Democratic Assemblywoman Jenne seeks to retain seat; touts experience, record
By JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week
Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresea, is hoping to keep her seat for another term citing experience and strong knowledge of what matters to her constituents as her major strengths.
Jenne has served in the Assembly for a decade and lived in the North Country for 40 years. As a member of the majority party she has been successful in securing funding for a wide range of community improvement projects.She supports single-payer healthcare, “red flag” gun control measures, dismantling of the governor’s economic development programs, legalizing recreational marijuana, increased funding for schools and continued support for funding addiction recovery.
Jenne has a reputation among local officials as being accessible and responsive to local officials and has developed relationships with local leaders and organizations that she says keep her in touch with community.
She opposes term limits for elected officials.
Being in majority
Jenne says being in the majority party in the Assembly is critical to moving bills forward.
She says she is able to provide the North Country perspective to her colleagues and highlight the needs of the area. She says being in the majority party gives her a stronger voice in Albany and helps ensure the North Country is represented.
“I have a strong record of being able to impact issues that are important to the North Country and also bring needed investment here,” she said, adding that she provides a unique voice to the majority.
Jenne says healthcare reform is crucial to St. Lawrence County. A recent report showed St. Lawrence County residents were twice as likely to be without insurance as neighboring counties. She said that even those with insurance may struggle to afford their co-pays and other costs of care.
She sees a single-payer insurance option, similar to the Canadian model, as the solution.
“The current system is only making insurance companies rich and also denying coverage to people when they need it the most,” she said.
Jenne said healthcare costs keep rising and the best way to combat the increases for the short- and long-term is by taking away corporate profits.
She says one way to do this is by not approving rate increases, which she said was recently accomplished. Jenne says that the bottom line is people need to “be able to go to the hospital and not come out bankrupt.”
She says a universal healthcare plan would achieve this goal.
Jenne voted in favor of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s controversial SAFE Act. She does not support repeal of the bill, which requires background checks for all gun purchases, requires registration of “assault rifles” for those who own them and outlaws the sale and of the same firearms.
Jenne also supports “red flag” legislation. Those laws would make it easier to for law enforcement to take guns away from people who are deemed a risk to themselves or others.
Under current state law, firearms may be removed from a person subject to a temporary order of protection issued by a criminal or family court, but a court can only issue a temporary order of protection in connection with a criminal or family offense proceeding.
However there is no state law that enables a court to issue an order to temporarily seize firearms from a person who is believed to pose a severe threat of harm to themself or others unless that person has also been accused of a crime or family offense. Red flag legislation would allow teachers and school administrators to pursue court intervention for those deem potentially dangerous.
Jenne supports a school’s ability to have an armed officer on the premises. She says it’s a local issue that should be determined by schools, not Albany.
“I think there are instances where it is very valuable,” she said.
Jenne says it’s time to legalize marijuana in New York. She has co-sponsored legislation to provide the regulatory structure to legalize marijuana and believes legalization will occur at a federal level sooner rather than later.
“The war on drugs and efforts to keep marijuana from being used have failed,” she said. “Compared to serious drugs in the community, marijuana is not nearly as harmful.”
Jenne says many other states have moved forward on legalization and there are a lot of lessons learned that can be used when creating a policy for New York.
Compared to serious drugs in community, marijuana is not nearly as harmful, she said.
Regional economic development competitions have run their course, according to Jenne. She says the governor’s economic development programs like Start Up New York, Empire State Development and the regional economic development councils and competitions need to be reformed at minimum.
But she would prefer to see them scrapped entirely for more traditional economic development methods.
“If there is a great project out there it’s likely been nominated and received funding or been passed over,” she said. “The other competitions that are pitting communities against communities, the way they’ve been designed have also run their course.”
Jenne sits on the economic development committee in the Assembly and says there is significant agreement on this issue.
“We hold hearings on this issue and have made our feelings known about the lack of transparency and the resulting shadow of corruption that hangs over the governor’s economic development programs,” she said.
Jenne does not support term limits, because she believes elections already serve that purpose.
“I go before the voters every two years, so I do have a term limit every two years. And I have opposition every time,” she said. “I don’t think you should just tell someone they can’t run for office when their community wants them there.”
She said she does not believe term limits are necessary at any branch of state government.
She also disagrees with critics who say lengthy terms in office lead to corruption. She said that time in office and corruption are not linked.