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Woolf kicks campaign up a notch after GOP primary

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With one Republican licking his wounds and the other basking in a lopsided victory, the Democratic candidate for the 21st Congressional District seat is ramping up his campaign on the day after the GOP primary.

Aaron G. Woolf, the Elizabethtown documentary-film maker, put out a news release today that promises a “positive agenda for creating jobs and growing the economy in the North Country.”

Mr. Woolf is seeking the seat now occupied by Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, who in 2009 became the first Democrat to represent the north country in more than a century. With Republican Elise M. Stefanik’s thrashing of opponent Matthew A. Doheny in Tuesday’s primary, the prospects of a split ticket that would aid Mr. Woolf are greatly diminished, and made his path to Washington a good deal steeper.

Mr. Woolf, who early in his campaign was something of a stealth candidate as he nimbly dodged the press, has become more visible and more vocal in recent weeks. The events of Tuesday could focus him even more closely on the race.

In a news release Wednesday, he took a swipe at the turnout of the Republican voters in the primary, which he said “hovered around 15% of eligible Republican voters.” He attributed the low turnout in part to low public satisfaction with Congress, positioning himself as an engaged outsider seeking to move to the inside and effect change. And he takes a swipe at Ms. Stefanik’s federal government connections.

“As someone who has spent his career chronicling the consequences of Congressional short-sighted policies, Aaron understands and recognizes firsthand the frustration so many feel about Congress,” the release states. “This is a primary motivator for Aaron’s entry into the race — the need for citizen representatives unencumbered by the special interests in Washington, D.C. and untainted by the toxic partisanship in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

The release offers five proposals :

No budget, no pay for Congress — for real

No funding for, nor use of, a taxpayer-funded gym or salon and barber shop by members of Congress on the public dime. It is unconscionable that numerous individuals in the House of Representatives took advantage of these perks during the shutdown of the government while federal employees could not get paid.

No funding for, nor use of, taxpayer money to pay for the rent or lease of vehicles.

No funding for, nor use of, health care “perks” that are not available to the general public. Numerous lawmakers that have voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act have voted for themselves taxpayer-funded lifetime health care plans.

No travel under the “charter jet” loophole allowing members of Congress to use political campaign funds to upgrade a privately-funded flight to first class travel.

“I am running for Congress to represent New York’s 21st District and bring the region’s spirit of independence, practicality, and hard work to Washington. Washington needs our bipartisan, cooperative spirit — we do not need more of Washington’s divisive attitudes determining how we live here,” Mr. Woolf was quoted in the release. “I plan to adopt these common sense reforms to demonstrate that what is fair in the North Country, like personally paying for personal benefits that we utilize, is also fair in Washington. We should be directing hard-earned taxpayer money towards creating jobs, investing in our region, and growing our economy, not for plush congressional benefits. As a Congressman, I will live by the same rules that apply to my fellow New York 21 residents.”

— PLW

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