Congresswoman Elise Stefanik holds telephone town hall with supporters
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is in her fourth term representing northern New York’s 21st district. She serves as chair of the House Republican Conference, the No. 3 leadership position, and now characterizes herself as ultra-MAGA. The Republican held a telephone town hall with constituents on Thursday evening.
Stefanik, a zealous supporter of former President Donald Trump, had said she would counter program the January 6th Committee hearings. Thursday’s town hall was held an hour before the start of that hearing. She has dismissed the committee’s work as a witch hunt.
Stefanik began her town hall describing the issues she says are the priorities of her constituents.
“The number one issue that I hear facing families is skyrocketing inflation. This is the highest rate of inflation in 40 years. Recently, I introduced legislation to hold the Biden administration accountable. I want to touch on the second top issue that I'm hearing about, which is the skyrocketing cost of gas prices. These have doubled since Joe Biden took office. I'm supporting a package of bills that Republicans have put forth to unleash American energy production instead of increasing our reliance on foreign adversaries for our energy. This includes the American energy independence from Russia Act, which would immediately undo the Biden administration's actions that have hurt and really stopped gas production in the United States.”
According to Forbes, before the pandemic the U.S. had reached an all-time high in oil production but demand dropped during the pandemic. The article says “Rising oil prices — in response to insufficient supplies — are the predominant reason for the surge in gasoline prices.”
Calls to tele-town halls such as this are typically screened. Every individual who spoke supported Congresswoman Stefanik. Only first names and home towns were announced by the moderator.
A recurring theme from questioners was gun rights. Jennifer from Hartford, in Washington County, was concerned about what she called reactionary gun control actions.
“I am exceptionally concerned that we are fast losing our Second Amendment rights. The mass shootings that are happening, I don't think anybody is like, you know, happy that that's happening. But the answer, and if you look at the statistics, is not more gun control.”
Congresswoman Stefanik responded, “We mourn for the horrific loss of life in those horrible mass shootings. And it was under Republican leadership that we increased mental health funding. I am adamantly pro Second Amendment. That is a constitutional right. It is a right not given to us by government. It is a natural right. And it's a right that I will continue to stand up for.”
Voting rights in the wake of the 2020 election is a concern of Cory from Canton in St. Lawrence County. He referenced “2000 Mules,” a movie spreading false voter fraud claims, and a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that determined absentee ballot drop boxes are illegal in that state.
“I think these other topics wouldn't be issues if the election was run constitutionally, which it obviously wasn’t. So what are we doing to get to the bottom of that?”
“We need to pass legislation to strengthen our elections," replied Stefanik. "Here are some bills that I'm leading on. Number one, the Citizen Ballot Protection Act. This allows states to require voters to provide proof of citizenship. And then importantly I co-sponsored the Save Democracy Act. It prohibits automatic voter registration. it mandates voter ID. It prohibits delivery of mail-in ballots unless requested. It prohibits drop boxes, prohibits ballot harvesting, prohibits accepting absentee ballots after the election date. We need to make sure that our elections are safe and secure and that we rebuild the faith of the American people in our election system.”
Stefanik voted against certifying the election results.
The last caller of the evening, Steven of Evans Mills, a village in Jefferson County, presented the Congresswoman an opportunity to preview a GOP extension of the Newt Gingrich Contract with America from the 90s.
“What is your message? What I'm recommending to the Republican Party is you write a Contract with America 2023.”
“We are doing what's called Commitment to America," the Congresswoman enthusiastically noted, "which is our version of the Contract. We've worked on this for over a year and it will be a list of, for example, the Parents Bill of Rights, the Reign in Inflation Act, you know, balancing the budget, investing in our national security, going back to the effective secure the border Trump policies. That will be laid out in the Commitment to America. And we're looking forward to introducing that from August through the election cycle.”
No questions were asked and there were no comments about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Roe v Wade decision nor were there inquiries as to the Congresswoman’s assessment of the January 6th committee hearings.