MALONE — Attendees at Friday's Coffee with your Congresswoman event hosted by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) asked the congresswoman about her stance on issues such as agriculture, health care and social security.
Stefanik began the public forum by presenting Hal Queyor of Malone AMVETS Post 8 with a Congressional certificate to recognize the post for its community leadership.
Attendees had the opportunity to speak to their representative directly, and several thanked her for the work she has done.
That included Jamie Reddy, who expressed gratitude for Stefanik’s office’s assistance with helping her husband, U.S. Army Reserve Maj. and trauma surgeon Dr. Nikalesh Reddy, obtain his U.S. citizenship.
“I’m really grateful,” Nikalesh said. “Thank you very much.”
On the topics of Social Security and Medicare, Stefanik said that we have paid into those programs and are owed them.
However, the programs’ current paths will lead them to insolvency for younger generations, which will take new legislation to remedy.
“But no changes for those 50 and above,” she stressed.
“This district has a huge amount of seniors so that monthly budget is critical to their ability to make ends meet.”
Ben Landry, a visiting assistant professor at SUNY Potsdam, asked Stefanik why she voted to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), given that her office told him she would not vote to restrict those with pre-existing conditions or support a Medicaid block grant, which would turn power of the program over to the states.
Stefanik said the AHCA did provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and was not a straight Medicaid block grant.
"This was a two-year process for states to ensure that they could have strong Medicaid programs, and I think New York State is woefully in need of reforming its Medicaid system.”
We should be having conversations to reform the health care system, Stefanik continued, but she does not support Medicare-for-all.
“I do not want to see the government control our health care system because it’s going to sky-rocket costs and it’s going to lessen coverage.”
On what is being done to stabilize the price of milk, Stefanik brought up last year's Farm Bill, which included updating the Margin Protection Program for Dairy and replacing it with the Dairy Margin Coverage program.
Last year saw a real crisis in terms of milk prices, the congresswoman said, with farmers getting $14 per hundredweight.
“It is now up to about 17 to 19 dollars, so we’re moving in the right direction. We’ve got to continue that upward climb and really get into the mid-20s in order for our farms to really be thriving.”
In regards to how she feels about redoing Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) laws, Stefanik said loopholes in those statutes should be closed.
“It would benefit farmers here and across the country.”
Stefanik said she has voted on three bills related to off-shore drilling.
She took a pro-environmental stance on one that focused specifically on Alaska, and voted for a bill that would not allow drilling in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida based on the locals’ feedback.
Stefanik voted against the third, saying it was too over-reaching to ban new drilling off both the east and west coasts.
“I do think local delegations are best in position to make that decision.”
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