Democratic congressional hopeful Woolf releases point-by-point criticism of Stefanik’s national Republican speech
Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 9:57 am

21st Congressional candidate Aaron Woolf offered a point by point criticism of Elise Stefanik’s Republican address that he argues was both misleading and void of substance.

One of the most important takeaways is that by giving this address, while refusing to make herself available to the local press, Stefanik has proven herself to be the consummate D.C. insider, Woolf said in a prepared statement.

The following is Woolf’s point by point response to Stefanik:

Hi, I’m Elise Stefanik, and I’m running for Congress in New York's 21st District. I'm proud to say I was born and raised in Upstate New York.

Elise Stefanik has no ties to the district. She was born and raised in Albany; attended the Albany Academy for girls; went to college at Harvard; then spent a decade in Washington as a D.C. insider. She then moved to her parents’ summer home in Willsboro for one year just to lay the foundation for her run for Congress. The only property she owns is in Washington, D.C., a $1.2 million townhouse on Capitol Hill. In fact, it isn’t even clear if she pays property taxes in the district.

Aaron Woolf, on the other hand, has ties to the North Country dating back to 1968 when his family first bought a home in Elizabethtown. Aaron spent much of his childhood in E-Town and attended college just 45 minutes away. Because E-Town is the only place he has consistently called home, Aaron lives there with his wife and daughter, who attends preschool in Essex County.

And I grew up in a small business family. When I was a kid, my parents risked everything they had to start our family's small business. And more than 20 years later, we’ve been proud to work with hundreds of small businesses in New York’s North Country.

The plywood business Stefanik says she is a vice president of is located outside of the district. Further, Stefanik has made relentless personal attacks on Aaron Woolf, his family, and businesses. But Premium Plywood Products has faced numerous lawsuits that have sought damages ranging from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars. Stefanik’s business was even sued by a workers’ compensation trust for failing to make payments, losing the case. And Premium Plywood Products was also sued for $1.1 million in a personal injury suit. In fact, Stefanik’s business has been cited 149 times for various violations by the New York State Department of Transportation.

But Washington has made it harder for small businesses like ours to succeed and grow. President Obama has piled on more taxes, more regulations, more debt for future generations, and higher health care costs – hurting our Main Street economy.

What Stefanik fails to mention is that her business actually received a Small Business Administration (SBA) grant from the U.S. Federal government. Stefanik and her family were happy to receive help from the federal government if it benefited them, but is critical of the federal government when it works to help others.

As a matter of fact, because of Obamacare, my family's small business had our coverage cancelled. Our new plan carried a 30 percent premium increase, higher deductibles, and higher out-of-pocket co-pays. This is a story that's become all too common, here and all around the country, whether you were promised lower costs or told you’d be able to keep the plan you like.

According to the authoritative September 2014 Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) report, next year New York state is set to see one of the lowest average premium rate increases for healthcare plans in the country: 5.7 percent. In fact, average annual premiums for specifically employer-sponsored family health coverage is up just 3 percent from last year “continuing a recent trend of modest increases,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) 2014 Employer Health Benefits Survey released last month. According to the survey: “Premiums increased more slowly over the past five years than the preceding five years (26 percent vs. 34 percent) and well below the annual double-digit increases recorded in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This year’s increase also is similar to the year-to-year rise in worker’s wages (2.3 percent) and general inflation (2 percent).”

I decided to run for office because my generation can't just complain about these problems. We have to help solve them as well. It starts with working every day on improving the economy and bringing jobs home to Main Street.

Elise Stefanik is out of touch with her generation, many of whom are struggling mightily under the weight of student loan debt, which now exceeds $1.2 trillion. Elise Stefanik promised to release a student loan reform plan three months ago, but three months later: nothing. All we know is that she was the Policy Director of the 2012 Republican Platform that called for ending all federal student loans; and she coached Paul Ryan in 2012 in how to defend his budget proposal that billions of dollars be cut from Pell Grants.


