Brindisi and Tenney: Get to Know Your Candidates

On November 6, citizens around the nation will head to their local polling spots to determine the course of U.S. politics for the next several years. For many students here at Colgate, these elections will be their first opportunity to vote and have a voice in our government. The right to vote is both a great privilege and responsibility. Thus, it is necessary for voters to be aware of whom exactly they are voting for. I believe it will be beneficial to provide readers an overview of the two candidates in the race for the U.S. House of Representatives seat for District 22, which includes Colgate University and all of Madison County.

The two candidates running in our district are Democrat Anthony Brindisi and Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney. You may have already heard these two names from the various political campaign ads constantly being run on local networks.

Democratic candidate Anthony Brindisi graduated from Siena College with a degree in history and received a J.D. from Albany Law School. He has served on the New York Assembly since 2011, representing the 119th Assembly District. Brindisi is not your typical member of the Democratic Party. For starters, Brindisi has a 100 percent approval rating from the NRA due to his vote against the NY SAFE Act, which contains a number of fire-arm regulations and was drafted in response to the Sandy Hook shooting, which occurred in December 2012. Despite standing up to his party during this vote, Brindisi advocates for universal background checks and supports funding for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Brindisi is also making it a priority to address New York State’s growing opioid epidemic. He has promised to look for ways to provide law enforcement, medical providers and drug prevention workers the resources and funding necessary to combat the crisis. On the economic front, Brindisi displays a rare ability to work across party lines and advocate for policies that champion both liberal and conservatives values. Brindisi supports a plan to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden and help develop a government that supports small businesses and entrepreneurs, while keeping taxes low for families and eliminating tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. For a Democrat, Brindisi is surprisingly not a big advocate of big government policies like his liberal colleagues in Congress, which will definitely allow him to appeal to a larger portion of the district’s rural, farm-based population.

House Representative Claudia Tenney happens to be a Colgate alumna, graduating from Colgate in 1983, and going on to receive her law degree from Taft College of Law at the University of Cincinnati. Prior to being elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2016, Tenney served in the New York State Assembly. As a member of the Republican Party, Tenney’s views reflect her party’s values closely. She is a strong advocate for free market economics and seeks to roll back regulations that can harm U.S. businesses. On the healthcare side, she opposes Obamacare and speaks against the high premiums, deductibles and copays that it has brought onto New York State residents. Tenney wants to develop a free-market, patient-centered healthcare system that will allow New Yorkers to choose their insurance and medical care plan.

Concerning the Second Amendment, the congresswoman is very much in support of the constitutional right to bear arms and consistently voted against gun control measures throughout her time in the New York Assembly. Continuing on with her conservative views, Tenney supports tax breaks across the board for both families and small businesses. As a successful small business owner herself, she prides herself on her conservative approach to government spending and she promises to use what she calls “kitchen table common sense” to vote against any additional spending that can add to the country’s growing debt.

With congresswoman Claudia Tenney, you get a conventional, conservative politician whose policies align with the values of the Republican Party. While she seems like the perfect candidate for rural voters, I do not see her being a favorite among progressive Colgate students. Anthony Brindisi, however, is a Democratic candidate who is not afraid to cross party lines and work with both Democrats and Republicans. While he will undoubtedly be the most popular candidate with Colgate’s left leaning study body, I see him being a good option for independents who are looking for a congressman who is socially liberal but, surprisingly, also a supporter of conservative fiscal policies.

Contact Svetlin Sabev at [email protected].