With lawmakers back home from Washington, northern New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik did some volunteering at the Salvation Army in Glens Falls on Monday. The organization this week is distributing food and toys to needy families.
Inside the gymnasium at the Greater Glens Falls Salvation Army, boxes upon boxes of food were lined up and categorized, waiting to be delivered.
Major David Dean says the building will see high traffic through the Christmas holiday.
“By the time we get to tomorrow afternoon, we’ll have served close to two thousand people,” said Dean.
New York 21st District Representative Elise Stefanik volunteered some time Monday afternoon, loading up boxes with food and bringing parents into the toy room.
“This makes their holiday, to be able to give their children gifts this time of the year.”
Stefanik, who is just wrapping up her first full year in Congress, also took some time to talk about the recently passed omnibus spending bill. The Republican talked about the items in the bill that she says will benefit her district, including $19 million in funding to modernize the non-commissioned officers academy at Fort Drum.
“Which are World War II era barracks that are, frankly, dilapidated. I was the lead advocate for that on the House Armed Services Committee and was able to get it through Appropriations. Also, the planning and design for an east coast missile defense site. There are four sites under consideration, Fort Drum is one of those.”
Also included in the bill is a two-year repeal of the medical device tax. The greater Glens Falls region is home to several companies that manufacture medical equipment.
“You’ve seen bipartisan support for the full repeal of the medical device tax, which is killing jobs in our district and it doesn’t allow these medical device manufacturers to reinvest and hire additional people.”
The Congresswoman who represents the Adirondack Park also discussed the importance of financing the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Stefanik says she doesn’t like everything in the compromise legislation.
“It’s a large spending bill. We need to continue to focus on cutting our debt and defecit in common sense ways, and hopefully, next year, the goal is to go through the regular appropriations process department by department, committee by committee, instead of one end of the year spending bill.”
Looking forward to 2016, Stefanik said she wants to fight for comprehensive tax reform, combat the heroin epidemic, and expand rural broadband.
“I’m energized. You know, this has been a very productive year. I’ve spent a lot of time visiting all the 12 counties, many, many times in my district. I think I’m one of the most energetic and hardworking members of Congress. That’s something I hear from constituents every day.”
Stefanik will also have to hit the campaign trail. She already has a declared challenger in Peru native and retired army colonel Mike Derrick, a Democrat. Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello also plans to run again.