October 27th, 2022

By Gazette Editorial Board

All politics is local.

Even when you’re a member of Congress.

In the North Country, there’s no stronger advocate for local residents in need of health care, for farmers, for members of the military and for those who rely on trade between New York and Canada than Rep. Elise Stefanik.

In her nearly eight years in office, Stefanik has used her growing influence to fight rollbacks in environmental protections that would have adversely affected the Adirondacks. She’s fought for protections for farmers and for opening up avenues for their workers. And she recently fought successfully to reopen trade between the U.S. and Canada.

While her politics have shifted to the right from the moderate positions she took when she started, Stefanik still maintains a reputation as one of the Republicans’ more bipartisan members. Her support for former President Donald Trump and her new political approach fueled her rise up the ranks of the GOP House leadership. Should Republicans gain the majority in the upcoming midterm election, she’ll be able to use that clout to further help her local constituents.

Stefanik’s opponent in the race is Matt Castelli, a downstater with a long career in the CIA and in working for veterans in healthcare. He hopes to use that experience to improve access to veteran healthcare in rural communities and attract more medical and pharmaceutical services to the North Country. He hopes to parlay his military experience to attract investment, services and veterans benefits for the military personnel at Fort Drum and residents of the surrounding communities. And he hopes to help farmers by going after the sources of their rising expenses, including monopolies that control the price of fertilizer and seeds.

Castelli, like Stefanik, is a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights and opposes a ban on assault weapons. He’s smart, articulate and ready to use his unique experiences to help residents. But he lacks the political experience and relationships that Stefanik has built over her four terms in office.

We couldn’t complete this endorsement without pointing out some of Stefanik’s shortcomings, particularly when it comes to the Jan. 6 insurrection and her contribution to the negative political discourse.

She strongly supports Trump and voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election in a handful of states, saying she was concerned about questions raised. And she’s verbally danced around whether she believes the election was legitimate.

She’s used her national bully pulpit to stir doubt in our legal system, at times labeling federal or state investigations into the conduct of Republicans as “witch hunts.” And her recent posting of a photo of herself with a sign meaning “F- Joe Biden” was coarse and disrespectful. We expect our representative in Congress to be above churlish, immature insults. As she rises up the ladder in national politics, we hope she’ll also rise above the pettiness and divisive rhetoric.

In the past eight years, Elise Stefanik has done what her constituents elected her to do – look out for their interests in Congress.

Voters should give her another term.

Read more from the Daily Gazette here.

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