That’s why I’ve pledged if elected, I’ll work to overhaul our tax code to make it flatter, fairer, and simpler. Let’s clear out all the special interest loopholes and put the focus on promoting job creation and economic growth, especially for our young people.

Elise Stefanik refuses to support the elimination of Big Oil subsidies and tax loopholes. Apparently she doesn’t believe those should encompass the “special interest loopholes” she wants to end.

Stefanik released a tax and regulatory relief “Reform Proposal” in late September that comprises…one sentence. What is clear is that Stefanik supports a “flatter” tax system that will make the wealthy pay less of their income and working families pay more of their income. She specifically excludes deductions for the mortgage tax credit and education or childcare expenses—all of which will hurt families of all sizes. Stefanik also rejects the Buffet Rule and any approach to making millionaires and billionaires pay more of their fair share.

We also have to work to repeal and replace ObamaCare with commonsense proposals that lower costs, improve healthcare quality, and increase accessibility, especially for rural communities like New York's North Country.

Elise Stefanik released a “proposal” for repealing the Affordable Care Act that is all of five sentences. Under Stefanicare, we are left to assume that we’d go back to the days of a discriminatory insurance system with out-of control costs and profits. Under Stefanicare, we can also assume that there will be at least five NOs: 1) No regulation of minimum plan standards, like free preventative care or deductibles, much less a cap on the maximum a person can pay out of pocket. 2) No protections for women so they don’t get charged more than men. 3) No cost controls for Big Insurance companies and their profits. 4) No protection against insurers who simply “cap” the amount a sick person can receive in a single year. And 5) No idea as to how her five ideas would be paid for or how it would affect the federal budget.

And we have to address energy costs, which make or break our farms, small businesses, and household budgets. We need a national energy policy that helps create jobs and lowers costs while protecting our environment. This means expanding energy exploration; utilizing alternative energy sources like solar and wind; developing more nuclear energy; and reining in mandates on energy suppliers and developers. I believe in an all-of-the-above energy policy that promotes energy independence.

Stefanik is contradicting herself. She has said that she opposes “all federal subsidies to companies for alternative energy projects.” This is despite the fact that up to 94 percent of the district’s electricity is generated by renewables; and about a third of the state’s renewable electricity is produced in the North Country. The question is why a prospective representative would reject the government’s help in promoting our local economy and protecting our environment? Especially when Stefanik refuses to support closing tax loopholes for Big Oil companies.

Stefanik also supports the expanded use of coal power, using the Washington speak of “clean coal,” which is expensive and impractical to implement. Her position on coal also indicates a lack of understanding of the district and its energy history. Airborne pollutants threaten the Adirondacks and the jobs and dollars it supports.

Stefanik also is an unabashed supporter of fracking without strict regulation. Woolf has made it clear that if companies choose to frack, they must abide by laws such as the Safe Drinking Water Act; and local communities must have meaningful input and access to information.

Woolf is endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters.

These are common-sense steps we can take to get government out of the way and put the American Dream back within reach for all Americans. One month from today, all Americans face a clear choice: stick with the status quo of more government, more spending, and higher taxes or choose a new direction of new ideas to unleash job creation and economic growth. That’s what I hope to do if I’m fortunate enough to serve in Congress. And every day I will fight for a better future for the hardworking families in New York's 21st District. Thank you for listening.

Who Elise Stefanik’s friends are says a lot about her plans for the district. Let’s recap. Karl Rove spent more than a million dollars to win Stefanik the primary and ensure she continues to support tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Paul Ryan came to the district for a closed press fundraiser—and now for 172 days Stefanik has refused to say if she supports her mentor’s plan to end the Medicare guarantee. John Boehner came to the district for another closed press fundraiser—and this is the same leader in Washington who helped shut the government down. And now Boehner tabbed Stefanik to give the Republican national address. Isn’t it clear by now that Stefanik, if elected to Congress, won’t be loyal to Upstate New York or the North Country? Instead, she’ll be loyal to her friends in D.C. After all, if they’re working this hard to win her the election, they’re going to want a return on their investment.