NY-21: TWC News North Country Debate Showdown
The candidates in the 21st Congressional District face off in a debate. Our Matt Hunter was one of the moderators of the debate, and has a preview of what you'll hear tonight here on Time Warner Cable News.
"Two years ago when I ran, I ran on the idea we needed new ideas and a new generation of leadership in Washington," said Elise Stefanik, Republican candidate and incumbent representative for the 21st Congressional District. "I'm proud to stand before you two years later and say we have achieved those results."
While Stefanik urged voters to take note of her record during her first term in Congress, her opponents Mike Derrick, a Democrat, and the Green Party's Matt Funiciello, tried to use Monday's debate to establish themselves as a better choice for North Country voters.
"There's one person on this stage that has spent their life in public service and the military and that's me," Derrick said.
"Greens are a new part, we are the part of common sense, we are the party that wishes to give voices to the workers of this world," Funiciello said.
Over the course of the hour the candidates went back and forth on more than a dozen issues, ranging from the presidential race to improving the economy and services for veterans, along with how to protect the nation from terrorism.
Both Stefanik and Derrick, a retired Army Colonel, support cracking down on terror groups like ISIS using social media to attract new members.
"They have changed opinions, they have radicalized young people and we need to address that in a very direct way," Derrick said.
"On the House Armed Services Committee, I was able to get language in the National Defense Bill to start a social media cell to actually figure out what our strategy is going forward," Stefanik said.
Funiciello, a Glens Falls bakery owner who unsuccessfully ran for this seat in 2014, believes many of the United States' past foreign policy decisions have fueled the rise in terrorist activity.
"We are 'the Empire,' we're imposing our will violently and economically on other people all throughout the globe," Funiciello said. "They're angry at us and it's with good reason."
They also sparred on foreign trade, especially Stefanik's support of the Trade Promotion Authority bill.
That's legislation that gave the President fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"Elise voted for the TPA, which is unconstitutional in my view, that's fast-track," Funiciello said.
"That freezes out the voices of our elected officials in Congress," Derrick said.
"Mike Derrick doesn't support TPA, that means he doesn't support fair trade and he doesn't support Congressional authority," Stefanik said.
Prior to the November 8th election, the candidates will share the debate stage twice more.