Tenney, who wants to represent Orleans in new 24th, touts conservative credentials in stop at Medina
MEDINA – Claudia Tenney said she is a proven fighter who would be a strong advocate for Orleans County in Congress, pushing for much-needed federal aid to upgrade roads, bridges, water and sewer plants and other infrastructure.
She said she would also be a loud voice against socialism, which she said punished businesses with rising costs, devalues free enterprise and discourages hard work.
Tenney currently represents the 22nd Congressional District. With redistricting she now is focused on the newly drawn 24Th Congressional District which includes about a dozen counties, including the southern part of Orleans.
She is based in Utica but has a purchase offer on a house in Canandaigua that would put her in the 24th District. She faces a Republican primary on Aug. 23 against Geneva-area businessman Mario J. Fratto for the Republican nomination to Congress. The two will face off in a primary election scheduled for Aug. 23.
Skip Draper, Orleans County Republican Party chairman, has endorsed Tenney.
“She is a current member of Congress,” Draper said about Tenney, who was first elected to Congress in 2016. “She’s successful and she’s knowledgeable.”
During a presentation to Republican Party members at Medina Theatre, Tenney talked about the need for more security along the southern border. She said illegal immigrants bring drugs, disease and crime into the country, and often overtax the social services system.
Tenney also touts her endorsement by former President Donald Trump in this race. Tenney said Trump shouldn’t be held criminally responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection. She said the former president has “some baggage” and often creates enemies when he doesn’t need to.
However, Trump was a strong leader for the country, Tenney said.
“He has the courage to stand up,” she said.
Tenney said she would push for more federal funding for upstate communities, and wants more money for mental health resources, which she said would reduce mass shootings. She called those incidents “isolated events.”
Federal funding could be used to train more mental health counselors and specialists, and also reopen psychiatric centers, she said.
The country also continues to be devastated by drug overdoses. Tenney said more enforcement that stops the flow of illegal drugs into the country would reduce the overdoses.
Darlene Hartway, the Chamber of Commerce president in Orleans County, told Tenney local businesses don’t have enough hard-working employees. That is preventing many businesses from being fully open. She sees a work ethic crisis as the top issue in the county.
“Businesses can’t find enough employees,” Hartway said. “They can’t get back to pre-Covid levels. Younger people have a very low participation in the workforce.”
Tenney said there are workforce issues across the state and beyond, from restaurants to manufacturers. She faulted former Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a state government that rewarded people to not work during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people received Covid benefits on top of unemployment insurance.
“We gave too many incentives to stay home,” she said. “We did severe, irreparable damage to small businesses during Covid.”
She is critical of President Joe Biden for driving up inflation, not doing enough to address a supply chain that has left store shelves empty. The president isn’t protecting the southern border and he led an abrupt departure from Afghanistan, Tenney said. She has called on impeaching proceedings against Biden for the handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.
Teneny said she favors legal immigration to the United States. The country needs those immigrants to fill many jobs, and to keep the country growing. Americans have a low birth rate and the population would shrink without immigrants, Tenney said.
The sluggish upstate economy would be helped with tax cuts for residents and businesses. The state can’t compete to keep residents and businsesses because of significantly lower costs in other states, she said.
“Tax cuts are critical for farms and businesses,” she said. “I really care about Upstate New York. I feel like we get short shrift from everyone. New York State will always be hostile to us because New York City dominates.”