Being critical of Stefanik is due to what we are seeing
Jon Stead, the top Republican official in Fulton County, recently wrote to The Leader-Herald expressing being tired of letters critical of our representative, Elise Stefanik. Mr. Stead suggests this it is “a half-dozen or so people” who are parroting talking points they have been fed by “some central political organization.”
In fact those critical of Ms. Stefanik are many and they are paying close attention to how she chooses to represent us. Supporters of Tedra Cobb are growing in number and include many Independents and Republicans, some of whom are prominent members of our community.
Mr. Stead defends Stefanik, saying she is “in the mainstream.” He and I clearly have different standards about what constitutes the mainstream. My definition does not include supporting tax cuts for the rich and deregulation for big corporations while voting to take healthcare and food stamps away from struggling residents in our district. I also don’t consider it mainstream to stay silent when our president stokes racial divisions, displays gross incompetence in his handling of a pandemic, or plays lap dog to Vladimir Putin.
I disagree that it is “attack politics” when we accurately describe the actions of our representative and take issue with them. If you want real examples of attack politics take a look at Elise Stefanik’s attacks on Tedra Cobb in 2018 and again this year. They are filled with gross distortions of Tedra’s record. We shouldn’t be surprised by this, given how Elise has chosen to embrace Donald Trump and all that he represents.
Tedra Cobb is not an “empty glass,” as Mr. Stead suggests. Fully introducing her to voters can’t be done in one letter but here are two things worth knowing. One is this: Tedra has nine adopted siblings. That wasn’t her choice but it taught a powerful lesson about opening your heart to others, especially the most vulnerable among us. She has also been a volunteer fire fighter which says to me she understands community and that she is tough in the right kind of way.
Here’s something I agree with Jon Stead on: Ms Stefanik is indeed “bright, energetic and articulate” and has the ability to understand complex issues. She has qualities that could make her a great representative. The problem is she is not. Tedra Cobb will be, if we give her the chance.