The race for the redistributed NY-24 is between Claudia Tenney and Steve Holden. We emailed three questions to both campaigns with the intent of posting their text responses. (REMARK: For the first hour or so this message was up, we said Mr. Holden did not respond; however, he had replied but the reply did not show up in a search of my inbox. The campaign returned the responses, and we were able to locate the original and timely response, using that sender’s name in the search. We have added his answers.)
What can you do as a congressman to make Congress less partisan and more productive? Would you give up your party membership if it would help Congress better serve the American people?
HOLDEN: Today more than ever, our country needs political leaders who understand service and sacrifice, who are skilled and experienced in servant leadership, and who are trained to work with diverse teams to overcome obstacles and accomplish their assignments. As a veteran with 20 years of military experience, both at home and abroad, I have those skills. I believe members on both sides of the aisle will quickly realize that I am mission-driven and eager to work with anyone and everyone, regardless of political affiliation, to meet the many challenges we are facing. I do not see members of the other party as the enemy, and I will always consider all opinions and ideas on their merits.
All a person can do is be true to the oath we take as Representatives of Congress “…I will discharge well and faithfully the duties of the office in which I am about to serve.” come in…” I will take this oath seriously. I do not believe giving up party membership will help better serve the American people. I’m a proud democrat, but I’m also my own man.
If given the honor of serving in Congress, I will represent everyone in the 24th district, whether they voted for me or not. I’m proud to have garnered the support of Republicans like Geneseo resident, Korean War veteran, Dick Platt, and many others I’ve met on this trip. I will never let my party affiliation stop me from supporting legislation that I believe is good for America and good for the people of my district, no matter who proposes it. This is how I will fulfill my oath.
TENNY: In being sworn in last February, I had the honor of reaffirming the bipartisan commitment to civility that I first made as a member of Congress in 2017. If voters in the 24th congressional district of New York send me back to Washington as their representative, I will continue to work with my colleagues – Republicans and Democrats – to promote constructive discourse, model positive leadership and advance productive policies. Our country today faces many challenges. From rising crime to soaring inflation, families and small businesses are hurting. Our nation needs principled leadership now more than ever, and I have a strong record in Congress for working together to find solutions that deliver real results for seniors, families and small businesses. After hearing heartbreaking stories from countless people across New York State who have been locked in nursing homes and cut off from loved ones during the pandemic, I introduced the bipartisan Essential Caregivers Act. This bill ensures that residents of long-term care facilities will never again suffer alone in isolation without the support of their families, as thousands have been forced to do in New York City. This bill is a bipartisan victory, with nearly 80 co-sponsors from both parties. This is a compassionate political solution that will dramatically improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. I am a Republican for life. I would not, and need not, renounce my party affiliation. I would not advise anyone to do so, because a vigorous debate about our free market of ideas is the cornerstone of our Constitutional Republic.
What could you do as a congressman to bring more new businesses, start-ups, local businesses to Genesee County, to foster entrepreneurship in Genesee County?
HOLDEN: As a small business owner, I know how difficult New York State makes it for entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs to start and grow a business. Our state is consistently ranked as the worst place to do business in New York State. One initiative that would act as a strong incentive for entrepreneurship is a measure that I sponsor called the “first-time employee tax credit”. This proposal is a payroll tax credit to help small businesses deal with the disproportionate increase in costs resulting from hiring a single employee.
Another key factor in creating a climate conducive to entrepreneurship is ensuring that our rural areas have access to broadband. For too long, broadband access in our rural communities has been non-existent or inadequate. That’s why I led the fight to get the state DOT’s fiber optic tax repealed. This particular tax was killing the potential for broadband projects in rural areas, with costs rising in direct proportion to the length of cable to be installed. In rural areas where miles of cable are often needed to reach a single house, this tax was just ridiculous. After three years of advocacy and building bipartisan support, I am pleased to report that the tax has finally been repealed in the latest state budget. This is important progress on which we will seek to build during the next session.
TENNY: In Albany as in Washington, I have always fought to put taxpayers first by championing free market principles that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. I grew my family’s newspaper and manufacturing business in New York, so I know what small business owners face when trying to grow and thrive in this corporate-unfriendly state. To help our small business community, in 2017 I stood up to entrenched special interests in New York to support and pass the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which guaranteed American workers to retain a more much of their hard-earned money. Today, as my opponent would eliminate the Trump tax cuts, I am one of the original co-sponsors of the TCJA Permanence Act to make this vital relief for small businesses and families permanent. In addition to easing the tax burden, I also focus on reducing the regulatory burden that small businesses and entrepreneurs increasingly face. President Donald Trump’s administration has demanded that two regulations be removed before new regulations can be put in place. This was a policy innovation that effectively empowered job creators and small businesses and encouraged increased growth and innovation. The Biden administration has unfortunately gone back to business as usual by once again embracing the government’s broad regulatory reach. This makes it harder than ever for our small businesses and family farms to compete and grow, which is why I am fighting in Washington to restore common sense and discipline to the regulatory process.
What do you think is the best federal program, and would you fight to maintain it if attacked, and what is a federal program you would cut if you could?
HOLDEN: One area of policy on which I agree with my colleagues opposite is the need to provide more funding and support to those who care for our most vulnerable residents. The Cuomo administration neglected this segment of our social service community for years, resulting in salaries for direct care providers that were often lower than the starting salary at fast food restaurants. Unsurprisingly, this has created a critical level labor shortage among nonprofit providers who care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Providers cannot find or retain staff, programs close, and people’s needs go unmet. We have made progress in addressing this crisis in this year’s budget, with a statutory 5.4% cost-of-living adjustment as well as some recruitment and retention initiatives, but more needs to be done. There is strong bipartisan support on this issue, so you can be sure that I will be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make more progress.
TENNY: There are a range of programs at the federal level that responsibly provide targeted resources to those in need with strong oversight and accountability. One such program is the Community Services Block Grant, which provides financial assistance specific to local needs to advance core priorities such as reducing poverty and increasing self-sufficiency. This program aims to give a helping hand to those in need, not a handout. I was also honored to support the Firefighters Aid Grant program, which provides much-needed assistance to firefighters and first responders, by helping to fund training operations and equipment upgrades. of vital importance. But unfortunately, Washington never misses an opportunity to embezzle and abuse taxpayers’ money. For example, after the passage of the partisan American Rescue Plan Act, nearly $800 million was spent on stimulus checks for convicted felons. Then, in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, no less than $80 billion was earmarked for an army of new IRS agents who would be tasked with launching new audits of low-income taxpayers and medium. And if all that wasn’t enough, President Joe Biden’s recent unilateral and unconstitutional decision to cancel federal student loan debt for high earners was particularly egregious. This proposal, which will cost at least $300 billion, has bypassed Congress and is grossly unfair to those who have paid off their college debt or who have simply chosen not to attend. These hard-working Americans now have to foot the bill for the 10% of Americans who still have unpaid debt, which includes doctors, lawyers, and others with extremely high earning potential. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Washington’s reckless spending. One of my top priorities in Congress to fight inflation and restore prosperity to our region is to ensure greater fiscal responsibility. We should support programs that work and eliminate those that don’t while improving accountability and transparency at all levels.