Opinion: Stefanik avoids North Country residents, says Canton resident
Friday, January 26, 2018 - 8:13 am

To the Editor:

On Dec. 30, Representative Elise Stefanik wrote on her Facebook page, “The nonviolent protesters in Iran deserve our support as they stand up to this rogue regime. This is an important moment for everyone who hopes to see a free Iran.”

The suffering of citizens under the authoritarian regime in Iran--which includes strict theocratic censorship, political imprisonment, state-sanctioned reprisals and torture--is indeed cause for alarm. But Representative Stefanik is an exceedingly poor messenger for accountability.

Last May, Representative Stefanik voted for the American Health Care Act. This proposal would have block-granted and then diminished Medicaid (through her staff, Rep. Stefanik had assured constituents that she was opposed to block-granting Medicaid, a statement contradicted by her vote) and thrown out many of the protections guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act.

In the lead-up to the vote, she issued a letter threatening to sic Capitol police on constituents calling her office in protest. She also labeled her peacefully-protesting constituents “reprehensible.”

At every turn, Rep. Stefanik avoids meeting her constituents in public. When she dips into Northern New York, it is without prior announcement on her website, which invariably reads “There are currently no posted events.”

She makes an occasional stop to a local business or private fundraiser, but she refuses to meet the public in town halls and offers only “tele-town halls” with prescreened participants and questions.

Apparently, Representative Stefanik--nonresponsive to her constituents and allergic to accountability -- did not consider her own interactions with her constituents before issuing her statement on Iran.

Ben Landry

Canton