GLENS FALLS — NY-21 Green Party candidate Lynn Kahn said Congress needs a mechanic.
Kahn has a degree in clinical psychology and spent 22 years working for the Federal Aviation Administration and on the Committee to Reinvent Government in the Clinton administration.
“I understand how to look under the hood of government and I see what’s wrong,” she said Monday in a meeting with The Post-Star editorial board.
Kahn’s top priority is reducing government waste. She said the federal government has an estimated $147 billion worth of duplicative services.
“There’s an exorbitant amount of waste, because there’s no coordination, no accountability,” she said.
Kahn estimates that about a trillion dollars could be cut out of the federal government. She said another study cited that 22 percent of federal government programs are getting no results.
Kahn believes that some of the federal workers could be reallocated.
“I’m about cutting programs, not people, because I think you can move (them to) places to where they’re needed,” she said.
Kahn said some of the dollars freed up could go toward expanding health care access.
Medicare for all
Kahn said she supports universal health care and has offered her own proposed amendments to the Medicare for All bill.
She said her first priority is for the Department of Health and Human Services to provide data about areas of the district where people lack easy access to health care. Kahn cited herself as an example. If she needed emergency medical care, she would be taken from her home in Schroon Lake to Albany Medical Center – 91 miles away. The other options is to be stabilized in Ticonderoga and then airlifted to Vermont.
If more money is needed, she would support increased taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent.
Kahn said a full-scale Veterans Administration hospital is needed in the district.
A universal health care system is going to have to be phased in, she said. It is not as simple as flipping a switch, so would probably be a public-private hybrid system for a while.
Kahn said another priority is reducing the cost of medication.
Green jobs needed
Health care is tied in with environmental issues. Kahn said she is worried about new diseases coming as a result of the changing climate.
She proposes that each federal agency have its own targets to address climate change.
The public thinks of renewable fuels as solar, wind and geothermal but there are broader possibilities, she said. Kahn has suggested exploring hydrogen fuel and envisions a corridor for hydrogen energy located along the St. Lawrence River to produce this type of fuel.
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, she said.
“It burns clean. It consumes clean. Water vapor is a byproduct. It’s happening all over the world. We lag behind,” she said.
Kahn said she sees an incredible amount of poverty in the North Country. The robust job numbers are not helping impoverished residents, who often have to work two jobs to pay the bills. People are living in substandard housing.
Kahn said the nation needs a large-scale job corps program like Americorps to go out into communities and help people make their homes more energy-efficient.
“There are lots of programs right now that we could do, putting people to work,” she said.
Kahn said she would fight for a fair price for milk for dairy farmers, with a minimum of $20 per hundred pounds. Family farms are going out of business and being bought up by large industrial farms. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among dairy farmers, she said.
She wants government regulations put into plain language. She does not, however, want wholesale elimination of rules relating to environment and consumer protection.
Kahn ran as an independent candidate for president in 2016.
She said people she has talked to in this district are scared about the political climate and believe the country may be headed to a civil war and that nobody can do anything about the vindictiveness and animosity in Washington, D.C.
“The ones I talked to, they were delighted that there was a third choice,” she said.
Kahn is running against Democrat Tedra Cobb and incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik.
Kahn said she has decades more experience in government than her Democratic opponent. She said Stefanik is entrenched and well-financed.
“I just think she’s on the far side of history on far too many issues,” she said.