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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Apr 10, 2023 7:03 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.

Chris Churchill reports in the Times Union that despite an indictment on 34 charges, Rep. Elise Stefanik is standing by former President Donald Trump. Stefanik wrote on April 4 that, “The shameful arrest of President Trump is an unprecedented and chilling chapter in the left’s weaponization of the justice system against their leading political opponent.... Trump will defeat this latest witch hunt.” It is a reverse course for Stefanik, who usually backs the blue and the legal system. Stefanik has previously called for the arrest of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and often makes reference to “the Biden crime family.” Stefanik is standing with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia woman who believes in Jewish space lasers, and George Santos, the serial liar, in backing Trump. Stefanik was among the first Congressional representatives to endorse Trump's 2024 election campaign. Stefanik now represents Rensselaer County in New York's 21st Congressional District. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Brendan J. Lyons reports in the Times Union that Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a brief April 7 in support of a Democrat-led court fight seeking to force the redrawing of New York's congressional boundaries in time for next year's election. The boundaries were redrawn after the 2020 census with court orders and controversy, and aren't scheduled to be drawn again until after the 2030 census count. The state's Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee brought a lawsuit in a state appellate court in Albany to have the Independent Redistricting Commission redraw the lines before the 2024 Congressional elections. James said in a statement that, “Our state’s constitution makes it clear that an independent body, with participation from the general public, is charged with drawing maps for congressional districts,.... Relying on a process with no accountability and with limited time for public input is not how we engage the public and ensure their interests are addressed throughout this process.” But so far the Democrats have not persuaded the court, as on Sept. 12, state Supreme Court Justice Peter A. Lynch rejected the petition and said there was no authority for the redistricting commission to issue a second map. So the Democrats are now appealing, under the blessing of the state's highest elected Democrats, Hochul and James. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Patricia R. Doxsey reports in the Daily Freeman that Democrat Pat Ryan and Republican Marc Molinaro together wrote an opinion piece asking for the Biden administration and state leaders to do more to clean the harmful polychlorinated biphenyls from the Hudson River. General Electric dumped PCBs in the Hudson River for decades, and they recently finished cleaning up some of the toxins, but not all. Ryan and Molinaro wrote that the company needs, “to make good on its stated mission by acknowledging that the cleanup performed to date fails to meet the basic legal and moral test of protecting public health and the environment.” They want Gov. Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James, federal trustee agencies, and the U.S. Department of Justice to negotiate “a comprehensive settlement with GE to clean and restore the river.” Ryan and Molinaro represent the 18th and 19th Congressional Districts, respectively. Currently, the EPA is finalizing a five-year review of the cleanup so far, which was of the upper Hudson River above Troy. Now GE is supposed to study the lower portion of the river between the Troy Dam and the mouth of the New York Harbor to determine the next steps in the cleanup. GE must fund water, sediment, and fish tests along that stretch of the Hudson for PCBs and other contaminants beginning this year, under the terms of a legal administrative agreement reached in 2022. “We have one opportunity to restore the Hudson River and ensure that those who were responsible must be held accountable,” Molinaro said in an interview April 7. “We will not have this opportunity again.... The value and impact of the Hudson River is real, what people believe the Hudson River to be is important....To know that it was damaged by pollutants, that we had this chance to restore its value and vibrancy and we didn’t push to the end is a mistake that future generations will not forgive.” Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

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