Opinion: Stefanik making her own narrative, says St. Lawrence County Democratic Committee
Friday, January 10, 2020 - 9:11 am

We write to you today on behalf of the Executive Committee of the St. Lawrence County Democratic Committee. Elise Stefanik’s weekly newsletter has landed in the e-mail accounts of thousands of constituents across NY21 and once again, Ms. Stefanik has shaped the news to support the view she wishes was true.

Unfortunately, the “news” that she reports is not entirely based in fact. In explanation of her vote against the impeachment of Donald Trump, Ms. Stefanik stated, “In order to impeach a duly-elected President, there must be direct evidence of impeachable offenses – high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery or treason.

Neither the Intelligence Committee nor the Judiciary Committee found direct evidence, resulting in bipartisan opposition to impeachment.” Ms. Stefanik has added words to the Constitution. The Constitution does not include the words “direct evidence”; those are words added by Ms. Stefanik to make her narrative work.

The actual words from the Constitution read like this, “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Ms. Stefanik requires the words “direct evidence” to support her claim that no evidence was presented to the Congress. Ms. Stefanik knows that evidence was presented; she was there for much of it and even had the opportunity to question witnesses.

She used part of her time to question process and scold a colleague. Ms. Stefanik goes on to say that President Trump’s quid pro quo was an “illusion.” Several witnesses testified that the quid pro quo existed. She supports her “illusion” by making the ridiculous claim that because funding to Ukraine was eventually restored and an investigation into the Bidens was never completed, quid pro quo did not exist. The aid was sent after the misdeed was reported by the whistle blower and the Ukranian government refused to take part in the scheme. Just because a crime was not successful does not mean that it did not happen.

Thankfully our local authorities do not share the same view regarding enforcement of our laws. Imagine the shoplifter caught at the door who claims innocence because he didn’t make it out to his car. We are aware that Ms. Stefanik is a very intelligent person; she is a Graduate of Harvard. Ms. Stefanik should respect the intelligence of her constituents more than to try to pull off such a thing. She has the right to vote her conscious but it is intellectual dishonesty to support your view by distorting the truth.

The newsletter fails to explain why Ms. Stefanik voted against H.R.5377 Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act. According to the Congressional summary,

“This bill increases the tax deduction for state and local taxes in 2019 to $20,000 for persons filing a joint tax return. It eliminates the current $10,000 cap on the deduction in 2020 and 2021.

The bill increases the deduction for the expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers from $250 to $500. It also allows a deduction from gross income (above-the-line deduction) for expenses of first responders, up to $500, for tuition or fees for professional development courses related to service as a first responder or for uniforms used by first responders. The bill defines "first responder" as any individual employed as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, paramedic, or emergency medical technician for at least 1,000 hours during the taxable year.

The bill increases the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6% beginning in 2020, and reduces the dollar amount at which the increased tax rate begins.”

In an area like St. Lawrence County where every dollar counts, improvements to the Federal Tax code are sorely needed. Since she is finally a homeowner in the District, Ms. Stefanik should understand how important the Federal deduction for State and local taxes are to the people of NY21.

Doesn’t Ms. Stefanik realize the personal expense that teachers in her district spend to make sure the kids have what they need? Doesn’t she realize the great personal expense first responders make in keeping NY21 safe? Was she merely voting to protect the 1%?

Last week Ms. Stefanik voted against HR3 the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This bill would lower prescription costs through negotiation, protect and enhance (dental and vision) medicare services for Seniors and our most vulnerable. Doesn’t Ms. Stefanik know her constituents and their needs? She has promised to lower drug prices but votes against the very bill that would do it.

Lastly, it was reported in several news outlets that Ms. Stefanik is on the short list to defend President Trump in the Senate Impeachment Trial. It is our sincere hope that Ms. Stefanik spends her time working directly with the people of NY21 rather than currying political favors with the Washington elite.

St. Lawrence County Democratic Committee

Mark Bellardini, Mike Zagrobelny, Barbara Finnie, Heather Kish, Jennie Bacon, Ronald McDougall, Tony Arquiett, Nicole Terminelli, Jason Clark