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Stefanik blasts Affordable Care Act, names county campaign coordinators

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Elise M. Stefanik, a Republican seeking the 21st Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, has released a statement blasting the Affordable Care Act as it comes up on the fourth anniversary of its passage.

“Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of President Obama signing his healthcare overhaul into law. Unfortunately since then, we’ve seen millions of Americans lose the existing health plans they liked, businesses forced to drop employee coverage and reduce employee hours, and premiums rising through the roof. Not to mention the extreme confusion and headache this law is creating for New York small businesses and families as tax season approaches,” the release quotes Ms. Stefanik as saying.

“The administration has granted exemptions for big business, labor unions, special interest groups and more, but not for hardworking families and individuals who may face stiff penalties,” the release said.

“We do need to reform our healthcare system; but we need to do so in a way that lowers cost and increases affordability and accessibility, and that doesn’t do more harm to the economy in the 21st Congressional District,” she concluded in the release.

Last week, the administration said 5 million people have now signed up for coverage under the law.

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Ms. Stefanik, Willsboro, who spent much of last week in the western half of the district, is apparently getting under the skin of the national Democratic Party. Or perhaps the emergence from his cocoon of Democratic 21st CD candidate Aaron Woolf has convinced the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that they do in fact have a candidate they’ll spend some capital on.

For whatever reason, the Democrats launched a stinging attack on Ms. Stefanik’s position on Medicare and Social Security.

“Far right wing candidate Elise Stefanik reaffirmed her commitment this week to Tea Party Congressman Paul Ryan and his plan to end Medicare as we know it and privatize Social Security,” a Friday news release from the Democrats said. “Stefanik told WWNY that she wants to make major changes to Medicare and Social Security and would take drastic steps to “modernize” the programs.”

The release goes on to allege Ms. Stefanik’s position is aligned with the Tea Party and would result in the end of both programs.

In an interview with the Times on Thursday, Ms. Stefanik did say that she would like to modernize the Social Security program and reform Medicare. She did not suggest that either program be ended, however.

With the rapid graying of the 21st CD and the rest of the U.S., Republicans are treading carefully around the two entitlement programs. And reform efforts in the past have fallen woefully short of Congressional support because the folks using the system, or about to use the system, are the people who most regularly go to the polls.

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And speaking of Mr. Woolf, he has continued his slow roll-out with an interview with the Glens Falls Post Star in which he says immigration policy should be based on “economics and ethics”.

“I think that our immigration policy has to be generally flexible to changing economic realities in this country,” Woolf told the Post Star’s Maury Thompson. “We use immigration policy for lots of reasons. It should be, in my view, in service of the growth of our economy. But there also are moral and ethical parts of our immigration policy.”

Mr. Woolf, citing his documentary “Dying to Leave”, said the nation’s T-visa program, which provided a way for victims of human trafficking to gain citizenship, was an example of what he said was an ethical solution.

“The T-Visa provided a path to citizenship for documented victims of trafficking, which at that time was pretty innovative because we used to punish the victims, Mr. Woolf told the paper. ”Somebody who was brought into the country as an illegal sex worker, we would boot them out, sometimes at great peril to themselves and their families.”

Mr. Woolf advocated a more flexibile policy in areas such as farming and for college students.

Ms. Stefanik told the Times on Thursday that she support an immigration reform that solves the nation’s economic problems but does not believe in any element of amnesty for illegal aliens in the country now because they are here illegally and should not be rewarded for breaking the law.

You can read the whole interview here:

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Ms. Stefanik this week announced her team of county coordinators for the campaign.

“Everyone on this list of county coordinators will have a valuable role and I’m so appreciative of their public support and willingness to help in their home counties,” Ms. Stefanik was quoted in a news release as saying. “Each team member is well-known, respected and active in their community and county. They understand how high the stakes are in the upcoming election, and that we need to move forward with new leadership in Washington on behalf of the hardworking families, military veterans, small businesses and farmers in our district.”

Elise for Congress County Coordinators: Debbie and Rockwell Blake, Clinton County; Bridget Brown, Laurie Curtis Dudley, Shaun Gillill, and Kellie King, Essex County; and Jim Ellis, Joe and Sally Spodaro, and Burton Peck, Franklin County.

Also, John Blackmon and Charlie Potter, Fulton County; Bill Faro, Hamilton County; Patricia Peters and Nancy Venetz, Herkimer County; and Jason Ambrosino, Mike Ring, and Nichole Lajoie Jefferson County.

Also, Patrick Mahar, Lewis County; Scott Kingsley, Saratoga County; Oscar Schreiber, Saratoga County; Nancy Foster and Lynn Vaugh, St. Lawrence County; Mark Westcott, Warren County;and Mike Bittel, Washington County.

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The first poll results in the governor’s race since Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino joined the fray don’t bode particularly well for the Republican.

A Siena Research Institute poll found that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo leads Mr. Astorino 61-26 percent. The poll slightly moves Mr. Astorino’s position; the last poll before the Republican announced his candidacy had Gov. Cuomo leading 64-22.

The poll says 64 percent of the respondents say the governor has been effective in office, while 28 percent say he has not.

The poll said that a year after the enactment of the SAFE Act, New Yorkers support it by a two-to-one margin. And, the poll found, voters also support the governor’s proposal to have the state fund college classes for inmates, 53-43 percent.

“This Siena College poll provides both good news and bad news for both Cuomo and Astorino. For the governor, the good news is that he maintains a strong 35-point lead over his likely challenger, he continues to have a strong favorability rating and almost two-thirds of voters think he’s been an effective governor,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg in the news release announcing the poll results. “The bad news for him is that his job performance rating is the lowest it’s been since November, and for the first time, only a plurality – not a majority – of voters are prepared to re-elect him.” The poll is at:

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The state Conservative Party Executive Committee will meet on April 11 to nominate candidates for congressional districts across the state.

In the 21st CD, both Ms. Stefanik and Republican foe Matthew A. Doheny have been working hard to gain the nomination. A telephone conversation with state party Chairman Michael Long a couple of weeks ago indicated the party will not put up a “straw man” candidate in the district while it waits to see how the Republican Primary, if one is held, will turn out.

“We’ll see who qualifies, who petitions to run,” Mr. Long said then. “Then we’ll make a decision.”

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In a news release put out by the Doheny for Congress campaign early this afternoon, the congressional hopeful congratulated the Clarkson women’s hockey team for its NCAA national championship.

“The Golden Knights achieved a number of firsts and I’m excited to know the trophy will be calling Potsdam home for the next year,” Mr. Doheny said in the release. “I’m proud of the devotion and skill that these student-athletes were able to showcase on a national stage. I congratulate the players, coaches and the school on a well-earned victory and for joining the ranks of the elite hockey programs in this nation.”

Not as hard-hitting as an attack on the affordable care act, but still highly local.

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