Democratic candidate running in North Country says public ‘frustrated’ with Congress, wants reform
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 11:33 am

Democrat Aaron Woolf now knows who his Republican opponent will be in the election for Congress in the North Country, and today he has put forward steps he wants Congress to adopt, such as not paying members of Congress if they don’t approve a budget.

A day after Elise Stefanik’s strong victory over Matt Doheny in the Republican primary in the 21st Congressional District, Woolf has outlined an agenda that focuses on what his campaign is calling “Five Steps to Change Congress” in an effort to counter the “frustration so many feel about Congress.”

As a major motivator for his entry into the race, the campaign statement cites “the need for citizen representatives unencumbered by the special interests in Washington, D.C. and untainted by the toxic partisanship in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

His outline makes special note of the “widespread frustration surrounding the government shutdown and reckless brinksmanship over the debt limit.”

The five steps, as listed in a statement from his campaign office, are:

· No budget, no pay for Congress – for real

· No funding for, nor use of, a taxpayer-funded gym or salon and barber shop by members of Congress on the public dime. It is unconscionable that numerous individuals in the House of Representatives took advantage of these perks during the shutdown of the government while federal employees could not get paid.

· No funding for, nor use of, taxpayer money to pay for the rent or lease of vehicles.

· No funding for, nor use of, health care “perks” that are not available to the general public. Numerous lawmakers that have voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act have voted for themselves taxpayer-funded lifetime health care plans.

· No travel under the “charter jet” loophole allowing members of Congress to use political campaign funds to upgrade a privately-funded flight to first class travel.

“Washington needs our bipartisan, cooperative spirit—we do not need more of Washington’s divisive attitudes determining how we live here,” Woolf, a filmmaker from Elizabethtown and Manhattan, is quoted as saying in the statement. “I plan to adopt these common sense reforms to demonstrate that what is fair in the North Country, like personally paying for personal benefits that we utilize, is also fair in Washington.

“We should be directing hard-earned taxpayer money towards creating jobs, investing in our region, and growing our economy, not for plush congressional benefits. As a Congressman, I will live by the same rules that apply to my fellow New York 21 residents.”

Woolf’s hold on the Democratic ballot line is secure, and now he knows he will be facing Stefanik in the 12 counties in the district, for the seat being relinquished by Democratic incumbent Bill Owens.

Stefanik, of Willsboro, has also won the Conservative Party line on the ballot, while her primary opponent Matt Doheny of Watertown will also be on the ballot, but only on the Independence Party line.

Also on the ballot will be Green Party baker Matt Funiciello of Glens Falls.