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Eldridge: Shutdown Means New Leadership Needed


Sean Eldridge, a Democratic candidate for Congress who is challenging Republican Chris Gibson in the 2014 race for the 19th District seat, tells WAMC that the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis are proof that America needs new leadership.

“I certainly hope we come to an agreement that will reopen the government and will allow us to pay our bills and ensure that we keep up the good credit of this country,” Eldridge said. “It’s been very disappointing and troubling to see a small handful of extremists in the House, in the Republican Party, get us to this point. I think we can’t accept this cycle of dysfunction and brinkmanship anymore; it’s having real consequences for our region.”

The government is in its 16th day of a shutdown. Bills proposed by the House haven’t progressed, and possible default looms Thursday. Democrats and Republicans haven’t agreed fully on a bill yet. Eldridge says that the government shutdown and the debt ceiling crisis are proof that America needs new leadership.

“I think we need new leadership in Washington,” Eldridge said. “If you talk to voters in upstate New York and across the country, they’re very frustrated with the government shutdown, with the games that are being played with our debt ceiling, with our economy and the good credit of this country, and I think Republicans are rightfully receiving the majority of that blame, that burden. I think we need new leadership. I think we need folks who will focus on common sense solutions to grow our economy and create jobs.”

Eldridge says that while he is disappointed with Tea Party opposition to the Affordable Care Act, there are still problems with the healthcare overhaul.

“I think we need to make sure that it works. You know, it’s frustrating to see these websites in New York State and across the country not work as smoothly as they should have. For those of us who believe that government has a role to play in making people’s lives better, government needs to work. So we also need to be its strongest critics. And if the exchanges aren’t working properly and the websites aren’t working properly, that’s unacceptable; we’ve made a promise to the American people that this will help improve their healthcare and their lives and we need to make sure that it works.”

Dr. Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the University at Albany. He hosts the weekly Capitol Connection series, heard on public radio stations around New York. The program, for almost 12 years, highlighted interviews with Governor Mario Cuomo and now continues with conversations with state political leaders. Dr. Chartock also appears each week on The Media Project and The Roundtable and offers commentary on Morning Edition, weekdays at 7:40 a.m.