The families of NY-21 are struggling to figure out their health care, taxes, finances, education, and more. They are wrestling with how to make the major decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Is this the right time to buy a home? Apply for college? Start a small business? Start a family? The uncertainty caused by the current administration has put these choices —which were once the cornerstones of the American dream — out of the reach of many Americans.
My campaign is about bringing the voices of the families of NY-21 to Washington. We can restore order, responsiveness, and sound structure to government; and once again have faith in that dream.
All the issues we face are connected and impact one another. Investing in infrastructure not only makes our roads and bridges safer, it creates jobs. Measures that mitigate global warming protect the livelihoods of our farmers and recreational businesses. Ending pay inequality for women reduces poverty.
My platform is based on working aggressively to protect the things we have spent our entire lives building and improving the outlook for our children’s future.
[More issues coming soon.]
There is little that needs to be said of Rep. Stefanik’s heartless vote for the American Health Care Act (AHCA). In supporting the AHCA, she voted to raise premiums and kick 80,000 district residents off their health coverage. The bill also put funding for our rural hospitals and health centers at risk.
I am committed to protecting and improving our health care coverage. Universal coverage is a goal that our country should work towards, but first we must lower health care costs and make our existing systems financially sustainable. Some things we can work on to lower costs right now are:
- Reducing prescription drug prices
- Eliminating fraud, waste and abuse
- Creating more efficient payment systems
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also needs to do more in stabilizing the exchanges. To do this, I support bipartisan measures to increase cost-sharing subsidies and tax credits, and to fund state level re-insurance programs.
Once costs are under control and the exchanges are stabilized, we can begin evaluating options for transitioning to universal coverage.
It’s important to remember that having health care coverage is not the same as having access. In NY-21, we need to address the unique health care challenges that our rural communities face. As a member of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, I have fought to keep good paying healthcare jobs in the district, and against the privatization schemes that impacted senior care facilities for our oldest and most vulnerable neighbors.
We need to make sure our community health centers and rural clinics are fully funded, so all residents have access to care. We should incentivize healthcare professionals who operate in rural areas by offering loan forgiveness and expanding education for non-physician primary care providers — like nurse practitioners.
I support innovations in new delivery methods, like telehealth, online prescription subscriptions and delivery services, and 24/7 on-call doctors via the internet. Of course, NY-21 needs improved rural broadband access to take advantage of these advances.
The White House declared the Opioid Epidemic an public health emergency, but only committed $6 billion in a two-year budget deal. This falls short of the tens of billions that many experts believe is necessary to effectively deal with this crisis.
As your Congresswoman, I will secure federal funding to open new treatment facilities, expand programs, and train providers. Congress also needs to work with insurance companies to cover addiction treatments. At the same time, physicians need to be offered training in preventative approaches: Offering alternative treatments for pain, and recognizing the early signs and symptoms of chemical use disorders. We must to fight the epidemic here in Upstate New York on every front.
MEDICARE & SOCIAL SECURITY
Medicare and Social Security are this country’s two bedrock retirement programs. Congress must act to ensure their long-term fiscal viability and sustainability, not threaten them with cuts to make up for a deficit created by the Republican tax bill.
Working Americans pay into Medicare to have guaranteed health coverage as they age. I will fight to ensure Medicare remains a guaranteed benefit that provides affordable, high-quality health care to seniors and people with disabilities regardless of income or health status.
I strongly oppose any plans to cut, privatize, or turn Medicare into a voucher program. Instead we should focus on controlling the rising costs of care. I support allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, allowing cheaper drugs to be imported from overseas, and bipartisan measures that would speed bringing more generic drugs to market and encourage more competition among generic manufacturers. We can further cut costs by reducing fraud, waste and abuse in the system and creating more efficient payment systems.
Social Security is a contract with American workers that must be honored. It’s a benefit we have worked hard and paid for. I will fight to ensure that current and future generations get the benefits they’ve earned. No privatization. No reduction of benefits. No reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments. No extreme hiking of the retirement age.
Yes, there are long-term funding concerns, but they are fixable with modest changes if we act quickly. I support Senator Sanders’ plan to “scrap the cap.” Right now, Social Security tax is paid on the first $118,500 of income. Millionaire CEOs and Wall Street execs are done paying sometime in January of each year. After that, they don’t pay a penny into Social Security while the vast majority of Americans pay into the system with every paycheck. Scrapping the cap so millionaires pay the same percentage of their income as middle class families would eliminate most of Social Security’s funding gap.
We must protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security for seniors and families who are most in need. Americans have worked too hard and paid into the system too long to have the government default on its promises.
VETERANS & MILITARY
My brother, General James M. Skiff (retired), proudly served in the Air National Guard and flew A-10s into Fort Drum. Our service members, veterans, and their families throughout NY-21 have made countless sacrifices and deserve our Nation’s deepest gratitude and full support.
