Stefanik speaks on gun issues
Andrew Waite reports for the Daily Gazette that Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik made a rare appearance at a press conference about milk in Albany May 31. It was the first time Stefanik faced reporters since 19 children and two adults were murdered at an elementary school in Texas. “I do not support gun control. But there is work that we need to do, and that is increasing mental health funding,” Stefanik said. “We need to increase school resource officers and make sure that we’re working with our county sheriffs to protect our schools that are most vulnerable.” Matt Castelli, who is one of two Democrats, pointed out Stefanik was not addressing her constituents, which will not include all Rensselaer County residents, because of redistricting. “She’s not in her district. She’s in Albany talking about something that is not related to the job of representing the 21st Congressional District,” said Castelli. “There should be no more compelling issue facing our country right now than addressing the insecurity that our parents and our kids and our teachers are facing with this threat of gun violence in our schools.” Stefanik did say she supported the Fix NICS Act, which strengthened the federal background check system – the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. But Castelli pointed out Stefanik voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. “I would just highlight that she has been in Congress for (nearly) eight years and hasn’t been able to solve this problem,” Castelli said. “It’s not surprising to hear Congresswoman Stefanik’s remarks. She’s got a pattern of behavior where every one of her actions is all about service to herself. In this instance, it’s about putting the needs of her special-interest donors and her gun [advocating] husband above the lives of our kids and the safety of our communities.” Last week, the Times Union reported that Stefanik’s husband, Matthew Manda, manages the public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, based in Newtown, Conn. Read more about this story in the Daily Gazette.