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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Oct 29, 2022 3:00 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. Current Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko, from the 20th District, votes with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Republican Elise Stefanik, currently representing the 21st District, votes with Biden's positions 19.3 percent of the time. Democrat Pat Ryan just began representing the 19th District, and has yet to be included in the rankings. Click here to listen to this report.

Patricia R. Doxsey reports in the Daily Freeman that Rep. Pat Ryan is figuring out what tools and leverage he can marshall at the federal level to get Central Hudson to fix its billing practices. Ryan called Central Hudson’s handling of billing procedures “borderline criminal.” Central Hudson has been sending customers bills that are very high, and also not sending some customers any bills, and then sending them several with a quick deadline for payment while, according to Ryan, making “record-breaking revenues and profits.” Ryan said, “This is a public utility.... They need to be answerable to us.... I’m going to continue to escalate with every tool I have. I did it as county executive and I’m going to escalate ever further now as your member of Congress to put and keep the pressure on.” Ryan, currently the 19th Congressional District representative, is running for the 18th Congressional District seat this fall, after redistricting jumbled the local maps. Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

The Times Union reports how national political action committees are running misleading local attack advertisements in the 19th Congressional District election. The National Republican Campaign Committee, for instance, is running an attack ad against Josh Riley, the Democrat running to replace Pat Ryan as local Congressperson. The ad quotes Riley saying "help not handcuffs," claiming that he is saying that is what violent criminals deserve. But in the original clip of Riley used in the ad, he is actually talking about people undergoing mental health issues, and the phrase "help, not handcuffs" Riley uses is a quote from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Riley's campaign website says he is for additional funding for law enforcement, and that the candidate "is adamantly opposed to proposals to 'defund the police.'” The Times Union also looked at an attack ad against Riley's opponent, Republican Marc Molinaro. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been running an ad locally attacking Molinaro's opposition to abortion, saying "Marc Molinaro supports taking away a woman’s right to choose, turning it over to politicians." Molinaro's campaign attorney wrote a letter to television stations and cable providers demanding they stop running the ad, saying it "falsely represents Marc Molinaro's position regarding abortion." Molinaro has not said he wants abortion to be illegal, but does support a ban after 17 weeks of pregnancy. He has not weighed in on Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's national proposal to ban abortion after 15 weeks. Voting in this year's Congressional election begins Oct. 29 and ends Nov. 8. Read both stories in the Times Union.

Kenneth C. Crowe II reports in the Times Union that Republican Congressperson Elise Stefanik stood next to Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, who faces felony charges for the alleged misuse of campaign funds, on Oct. 24 and called the charges against McLaughlin "a political witch hunt. The FBI is absolutely politicized and weaponized." But the charges against McLaughlin were filed by state prosecutors, not the FBI. McLaughlin was indicted in 2021 by a grand jury for grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing for allegedly stealing $5,000 from his campaign account in November 2017. The scheme allegedly had McLaughlin taking campaign funds through a consulting firm to pay back a loan to a former legislative staff member just weeks after he won his first term as county executive. But the FBI did not bring those charges. Nevertheless, she persisted. "We see at all levels, the FBI have been weaponized to go after Republicans," Stefanik said, even though the FBI is not involved in McLaughlin's case. But "federal investigators are, however, looking into allegations of ballot fraud in Rensselaer County," the Times Union reports. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

The Times Union reports about the lone debate between Republican Liz Joy and Democrat Paul Tonko held Oct. 27 for the 20th Congressional District election. Tonko, an incumbent cast himself as a defender of democracy, while Joy actually attended the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, that led to an attempt to violently overthrow American democracy. Joy also opposes basic public health, saying all of society should be put at risk so that vaccine skeptics can avoid getting a safe injection to protect themselves and others. Tonko, by contrast, said that people should be vaccinated for COVID-19, measles, polio and other dangerous diseases. Joy also claimed she would vote against a federal ban on abortion, but Tonko accused Joy of supporting bans on abortion with no exceptions, and said he supports abortion rights. The new 20th Congressional District covers Albany County, Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs, with voting this year from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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