gun ownership, [but] weapons of war — like the AR-15 used in [the] horrific attack — have no place in our schools, our churches or anywhere else." TV actress Diane Neal, who lives in Hurley and says she is mounting an independent campaign for the congressional seat, did not respond to an emailed request from The Daily Freeman for comment.

The Daily Freeman is reporting the six candidates competing for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican John Faso in the 19th Congressional District race will participate in a “candi-dating program” on March 11. IndivisibleChathamNY organized the program to give district voters an opportunity to meet and question the candidates in a small group setting. The program format is based on the speed dating concept. Attendees will be divided into groups and each candidate will rotate from one group to the next. After the rotation is completed, everyone will reconvene for short presentations from the candidates. The event will take place 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., March 11, in the auditorium of the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, located at 330 County Road 21C in Ghent. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.

Bill Mahoney reports in Politico New York that one-sixth of the money Congressional candidate Gareth Rhodes has raised has come from people working for or appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and their staffs. Rhodes, who grew up on a vegetable and livestock farm in Esopus in Ulster County, is among six Democrats who want to challenge Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) in the November election. Rhodes used to work for Cuomo. He was an intern, then an advance man, and then the governor's deputy press secretary until enrolling in Harvard Law School in 2015. His campaign filings show he has received at least $66,000 was from Cuomo staffers and appointees and their spouses. “My proudest moment working in the governor’s office was when we became the first big state in the nation to pass marriage equality,” he said at a recent event. “Four Republican state senators ended up voting for this bill, and then it started a wave across the entire nation that I believe led to the Supreme Court decision that legalized marriage equality for the entire country.” Cuomo and Faso have been feuding on social media for the past year. The story points out that Cuomo has not been particularly popular in the Congressional District. "In the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary, Cuomo received 29 percent of the vote in the seven counties that are entirely contained in the district, compared to 64 percent in the rest of the state. He received 37 percent of the district's vote in the general election, his third-weakest performance in any of the state’s 27 congressional seats," Mahoney reports. Read the full story in Politico New York.

Writing in The Intercept, Lee Fang is reporting previously undisclosed details from the business background of Democrat Patrick Ryan, a candidate in the June 19th Congressional District primary election. According to Fang, Ryan has failed to disclose that his business used to be domestic surveillance. During his tenure with a firm called Berico Technologies, Ryan compiled a plan to create a real-time surveillance operation of left-wing groups and labor unions. At one point, Fang writes, the proposal included an idea to spy on the families of high-profile Democratic activists and plant fake documents with labor unions in an attempt to discredit them. The idea, a joint venture with HBGary Federal and the Peter Thiel [TEAL] -backed Palantir Technologies, fell apart in 2011 after details appeared in a series of news reports. Ryan then went on to work with Dataminr, a company that provided social media monitoring for law enforcement, producing real-time updates on political activists, including Black Lives Matter. In a statement to The Intercept, Ryan’s campaign said he expressed “concerns with the nature of the work” at Berico Technologies, noting the project did not advance past the proposal stage. As for his time with Dataminr, Ryan said that work "saved lives by providing real-time information to first responders and others in harms way." Ryan's campaign has received financial support from The New Democrat Coalition PAC, a group that supports business-friendly Democrats for Congress. The PAC wants to grow the number of moderate and conservative-leaning Democrats in Congress next year. Read the full story in The Intercept_.
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