Outgoing New York Republican Congressman John Faso held a conference call with reporters Thursday. He addressed a number of topics, from his defeat to President Trump to legislation he deems important. After one term, Faso lost the 19th District seat to Democrat Antonio Delgado in a bitter campaign.
As Faso wraps up his final weeks in the 115th Congress, the freshman is not closing the door on another run.
“I literally have no idea what I’m going to be doing in January, so I certainly can’t tell you what I’ll be doing two years from now,” said Faso.
Faso said he thought he’d win re-election in the swing district that includes all or portions of 11 counties.
“I felt I was going to win the election right up until 10 o’clock on election night,” Faso said.
“We lost 40 seats in the House,” Faso said. “And I think that this is a real warning and it should be a real wakeup call for the Administration and the president and Republicans, generally.”
Meantime, Faso was asked about whether he would seek to take on Ed Cox as chair of the New York Republican State Committee. The former state Assembly minority leader who ran for governor in 2006 says the party is in trouble and it has been a long time coming, but speculative reports are untrue.
“But in terms of my interest in the state chairmanship, that was a false report,” said Faso. “I have not expressed any interest in it and no one has expressed any interest to me.”
As for the transition to Delgado taking office, Faso says they last spoke election night, when Faso called to wish him well. Faso says his staff and Delgado’s staff have communicated regarding the transition.
“So we’re just working with them to make sure that constituents who may have pending cases, that those cases, if they want to be transferred to either the new congressman or to one of the senators, we have to have the constituent give us a waiver form," said Faso. "They have to sign something.”
Delgado spoke about the transition on the Congressional Corner with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.
“And my team has certainly had a number of discussions with his team when it comes to making sure that we get on the same page about casework and sharing the data so that we can really take on the efforts without any hiccups and have a seamless transition,” said Delgado. “And we hope to continue to do that throughout the coming weeks, so that by the time I’m sworn in January 3, we feel good about where we stand.”
Faso says he has one piece of advice for any successor.
“Be true to your principles and let the chips fall where they may,” Faso said.
Faso, an attorney, says one of his most important accomplishments was passage of the STOP, or Securing the International Mail Against Opioids, Act, for which he was lead sponsor. The provision was adopted as part of a sweeping bill to combat the opioid epidemic.
“That provision will attempt to thwart the influx of illegal substances, particularly fentanyl, coming into the country from China through the U.S. Postal Service,” Faso said. “This has been an ongoing issue. You may have noticed that the president actually tweeted about in his discussions with President Xi about the problem of fentanyl coming into the United States from China.”
On foreign policy, Faso said he is glad there is a new NAFTA agreement but that it took too long. He would have liked to have seen it pass before the House switches to Democratic control. Faso says he is most concerned about the Administration’s policy on trade.
“I’m also concerned about the president’s kind of off-the-cuff statements and tweets on trade issues. I think they are largely unhelpful,” Faso said. “One of his earlier tweets when he said that trade war is easy to win I think is just patently absurd.”
Faso says there’s a lot of objection to what he termed as daily chaos and personality issues that surround the White House. He says constituents continually asked about this.
The Kinderhook resident says he is proud to have raised certain issues, even though they did not make it across the finish line, such as what he calls the unfair practice of imposing Medicaid costs on local property taxpayers.
“It is a big burden on the property taxpayers,” Faso said. “In our district alone, it’s $220 million a year coming out of local property taxes to pay for these Medicaid costs.”
Delgado continues to hold events across the district to thank volunteers for their help throughout his campaign.