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Congresswoman Elise Stefanik Holds Constituent Forum

Rep. Elise Stefanik
Pat Bradley

Representative Elise Stefanik is in Plattsburgh today. The freshman lawmaker, home from Washington during a recess, began with a “Coffee with the Congresswoman” event where she discussed a number of issues with constituents.

About a dozen people gathered at the Beekmantown Town Hall to meet their 21st District representative and quiz the Republican on numerous issues.

Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik meets with constituents in Beekmantown April 9,2015

Beekmantown Supervisor Dennis Relation initiated the discussion with his concerns about the oil trains that traverse the region.  “Is there anything that the federal government could do or help in case an emergency happens where the communities can not handle it?”
Stefanik replied “I agree with you that if there were an accident the local counties, towns and villages don’t have the resources to focus on the clean up and the emergency management. My concern is both the speed of the oil trains but also the fact that we’re using oil trains to transport. So one issue that I voted in support of is the Keystone Pipeline and utilizing pipelines to transport oil. It’s a better way of transporting our energy. I also think regulation-wise we can slow the speed of the trains. But I do think there needs to be a federal piece with FEMA playing a role in any type of accident.”

Dairy farmer Joe Giroux posed questions on agriculture policy.  “In the last four months we’ve lost almost 40 percent of our income. The price of milk has dropped that much. We have all kinds of laws that are trying to regulate us. But I’m just trying to make you aware that is a big, big concern when we start losing that much of your income.”
Stefanik said  “I’ve done a lot of visits to not just dairy farms in the district but specialty crops, apples maple. It is a huge economic impact. Not just for our district but for New York State as a whole, particularly upstate New York.  And when you’re talking about some of the regulatory issues like  federal overreach in terms of the navigable waters I signed on to legislation that would help lessen the burden  at the federal level.”

Greg Campbell shifted to international affairs, asking the Congresswoman’s opinion on the framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.   “I’m curious where things stand legislatively regarding Congress as far as their having the right to look at and approve any agreement that’s made.”

Congresswoman Stefanik agreed. “I absolutely think Congress should be able to approve the agreement. I serve on the House Armed Services Committee so I’ve really dug into these issues. Iran is not our friend and I don’t support the deal. The only deal I would support is not allowing Iran to have a nuclear weapons capability. This deal does not do it. I think the foreign policy of this administration has been a utter failure. It concerns me that we have a significant amount of time left with a rudderless commander-in-chief and a rudderless leader. I hope that in 2016 there’s more focus on foreign policy than there was previously.”

Other questions in the forum ranged from diabetes and health care to education and broadband.

Congresswoman Stefanik was scheduled to tour higher education facilities in Plattsburgh Thursday, including SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College. She was to tour the Champlain Port of Entry at the border with Canada on Friday.