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Politics

A New Republican Star

During the 2015 midterm elections, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik was elected to her first term in the United States House of Representatives.  Since she assumed office in 2016, she has been the congresswoman from New York State’s 21st District, which encompasses much of northern New York State, including Fort Drum.  For much of her career, her name has been relatively unknown to those outside of New York State and Americans outside of her district.  Elise Stefanik is considered to be a moderate Republican, ranking 27th out of 435 members of the House of Representatives in bipartisanship, according to The Post Star.  Stefanik also “kept her support for President Donald Trump at arm’s length,” according to NPR.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik also has a history of voting across the aisle.  According to Vote Smart, Stefanik voted no on two controversial pieces of Republican-sponsored legislation.  The two pieces of legislation included the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement.  A no vote on these two pieces of Republican-sponsored legislation proves her ability to look beyond party lines when voting.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik sprung into the national spotlight during the impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump.  At the beginning of the impeachment hearings, Former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was being sworn in for her testimony.  After Ambassador Yovanovitch was sworn in, Congresswoman Stefanik came out against the impeachment hearing, stating that there was “insufficient evidence that President Trump was guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors,” according to NPR.  After releasing that statement, the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA) proceeding to shut Congresswoman Stefanik down.  When she asked what the interruption was for, Chairman Schiff claimed that she “violated procedural rules for the hearing,” according to NPR.

Stefanik’s criticism of Chairman Schiff and the impeachment hearings have been greeted by praise from conservative news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and Fox News.  Congresswoman Stefanik was invited onto Fox News on multiple occasions for interviews about the impeachment hearings and her opinions on them.  Stefanik also received praise from President Trump after the first round of impeachment hearings, tweeting on November 17th that a “new Republican star was born.”

Even though Stefanik was heavily criticized by Democrats for her performance in the impeachment hearings, she was able to raise nearly $500,000 in campaign donations, according to the Times Union.  On the other hand, Democratic challenger Tedra Cobb was able to raise nearly $1,000,000 after the impeachment hearings, according to The Hill.  Tedra Cobb is no stranger to Elise Stefanik.  In 2018, she attempted to unseat Congresswoman Stefanik from her House seat, but lost the election by fourteen percentage points, according to the Times Union.  During a statewide effort to flip congressional districts from Republican to Democrat, Congresswoman Stefanik was able to hold onto her House seat for another two-year term.  In 2018, Congresswoman Stefanik was able to keep her seat during the blue wave, but will her support for President Trump during the impeachment hearings cost her the House seat for New York’s 21st District in 2020?  Only time will tell.