PENN YAN—Democratic Congressional Nominee Tracy Mitrano (NY-23) wants to know: is Representative Tom Reed trying to avoid debating her?
Mitrano, who won the Democratic primary earlier this summer, is challenging Reed for his Congressional seat; he was first elected in 2010. Three debates have been scheduled. One, to be hosted by the Jamestown Post-Journal, is scheduled for October 24; the second, hosted by WETM 18 News, is set for October 30; the last, to be hosted by the Olean Times-Herald, is scheduled for November 1.
“I am very much looking forward to debating Representative Reed. Voters in our district deserve answers about the votes he has cast,” Mitrano said. “I’m pleased to have three debates scheduled so far. But I am perplexed by the fact that all these debates are scheduled for so late in October in early November— mere days before Election Day. These days, our representative seems happy to accept symbolic awards about protecting job creators— Washington-insider-speak for giving trillions away to large corporations and millionaires through tax cuts that balloon our debt and deficit—but won’t answer to the voters for his record. What is Tom Reed hiding?”
The Mitrano campaign announced last week that it had enthusiastically accepted debate invitations from a number of additional independent groups. Mitrano has responded affirmatively to debate requests from the League of Women Voters of Geneva, the League of Women Voters of Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties, the League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County, and the People for a Healthy Environment, a grassroots organization based in Horseheads, NY.
Reed’s campaign has yet to respond to any of these requests.
“The League of Women Voters of Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties, and the League of Women Voters of Chautauqua issued their invitations to both my campaign and Reed’s weeks ago,” Mitrano said. “The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization. The organization’s aim is to educate voters and stimulate civic engagement. Dedicated to citizenship and democracy, I am enthusiastic to accept those invitations. Voters will draw their own conclusions why Mr. Reed has not.”
Congressional elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6. The first debate that has been scheduled is less than two weeks prior to Election Day.
“Debates are crucial to democracy,” Mitrano said. “Delaying the debates like this is deeply unfair to voters in this district. They’ve put their trust in their representatives, and they deserve a chance to hear from the people running to represent them. To cram the debates in the last weeks of a Congressional campaign is a disservice to voters and a violation to the essential values of a democracy: critical thinking, information, and debate in a manner that allows for extended continuation of public discourse.”
Mitrano reiterated that she is very eager to debate the sitting Congressman early and often.
“As Congressman, Reed voted for the Republican tax plan, a huge windfall for the wealthy on a permanent basis at the expense of the working and middle class,” Mitrano said. “He has voted to end measures that prevent companies from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions in the insurance market. He has failed to address the opioid crisis in a manner that actually helps people affected by it. He has failed to stand up for civil rights, or to object to the President’s immigration policies that separate children from parents. He has pledged nothing about usurious debt on student loans. So, yes: I have a lot of questions for Mr. Reed, questions that I believe voters in this district deserve to have answered. I am prepared to make clear statements about these topics even if he is not.”