For residents of the 21st Congressional District, the choice for Congress comes down to a candidate with the potential to make effective change vs. an incumbent who has proven to be a solid, dedicated and effective advocate for the largely rural district.
In that, they need look no further than Elise Stefanik.
Stefanik, who was 30 years old when she got the job four years ago, has matured into the position, making herself a strong voice for the economy, the environment, rural healthcare and the large military presence in her district.
While she aligns herself often with a presidential administration whose policies are often detrimental to the state, she has demonstrated measurable independence and outspokenness when federal policies go against the interests of the district.
For instance, she opposed the Trump Administration rollbacks to the Clean Power Plan, which sets greenhouse gas emission targets to discourage polluters that contribute to acid rain, which affects the Adirondacks.
And she opposed the country leaving the Paris Climate Accord that sets standards to control climate change.
She also supports solar, wind and tax credits and greater investment in hydropower.
She’s secured an additional $250,000 through the federal Environmental Protection Agency for an acid-rain monitoring station in the Adirondacks. The station provides vital information on the impact of the government’s environmental regulations.
Stefanik has also worked effectively to push for reductions in college costs, including securing support for year-round Pell grants.
She has spoken out against some of Trump’s trade and immigration policies, mindful of the important trade relationship that the state and the district maintain with Canada.
And she’s a strong advocate for making it easier to trade with our neighbor to the north.
On the issue of rural health care, an issue that falls in the wheelhouse of her opponent, Democrat Tedra Cobb, Stefanik has successfully fought to maintain community health centers that are so critical to her rural district. Cobb has waffled on her support for federally funded health centers.
Another issue near and dear to the hearts of North Country residents is support for gun control.
Stefanik has been consistent and unapologetic about her pro-gun stance, cognizant of the demographics of her district.
Cobb, on the other hand, was caught on hidden tape trying to hide her support of an assault weapons ban for fear of alienating voters in the district.
We don’t necessarily disagree with her position on the assault weapons ban, but we did call her out for her duplicity and for trying to deflect blame for her comments on the teenager who recorded them.
Cobb has valuable experience as a county legislator, and has extensive knowledge of the district and its needs as a lifelong Adirondacker. And her experience in the healthcare field could be valuable in Congress.
She’s well-spoken, knowledgeable and like Stefanik supports investments in education and having a fully funded federal workforce in the district.
But her campaign has stumbled on health care and other issues, and she hasn’t effectively articulated enough flaws in Stefanik’s representation to justify replacing her.
For the 21st Congressional District, we urge voters to again support Elise Stefanik for Congress on Tuesday.