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Stefanik condemns violence, but opposes impeachment

JOHNSTOWN — U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik of the 21st Congressional District decried the violent and deadly protests last week in Washington D.C. in a presentation before the Fulton County Board of Supervisors Monday afternoon.

But, in a leter statement, said she opposes the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Karoline Leavitt, Stefanik’s communications director, issued a brief statement this morning on Stefanik’s assessment of impeaching the president for a second time.

“Congresswoman Stefanik opposes the Democrats’ partisan and political push for impeachment,” the statement reads. “The Electoral College was debated and certified for President-Elect Joe Biden, and Congresswoman Stefanik believes that we should work to unify as a nation to ensure we have a peaceful transfer of power on January 20th. Congresswoman Stefanik will be attending or participating (since portions are virtual) of President-Elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration.”

The county’s Republican congresswoman also gave a legislative update to supervisors during the online monthly board meeting.

“I condemn the horrific violent acts and destruction of property,” Stefanik said of the pro-President Donald Trump-supporters who protested at the Capitol Building. She told the board she was caught in the middle of the violence.

Stefanik said people have a right to express themselves peacefully, but have no Constitutional right to “destruction and the loss of life.” She said the event took place during a “very divided time” in our nation’s history. Stefanik was one of the members of Congress who voted against the Electoral College certification electing Democrat Joe Biden president. Many of the protestors attacked the Capitol Building Jan. 6, as the certification process was taking place.

Stefanik went on in her remarks to touch on her personal federal “priorities” for the 21st District, including helping to stem the COVID-19 crisis. She said Congress passed a pandemic relief package in December which took many months to come to fruition. She said the bill provides New York state schools over $4 billion by 2022, while providing $400,000 to the state Department of Transportation. The congresswoman noted another $1.6 million is earmarked for vaccines, distribution and COVID tracing. The Paycheck Protection Program will receive an additional $325 million for small businesses nationwide, she said.

She told county officials that she is also trying to improve Broadband service within the district.

In a question and answer portion of the presentation, Democratic Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr. said his father before he passed away told him that defeated politicians should “go out like a man.”

“What we have seen from this president is a disgrace,” he told Stefanik.

Lauria said that even his eight-year-old granddaughter told him the president was behaving like a “baby” because he lost to Biden.

Stefanik responded by not mentioning Trump, but again referring to the “tragic and un-American” activity on Jan. 6. She said “no one” endorses such acts. She also said objections to voting results go back in history. She said discussion of election integrity is normal and America needs to “rebuild’ its election process for the good of the entire nation.

Caroga Supervisor Scott Horton brought up Broadband and said the latest initiative doesn’t encompass the northern part of his town. He said that area needs to be serviced.

Stefanik said New York state wasn’t originally eligible for certain Broadband funding, but she asked the Federal Communications Commission to include her district.

“We will definitely follow up with you,” she told Horton.

Democratic Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young said it was okay to object to elections, but to do so after the violence as Trump did was wrong.

“Fulton County, like many other municipalities, has a Board of Elections,” he said.

Young said the Trump Administration provided a “slap in the face” to election officials nationwide, expressing a hope that Fulton County’s officials never face a “lack of faith” and such treatment over their professionalism.

“It has stoked violence and caused shame,” he said.

Stefanik said her office is aware of the job done by election officials in rural districts.

“I still believe there’s significant improvements we can make,” she said.

Republican Northampton Supervisor James Groff told Stefanik, “It has been a pleasure working with you.”

Stefanik responded by noting that last fall she received in victory the highest total of votes “ever” in the district.

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