I am committed to making sure our country fulfills its promise to care for our veterans and their families. The budget cuts that congressional Republicans are proposing will make it harder to find jobs, reduce access to health care, take away services for those with disabilities, add to hunger and food insecurity, and increase homelessness. We cannot let this happen. I will challenge any budget proposal that undermines the economic security and health of veterans and their families.
We must work to improve and expand health care facilities for use by the VA, not privatize them. I have always fought against privatization of public services, and will continue this fight by opposing of any measure that leads to the privatization of the Veterans Health Administration.
Our veteran service organizations should be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to help with higher education costs not covered by the GI Bill. Rep. Stefanik voted against the amendment to the PROSPER Act that addressed this kind of student loan debt.
We must continue to support our district’s military assets — the Navy Nuclear Site at Kesselring in Saratoga County and Fort Drum in Jefferson County. Not only is Fort Drum crucial to our national security, it is also a cornerstone for surrounding communities. I will work tirelessly to support Fort Drum, while rallying against attacks on programs and services that could endanger the community’s economy, schools, and culture.
To prevent unnecessarily putting our troops in harm’s way, we need a strong and fully staffed State Department that works within its mission to prevent avoidable and unnecessary conflicts. The Administration’s failure to fill diplomatic positions – as well as its chaotic and conflicting messages to both our allies and adversaries – put our soldiers at risk. Good diplomacy today saves soldiers’ lives tomorrow.
ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY
The North Country is home to some of our nation’s most beautiful mountains, rivers, and agricultural land. Taking care of our natural resources and protecting our environment is critical to maintaining our quality of life. We must protect this priceless legacy for our children and grandchildren.
Despite claims of being “pro-environment”, Rep. Stefanik has earned a low 19% approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters for her votes on environmental issues. We can do better.
- Honor the Paris Agreement. I stand with the 1,400+ states and cities that have pledged to continue to uphold the Paris agreement and call for the United States to rejoin it.
- Support and fund the EPA. The current administration is doing irreparable harm by rolling back the regulations that protect our environment and removing oversight of the most egregious polluters. I support the Clean Air Act regulating hazardous air pollutants from industrial sources as well as the Clean Power Plan, which establishes targets for carbon emissions reductions. (The EPA is currently accepting comments on the administration’s proposed repeal until April 26, 2018. I encourage you to comment.) I am opposed to oil and gas development on public lands and drilling in U.S. waters.
- Guarantee ongoing efforts to clean up the Hudson River and Grasse River superfund sites. I stand with Sen. Gillibrand, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and other local leaders who have called for additional dredging of the Hudson River. We must protect public health as well as our environment.
I support investment in the new clean energy economy that creates thousands of good paying jobs in this region. NY-21 already produces the majority of New York State’s green energy with our wealth of hydroelectric, wind and solar energy sources. It makes sense to support development of these renewable energy sources, not energy sources that compete with what NY-21 produces. Stefanik champions coal, petroleum, nuclear energy production in the GOP “all of the above” energy strategy. The solar industry alone employs more Americans than coal and oil combined. We should not use taxpayer dollars to prop up corporate interests in old, polluting technologies.
I fully support the Constitution and our Second Amendment.
I grew up on a farm where ownership of a gun was common. It was used most often for hunting and to control predators. My husband is a gun owner, a hunter and a sportsman, as are many of my friends, relatives and neighbors.
Responsible gun owners should never be penalized for the actions of criminals and other dangerous individuals. However, I am terrified by our unwillingness as a nation to deal with gun violence.
As a mother and former teacher, the mass shooting of young schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary still haunts me. If that event couldn’t spark an honest national dialogue about gun violence, then I fear what it may take to start one.
I support overturning the Dickey Amendment to give the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the funding and freedom it needs to research the relationship between gun violence and public safety. Only then will we have a clearer idea why mass shootings are so common in America and how we can work to prevent them. To provide resources to combat this crisis, death from gun violence should be declared a public health emergency just as the opioid epidemic has been.
In the meantime, let’s start with the policies that have overwhelming public support:
- Close the “gun show loophole” and require background checks for private and gun show sales.
- Require a 3-day waiting period, gun owner safety training, and the reporting of lost or stolen guns.
- Ban gun purchases by people on no-fly or terror watch lists, violent criminals, and convicted abusers and stalkers.
- Ban “bump stock” devices or any modifications that can turn semiautomatic firearms into fully-automatic machine gun-type weapons.
I oppose the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act that the House passed with support from Rep. Stefanik. This bill is also opposed by many law enforcement groups, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Police Foundation.
It’s past time for our leaders to listen to voters — instead of special interests — and sit down together to work on sensible gun legislation.
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