Nine D21 constituents met with Rep. Elise Stefanik on Saturday, March 4. All present were respectful, even when conversations included disagreement. Stefanik sometimes answered directly and fully, sometimes she used double-speak and avoidance. She stated, "I am proud to have the most independent voting record in Congress when it comes to environmental issues,” that she has a higher rating than many Republican Congress members on environmental voting. According to the League of Conservation Voters, Stefanik has a score of 29 percent (for 2016,) her “lifetime score” is 19 percent. This means she voted against environmental protection 71 to 81 percent of the time!
Ms. Stefanik said she will vote to defund Planned Parenthood because they sold fetal tissue. We pushed back reminding her that these allegations have been proven completely false. She asserted that she would not vote to fund Planned Parenthood, "because I am personally opposed to abortion and have a pro-life voting record." Stefanik seems oblivious and unconcerned that restricting safe and legal access to abortion will not put an end to abortion, but will endanger the health and perhaps the lives of women. We clarified that no one is "pro-abortion," but we in D21 want her representation in Washington to preserve access to all safe affordable reproductive health choices.
We asked her to be publicly vocal against the un-American ways the Trump administration is conducting domestic and foreign policy, she side-stepped that request and immediately segued to thanking us for being there and ending our meeting.
I offer these notes from our meeting in an attempt to have some public record of her conversations with constituents. Until such time as Stefanik allows press coverage, or returns to meeting with constituents in a public setting, I hope others who meet with her will do the same.
Sue Elliot, Greenfield Center