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June 25, 2016

 

Phillips, Tenney, Wells seek 22nd District seat

Fire

 
From left, Republicans George Phillips, Claudia Tenney and Steven Wells, who are competing to represent the 22nd Congressional District.

By TODD R. McADAM
Associate Editor
tmcadam@cortlandstandard.net

Cortland County’s 9,700 Republicans have an interesting power next week: Their nominee for the House of Representatives could be a key figure in whether the majority in the House flips to Democrat from Republican.

Republican voters in the 22nd Congressional District will vote Tuesday for one of three candidates to replace Rep. Richard Hanna. That district is one of 18 nationwide that political pundits consider a toss-up. And depending on how those 17 swing, that would change the House majority.

In the primary, history teacher George Phillips of Endwell faces American Food and Vending founder Steve Wells of Cazenovia and Assembly Member Claudia Tenney of New Hartford to replace Hanna (R-Barneveld), who is not seeking re-election to a two-year term.

The winner will face Democrat Kim Myers, a SUNY Cortland alumna from Vestal and independent Martin Babinec of Little Falls in the Nov. 8 general election.

The 22nd District includes Cortland, Chenango, Madison and Oneida counties and part of Broome, Tioga, Herkimer and Oswego counties.
The website 270towin.com predicts a 226-to-189 Republican majority, with 18 considered a toss-up. The site Electionprojection.com predicts a 230-205 Republican majority. However, Politico analysts say Donald Trump’s candidacy could drive people to the other side
of the aisle, and switch the House majority.

The 22nd District is now represented by a Republican, but Hanna’s predecessors — depending on redistricting — include Michael Arcuri, a fiscally conservative Democrat, Maurice Hinchey, a liberal Democrat, and Sherwood Boehlert, a moderate Republican. Districtwide, the 156,000 active Republicans outnumber the 127,000 Democrats, but more than 78,000 unaffiliated voters will play a large role in the general election.
Polls will be open noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

George Phillips

Home: Endwell
Occupation: History teacher
Political experience: Congressional candidate, 2008 and 2010. Aide to Rep. Chris Smith, 2001-2005.
Campaign contributions: $224,367 raised, $104,591 on hand
Platform summary: Phillips supports a return to the gold standard, a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a simplified tax code. He supports the idea of “empowerment zones” to reduce federal taxes on businesses in certain regions of the state to foster development.

QUESTION: How will you break the gridlock that keeps Congress and the federal
government from progress?
ANSWER: I have laid out clear plans to stop heroin by destroying the crops that produce it in Mexico, transform welfare into a work empowerment program and bring in business leaders to scour the government for waste and inefficiencies. I think I can find consensus with both
parties on these issues.

Q: What will you do to revive the local and regional economy?
A: I am leading with an Upstate Jobs Plan — tax and regulatory relief from the federal level in Empowerment Regions that are hard hit like our own that the state has to match. My plan will lift up entrepreneurs and small businesses so they can create jobs and get upstate New York going again.

Q: What industries should this district focus on developing in the future?
A: High-tech jobs are most critical to long-term job growth. Under my Upstate Jobs Plan, I am calling for the elimination or reduction of taxes on investors in our Empowerment Region to spur investment in research and development fields that will lead to long-term high-tech jobs.

Q: How would you help make college more affordable?
A: Get the overall economy going again with tax and regulatory relief. Job growth and median family income has been stagnant the last eight years while college costs have risen. Permitting more choices in higher education through allowing more online colleges to be chartered putting greater competition into the market and lowering costs.

Q: No Child Left Behind left kids behind; Race to the Top relies heavily on
standardized test scores, reducing teaching time as teachers leave the profession. How would you make K-12 education better?
A: As a high school teacher myself and father of three young boys, education is at the center of my life. We need to fight unfunded mandates on the federal level and return control of decisions to local parents and communities. Cutting away layers of bureaucracy and red tape will enable teachers to thrive and take their students to new heights.

Q: What are the three biggest factors holding this district back and how will you address them?
A: I address both taxes and regulations through my Upstate Jobs Plan. Obamacare needs to be replaced with a dynamic market of choice for all Americans. More choices will lower costs. The Federal Reserve helped cause the crash, bailed out the big banks and has prolonged the recession. I will fight to rein in the Federal Reserve and for stable money.

Q: Do you support Donald Trump’s candidacy?
A: I respect the tremendous disgust the voters have with Washington that has put Trump in this position. While I do not condone some of Trump’s statements, I believe the
policies he would support and sign into law would be far better than those of Obama and Clinton at this critical juncture.

 

Claudia Tenney

Home: New Hartford
Occupation: Lawyer
Political experience: Member of Assembly since 2010.
Campaign contributions: $210,177 raised, $67,537 on hand
Platform summary: Tenney would de-fund the Affordable Care Act, reduce government incentives for business development, and reduce taxes and business regulation. She opposes spending that increases the national debt, wants to reform the Veterans Administration and opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade agreement involving Pacific Rim nations that the U.S. International Trade Commission said would help many U.S. industries.

