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Audio Feature: Hudson Valley Congressional Report

Jun 12, 2022 6:30 am

Here is this week's Hudson Valley Congressional Report from WGXC, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives of the Hudson Valley in Congress and the candidates who want to replace them. Current Democrat Reps. Paul Tonko and Sean Maloney vote with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Republican Elise Stefanik voted with Biden's positions 18 percent of the time. Click here to listen to this report.

As Congress begins public hearings on the attempted coup of Jan. 6, 2021, here in the Hudson Valley several local politicians either went to Washington D.C. that day, cheered those attending, and continue to embrace the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Liz Joy, the Republican again running against Rep. Paul Tonko in New York's 20th Congressional District, Tweeted the day before that she was attending the DC riot, and Tweeted during the disturbance that, "Hundreds of thousands of people attended today’s rally to stand for Election Integrity." Joy said that if she had been in office on Jan. 6, 2021, she would have voted against certifying the election. “Joe Biden is the president — period,” Joy said. “But I do believe there was massive voter fraud in our 2020 elections. And we have to get it right before we have the 2022 election.” Rep. Elise Stefanik, from New York's 21 District which will include Rensselaer County next year, continues to support the coup and overturning a fair and free election, even after the violence. She posted on Twitter after the riot that, "Americans have a Constitutional right to protest and freedom of speech, but violence in any form is absolutely unacceptable and anti-American." But Stefanik's Senior Advisor Alex deGrasse retweeted a message during the riot claiming the rioters were undercover leftists, without any evidence. Farther south, MidHudson News reported that state Assemblymember Colin Schmitt, a New Windsor Republican, was photographed the morning of Jan. 6, speaking maskless to a busload of people departing for the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Schmitt is running for the 18th Congressional seat this year. But before the photo of Schmitt talking to the busload of people en route to Washington surfaced, he issued a statement saying, “I am deeply disturbed by the assault on the United States Capitol today. There is absolutely no justification for any form of violence against the pillars of our democracy.”

Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman two Democratic Ulster County legislators are calling for County Executive Pat Ryan to resign, alleging that he is doing county residents a disservice by dividing his time between county business and his campaign for Congress. In a June 9, press release, legislators James Maloney and Laura Petit questioned Ryan’s ability to effectively run the county while actively campaigning in two separate congressional races. Petit said in the release, “The current situation for Ulster County government does not look good. It seems that the 6th floor of the county office building has gone dark, no one is doing anything for county government at the moment.” Maloney, who was re-elected to the Legislature in 2019, said, “There are too many things on the line right now to have an executive that is only half in it. There are things going on right now that we demand answers to, real solid answers.” The two said that while they have no objection to any elected official running for higher office, they think allegiances are split when an elected official tries to do both. “I just think it is impossible to do your current job effectively while running for another office,” said Petit. Maloney said Ryan’s decision-making could be clouded by the larger political climate. He also questioned whether anyone in the administration was working on Ryan’s campaign on the taxpayer’s dime. In a statement sent to the Freeman late Thursday, Ryan said, “In the last month alone, we have returned desperately needed mental health beds to our county, closed a transformational deal to revitalize the former IBM site, broken ground on our Veterans Cemetery expansion, and much more. From my very first day in office, I’ve worked nonstop for the people of Ulster County, and nothing will change that.” Ryan, a Democrat from Gardiner, is running in an August 23 special election against Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro to fill the 19th Congressional District vacancy created when Antonio Delgado was appointed to serve as lieutenant governor, Ryan is also running in the November 8 general election for the seat in the newly created 18th Congressional District. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.

Ted Remsnyder at Columbia-Greene Media features Jamie Cheney, the Rhinebeck-based farmer who has announced a run for Congress. Cheney faces Ithaca lawyer Josh Riley and OutHudson Executive Director Osun Zotique in the Democratic primary on Aug. 23. Cheney and her husband Christian own Falcon’s Field in Rhinebeck, a cattle farm on the Columbia and Dutchess county border that focuses on Angus beef. Cheney is a Yale graduate who earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. Originally, Cheney was running for state Senate in the 43rd district . Then redistricting upended the 43rd Districr, and put Cheney in the new 41st district, which meant she would have faced incumbent state Sen. Michelle Hinchey. Instead, she chose to run for Congress. “When the 19th district was redrawn, I unfortunately did not see a Democratic candidate in the race that I think can hold his seat and make sure we’re represented in D.C. in a way that represents our values and some of the key policy issues that we need,” Cheney said. “I feel very strongly that the 19th must be represented in that way.” And recent news headlines also helped spur her run. “I’m of a generation that never thought we’d go backwards on Roe and thought we’d always expand access to the ballot,” she said. Cheney also mentioned the lack of access to health care and broadband service as motivating issues. “The other priority for me is making sure our rural communities have a strong voice that reflects our policies in our smaller towns and smaller cities,” Cheney said. “I think we’ve had very well-intentioned policies, but particularly in the Democratic caucus it’s been written from our large urban centers.” Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.

Aaron Cerbone reports for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that Rep. Elise Stefanik is sticking by her endorsement of Carl Paladino despite several controversial statements from the new candidate for New York's 23rd Congressional District. Incumbent Republican Chris Jacobs dropped his re-election campaign last week after his support of a few gun control measures in the wake of the Buffalo mass shooting caused widespread backlash among his GOP supporters. So Paladino stepped up to run for the office. In 2021, Paladino said Adolf Hitler is "the kind of leader we need today.... We need somebody inspirational. We need somebody that is a doer, has been there and done it.” Stefanik, whose new 21st District includes Rensselaer County told HuffPost on June 9 that Paladino’s statement was taken “out of context.” Last week, just before announcing his run for Congress, Paladino shared a post on Facebook with several false conspiracy theories, including that mass shootings are set up to create gun control legislation. Paladino first denied posting the writing, later admitted he did, and then told the Buffalo News “I don’t even know how to post on Facebook.” Stefanik’s press offices did not respond about the unsourced conspiracy theories. She continues to endorse Paladino. Read more about this story in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

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