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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Aug 20, 2023 7:03 am

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.

CBS News reports that three Republican political operatives agreed to pay more than $50,000 in restitution and penalties in Ohio for their parts of a phony charity that collected money purportedly to help victims of the East Palestine train derailment. One of the three men, Luke Mahoney, is a former campaign staffer for Rep. Elise Stefanik, who represents Rensselaer County and the rest of the 21st Congressional Districts. Mahoney is barred from starting, operating, or soliciting contributions for any charity in Ohio until 2027 under the agreement. The investigation alleged the trio collected nearly $149,000 from donors after the Feb. 3 train derailment. Read the full story at the CBS News website.

Joshua Solomon reports in the Times Union that New York's Court of Appeals will hear the latest redistricting case in November. Redistricting is mandated by the U.S. Constitution every ten years, so districts properly represent population shifts. So in 2020, New York changed its districts, but there have been fights in court about those changes ever since. The current court case was filed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, after Republicans won several New York Congressional districts in the 2022 elections. That helped Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives by a narrow margin. Now Democrats have until Sept. 18 to file their legal briefs with the Court of Appeals, and Republicans have until Oct. 23 to file a response. Previously in this case the lower court ruled in favor of the Republicans, and then the mid-level court ruled in favor of the Democrats. The case will decide if the current maps are kept until 2030, or if new maps are drawn for New York's Congressional districts. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Nancy Kern reports for Columbia-Greene Media that Rep. Marc Molinaro is bringing the pork home to Leeds and Athens in Greene County. Each year Congressional representatives are able to add discretionary spending projects to appropriations bills, in what is often perjoratively called pork. The hamlet of Leeds and the village of Athens will get more than $3.5 million for water-related and infrastructure projects is the spending bills are approved by Congress and signed by the president. Greene County Highway and Solid Waste Department Superintendent Scott Templeton said, “This is a big boost for Greene County, Greene County Highway Department and more specifically the Hamlet of Leeds as this Community Project Funding will greatly help improve not only the stormwater collection system but also provide safe parking for pedestrians to access the local businesses including ADA- compliant sidewalks and crosswalks in Leeds." In all, Molinaro requested $27 million in pork projects throughout the 19th Congressional District. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.

Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman that Republican Marc Molinaro did not directly comment on the fourth indictment of former President Donald Trump. Democrat Pat Ryan, on the other hand, was not afraid to give his opinion. Ryan, who represents the 18th Congressional District, said on social media, “Donald Trump is a traitor who incited and knowingly enabled a violent insurrection, putting our entire nation at risk for his own selfish political gain.... His un-American efforts to undermine our democracy represent one of the most egregious threats against our country and our Constitution since its founding.” Molinaro, who represents the 19th Congressional District, said, “I still share the concerns that Biden, Clinton, and others are not being held to the same standard as the former president and that these prosecutions are coming during an active presidential campaign... In the United States, no one should be above the law and everyone has a presumption of innocence.” Ryan disagreed with Molinaro even if they used some of the same words, saying, “Trump must be held fully accountable under the law and must never hold public office again." Republican Elise Stefanik, who represents the 21st District including Rensselaer County, said, "President Trump had every legal right to challenge the results of the election." Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

Melanie Lekocevic reports for Capital Region Independent Media that Rep. Marc Molinaro said Aug. 11 that no post offices in the 19th Congressional District that have been targeted for closure in a postal service consolidation plan. Molinaro is against the postal plan, saying, “I am deeply disappointed that the administration at the United States Postal Service is ignorant of and uncaring toward rural and upstate communities and that needs to change.” State Sen. Michelle Hinchey, Democrat, has signed on to a letter with Republican state Sen. Rob Rolison to U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, protesting the plan. Assemblyman Chris Tague, a Republican, is against the closing of post offices in theory, but did not address any specifics of the plan. He said, “I have always been against post offices closing.... It’s the one last item of convenience that we have in our small rural areas. It’s our last small-town local place where folks always go. Besides that, working in the postal service offers good-paying jobs.” Read more about this story at TheUpstater.com.

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