Rep. Elise Stefanik

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro

Courtesy photo

GLENS FALLS — With some of the government gridlock and the frustration that people feel on both sides of the aisle, focusing on delivering results to the constituents living in NY-21 is important, said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, on Monday during a meeting with The Post-Star editorial board.

“Since the last time we met with the editorial board, which I think was a year ago, I have had four of my legislative initiatives signed into law,” Stefanik said. “That’s fairly rare in this divided Congress and I wanted to touch on those.”

The first of the four pieces of legislation the congresswoman highlighted is the pre-clearance agreement between the U.S. and Canada, which includes pre-border clearance for Amtrak train riders, Stefanik said, adding that it helps tourism.

“The pre-clearance agreement is specifically a North Country issue. This was the top priority from the North Country Chamber of Congress,” she said. “We benefit here, whether it’s visiting The Hyde museum or visiting Lake George. (The agreement) is important to ensure having Canadian tourism in our region.”

At the request of community college leaders in the district, Stefanik said she worked on legislation allowing year-round Pell Grant funding for college students, a bill that the president signed into law.

“This was a top priority that I heard about directly from community colleges. It wasn’t my idea, it actually came from the president of Jefferson Community College,” she said. “Many students want to take classes during the summer.”

Stefanik continued: “We have more Pell Grant recipients than most other districts in upstate New York. As we’re looking for ways of making sure there’s a pipeline from high school, to higher ed, to jobs in the community, this is a good thing so they can graduate faster and access Pell Grants,” she said. “It also cuts the student’s tuition costs.”

The other two pieces of legislation signed into law assist military spouses’ transition when the family moves from state to state.

“When you move from state to state, if you are a teacher or a nurse, and let’s say you are licensed by California, you have to re-license in New York,” she said. “That’s money out of your own pocket. My bill covers up to $500 of that re-licensing fee for every military spouse.”

Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli is a features writer at The Post-Star. She can be reached at kphalen-tomaselli@poststar.com for comments or story ideas.

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