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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Nov 11, 2023 6:03 pm

Here is this week's WGXC Congressional Report, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives and candidates for the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st Congressional seats in New York. Democrat Pat Ryan is representing the 18th Congressional District, Republican Marc Molinaro represents the 19th Congressional District, Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko represents the 20th District, and Republican Elise Stefanik represents the 21st District. Click here to listen to this report.

On Nov. 7, New York's Hudson Valley Congressional representatives split their votes on whether to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib. Republican Reps. Marc Molinaro and Elise Stefanik and Democrat Pat Ryan voted with the majority, 234-to-188 to censure the Michigan Democrat, "for promoting false narratives regarding the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the State of Israel." Democrat Paul Tonko did not vote to censure Tlaib. Only four Republicans voted against the measure, and 22 Democrats, including Ryan, voted for the censure measure that was brought by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress. After the vote, she said on the House floor, "The idea that criticizing the government of Israel is antisemitic sets a very dangerous precedent, and it’s been used to silence diverse voices speaking up for human rights across our nation.”

Spencer Conlin reports for New York State of Politics reports that protesters who want a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war held a "die-in" on Nov. 9 outside Rep. Paul Tonko's Albany office. Members of Upper Hudson Peace Action and Jewish Voice for Peace held a "die-in" at the Democrat’s office. The protesters wanted Tonko to sign onto a Ceasefire Now resolution in the House. Jewish Voice for Peace organizer Karen Carmeli said, “A ceasefire is the bare minimum that we can do stop killing civilians.... We need to stop killing civilians immediately.” So far, Tonko supports a humanitarian pause, which ceasefire advocates say is not enough. Tonko was mum on Thursday, but one of his representatives released a statement that said, “Congressman Tonko’s top concerns are avoiding further deaths of innocent civilians and facilitating the return of all hostages.... Which is why he has called for a immediate stop to the violence in Gaza and continues to call for aid workers to be allowed to deliver the food, water, medical care and resources needed in Gaza.” Protesters panned Tonko's statement. Carmeli said, “Giving them water, giving them a little bit of something to eat and then continuing to bomb them with weaponry that is provided by the U.S. government, using U.S. taxpayer dollars is unconscionable.” Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

Mid-Hudson News reports that several hundred people rallied outside Rep. Pat Ryan’s Kingston office on Nov. 10, asking him to support a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas. Many in the crowd also want the U.S. to stop sending taxpayer money to Israel to pay for the war. The terrorist group Hamas attacked Israeli citizens on Oct. 7, in horrific acts of violence. Since then, all sorts of civilians have been injured or killed in the conflict. Mie Inouye, a member of Mid-Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists of America, said, “We grieve every life that has been lost in this conflict, including Israeli and Palestinian lives.... Our point is we are against war and we want to put an end to the violence and we believe that what Israel is doing in Palestine, which is they have killed over 10,000 people, half of them children, is not going to bring peace to the region, in fact, it is just going to perpetuate the cycle of violence.” Felice Gelman, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace – Hudson Valley, said she is “deeply disappointed to see my congressman line up with the same militarists who brought us the Iraq war. Didn’t he learn anything from serving?” Ryan, on social media, wrote that “Our ally, Israel, is surrounded by enemies who seek to destroy it. It has both the right and the responsibility to defend itself and its people – including rescuing hostages, reasserting control of its border, and establishing deterrence against future attacks.” Read more about this story at Mid-Hudson News.

Mike Goodwin reports in the Times Union that Rep. Elise Stefanik filed a legal complaint on Nov. 10 against state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who is currently presiding over Donald J. Trump’s civil fraud trial. Stefanik claims that Engoron has shown “inappropriate bias and judicial intemperance” while judging the case about Trump's business fraud, where he claimed properties were larger and worth more than they actually were on legal documents. Stefanik wrote that Engoron “has displayed a clear judicial bias against the defendant throughout the case, breaking several rules in the New York Code of Judicial Conduct.” But to prove her point she quotes the judge without context, Stefanik makes it sound as if the judge was talking about his own opinion, when he was clearly speculating out loud what the prosecution's opinion might be. Stefanik also cited evidence from Zillow.com in her complaint. Stefanik's complaint to the Commission on Judicial Conduct could lead to a warning, public admonition, censure, or removal from the bench. While the Trump case in question is in civil court, the former president also faces criminal cases that accuse him of concealing his possession of classified documents after he left office, trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat, and paying hush money to cover up a sex scandal. Read more about this story in the Times Union.