New York’s 22nd Congressional District is a perfect microcosm of the national political battle between the Neoliberal Democratic Party and the Trump Republican Party. The outcome of the grudge match between Congressman Anthony Brindisi and ex-Congresswoman Claudia Tenney will have very direct implications for Colgate University.
Let us be very clear. A Claudia Tenney victory on November 3 will contribute to a situation where organized society for Colgate University, Upstate New York and our nation is irreversibly endangered.
Tenney has already been offered a chance to serve. While representing the 22nd District from 2017 to 2019, she voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The bill slashed corporate taxes to the lowest rate in history at a time when three families in America own more wealth than the bottom half. Tenney is a fake populist and willing to trade the income of Upstate families for the support of her corporate campaign donors.
Tenney supported the American withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord in 2017. The Accord was one of the strongest steps that the United States has ever taken to combat the climate crisis. At a time when California and the West Coast have vaporized into a burning hellscape, only a few years separate us from the point of no return.
Tenney is incapable of dealing with the fallout of COVID-19 in a serious way. She is even incapable of including it on her campaign website or wearing a mask in any of her pictures. She would rather vote to abolish the Affordable Care Act and remove health insurance from 23 million Americans, as she did in 2017. At the same time, the New York State Republican Party has bankrolled her campaign with 5.5 million dollars. Tenney is a fake populist and willing to trade the lives of Upstate families for the support of her corporate campaign donors.
Tenney is the worst candidate imaginable to represent Upstate New York in Washington D.C. From income inequality to the climate crisis to medical care, her record on every issue pertinent to working families is abysmal. The possibility of her re-election has enormous implications for Colgate University as well.
At Colgate, we find ourselves in the heart of the most competitive congressional race in the country. Donald Trump won the seat in 2016 by nearly 16 points. Two years later, Brindisi snatched the seat by a razor-thin margin of 4,000 votes. Out of all Democratic candidates who won Trump districts in 2018, the 22nd District was the largest flip. Colgate students, who turned out in record numbers to vote, were a crucial reason why Brindisi now has the title of “Congressman.”
Once again, we face this same choice. On Nov. 4, which candidate do we want President Brian Casey to send his congratulations? Which candidate do we want to represent Colgate in Washington D.C. on issues of racial justice, COVID-19 and carbon neutrality?
Congressman Brindisi is a public servant who keeps his word and commitment to remaining outside of his party’s control. During his first two years in Congress, he voted to prevent members of Congress from giving themselves a pay raise. He worked to build bipartisan coalitions and pass four bills successfully into law after winning Donald Trump’s signature.
Congressman Brindisi is someone who listens to science and data. He promotes the wearing of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He voted to preserve the Affordable Care Act and improve healthcare treatment for veterans. He understands the existing threat of climate change and has worked to make sure that Upstate New York is prepared for the transition to a green energy economy.
Congressman Brindisi is someone who cares about maintaining his connection with the constituents he serves. He holds monthly town halls throughout the district, whether virtual or in-person, to ensure that he remains accountable. He understands that the functioning of democracy depends on one’s ability to engage with the public, especially those members who disagree with him.
Colgate’s interests are at stake if Claudia Tenney is allowed to return to Washington D.C. We must do everything in our power to make sure that our student voices, which so proudly envision a more just and equitable world, are used to make sure that Congressman Brindisi is reelected on Nov. 3.