Let’s get the message to Stefanik by voting
Did you notice that our Representative Elise Stefanik came to Johnstown, on Oct. 10, for one of her “Coffee with Your Congresswoman” events? You may have missed it because her office announced the event with only two days notice. You also might have missed it because the meeting was in the middle of the afternoon.
These scheduling details are by design. Her meetings are always on short notice, always at an inconvenient time, never scheduled for more than one hour. It’s as if our representative would rather not listen to us. Why would that be?
Short version of Stefanik’s life story: Grew up in wealthy suburbs of Albany, attended private school, went to Harvard, moved to Washington and worked in the Bush White House. In 2014, she grabbed the chance run for the open seat in our district, claiming her parent’s Adirondack vacation home as her primary residence. Washington has been her true home since 2006. To be fair, she did buy a house in our district last December. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile to make it look like you are one of the people.
Everyone knows you can’t win elections without raising lots of money. So who is backing Stefanik? By far, the largest contributors are corporations and wealthy individuals. It’s also worth noting that only 14 percent of her donations in the last five years come from within our district. If she had to rely on donations from regular folks in the district, she’d be sunk. That’s why we get one hour on a Thursday afternoon. I’m betting her big money backers have a little easier time getting her time and attention. This also explains why Stefanik consistently undermines efforts to make sure people have quality, affordable healthcare. Her rich donors might have to surrender a bit more of their not-so-hard earned wealth.
So what is the recipe for success when you don’t represent the people’s interests? Hit hard on the social issues (guns, guns, guns) that the rich don’t care about because it doesn’t cost them anything. Spend your special interest funds on tons of negative ads demonizing your opponent. This is a playbook that has worked well for Stefanik. Unfortunately it’s not working for the rest of us. If you can’t give her that message in person you can do it with your vote in November 2020.