QUESTION: How will you break the gridlock that keeps Congress and the federal government from progress?
ANSWER: I will work with anyone in good faith who will put aside the special interest agenda and work to advance policies to create jobs, make America more competitive, the country safer, and ensure a prosperous future for all Americans.

Q: What will you do to revive the local and regional economy?
A: We need to reduce taxes and roll back regulations.
Unelected bureaucrats with no experience in the fields they regulate are dictating rules that kill jobs and drive industry out of New York, and out of our nation. I will also fight to stop bad trade deals that put
American manufacturers, workers and family farms out of work. I oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership because it threatens American sovereignty
and will send more jobs overseas.

Q: What industries should this district focus on
developing in the future?
A: Small businesses create nearly 70 percent of all new jobs. We need to create an
environment where entrepreneurs can create jobs and family farms can grow.

Q: How would you help make college more affordable?
A: We need to continue to encourage partnerships between colleges and job creators to help align students with real career
experiences. College isn’t for everyone, which is why in the state Assembly I have proposed that we bring back the local diploma so that students who want to enter the military or
attend a community college may do so without pressure to enroll in a program they don’t like or need.

Q: No Child Left Behind left kids behind; Race to the Top relies heavily on
standardized test scores, reducing teaching time as teachers leave the profession. How would you make K-12 education better?
A: We need to reward good teachers and provide incentives for the best and the brightest to enter the field. For decades, money from the federal
government has been poured
into education while diminishing returns and unfunded mandates have oppressively burdened our taxpayers. I object to the one-size-fits-all approach of the Common Core disaster.

Q: What are the three biggest factors holding this district back and how will you address them?
A: 1. Taxes and regulations are job-killers. We must reduce taxes and regulations, which is why I voted for the largest middle-class income tax cut in New York. I will propose legislation in Washington to substantially reduce the personal income tax and regulatory burdens.
2. Bad trade deals. We must re-examine current trade deals and stop implementation of bad deals like TPP and NAFTA, which have caused a huge trade imbalance and have forced our jobs overseas.
3. Corruption is a major issue that steals from taxpayers.

Q: Do you support Donald Trump’s candidacy?
A: I support Donald Trump because I think he will challenge the failed status quo. On issues like immigration and trade, Trump has been willing to address very real problems. Although I don’t always agree with everything he says and how he says it, the alternative is Hillary Clinton.


Steven Wells

Home: Cazenovia
Occupation: Founder, American Food and Vending
Political experience: Upstate regional finance chairman, New York State Republican Committee.
Campaign contributions: $653,909 raised, $75,865 on hand
Platform summary: Wells supports agriculture development by not increasing taxes on farmers. He wants to roll back the
Affordable Care Act. He opposes federal tax increases and supports reduced regulation. He also wants to bolster military spending and reform the Veterans Administration.

QUESTION: How will you break the gridlock that keeps Congress and the federal government from progress?
ANSWER: I built a customer-driven business that employs over 1,500. I know how to work together to build consensus and accomplish things. While no one congressman can break the gridlock, sending the people with the right mind-set, particularly business people, will help get it done. Washington needs members from outside the existing political system.

Q: What will you do to revive the local and regional economy?
A: In spite of bad policies from Albany and Washington, I lead a successful food-service business that serves many clients in Cortland County and upstate. As a job creator, I know first-hand how taxes and government regulations negatively impact our economy. I have proposed an immediate moratorium on new regulations and a thorough review of those dictated by President Obama.

Q: What industries should this district focus on developing in the future?
A: The development of high-technology manufacturing and unmanned aircraft systems offers a promising future for our region. So does our local farming community. For these industries to thrive, we must get government regulations out of the way. Mike McMahon, owner of EZ Acres Farm near Homer, has been fighting ridiculous new EPA rules. This is only one example of government overreach that I will fight in Congress.

Q: How would you help make college more affordable?
A: I will promote trade and technical educations that provide graduates with the skilled trades they need to be hired by employers today. There are many good-paying jobs where we have a shortage such as electricians, plumbers and welders.

Q: No Child Left Behind left kids behind; Race to the Top relies heavily on standardized test scores, reducing teaching time as teachers leave the profession. How would you make K-12 education better?
A: I will not support more mandates handed down from Washington that reduce teacher autonomy. I will push efforts to provide greater flexibility for teachers and lessen the overemphasis on student testing that removes creativity and innovation from the classroom. I firmly believe local schools and parents should determine how best to invest resources.

Q: What are the three biggest factors holding this district back and how will you address them?
A: High taxes, government regulations and self-interested career politicians. I will advocate for comprehensive tax reform to help local small
businesses, farmers and families. Also, I will push to stop costly, unnecessary government regulations.

Q: Do you support Donald Trump’s candidacy?
A: Whether he was your first choice or your last choice, he is the better alternative to Clinton/Sanders. The surest path to economic destruction is down the road we are now traveling to socialism. We can either continue copying Venezuela, which went broke in 17 years blaming the rich and promising everything “free,” or we can pursue the free-enterprise model, which has created more wealth than any other system in human history.

 

 

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