This page covers New York congressional candidates in districts 21-27 for the general election. To return to our main New York page, click here.
Elise Stefanik (R) – Incumbent – Rank: Weak
Elise has so many great and green things to discuss it’s hard to find a place to start. First, let’s talk about her invasive species work. New York is a particular risk for invasive species because it’s nestled between the Atlantic Ocean, where international ships bring new species to the area, and the Great Lakes, which suffers from damages caused by invasive species. Why does this matter? Invasive species do exactly what the name says–invade. They take over ecosystems because in new lands, they have no natural predators. This means their population skyrockets, and they wipe out what they need to survive–food, aka a certain plant or animal. This is a man-made tip of species populations that can have (and already has had) devastating effects for native species.
So, how has Elise helped with that? As co-chair of the Invasive Species Caucus, Elise introduced the Stamp Out Invasive Species Act. The act helps fund the prevention of invasive species and helping restore ecosystems already affected by them. She also introduced another bill that aims to create a plan to respond to the effects of invasive species and implement a prevention plan. Alongside introducing these bills, she’s co-sponsored the Stop Asian Carp Now Act, which will make public a report on invasive species in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basin. Her hard work in protecting native species from invaders illustrates her dedication to keeping our delicate ecosystems in balance.
In a little bit of a bigger-picture scheme, Elise supports big energy changes to protect the environment. She’s looking for energy independence, which is why she’s pushing for more renewable energy sources. How is she doing this? For one, she introduced the Renewable Electricity Tax Credit Equalization Act, which provides a tax credit for electricity produced with renewable sources, and co-sponsors the Technologies for Energy Security Act, which gives a similar tax credit for residential energy properties.
While these bills are great, Elise’s work for the environment goes further than incentivizing clean energy. She’s introduced bills to help secure funds for state Forest Legacy Programs (source) and a plan for the House to commit to moving towards climate change solutions (source). Elise recognizes the destruction acid rain has caused for your area and works toward protecting the people and environment from similar scenarios caused by pollution, which is why she also supports regulating harmful emissions.
While Elise looks great on her campaign site, you should note that she voted for the Keystone XL pipeline (source) and her LCV record is not that great. In fact, she has a lifetime score of only 27% (source).
Tedra Cobb (D) – Rank: Strong
Tedra wants to make sure environmental protections and regulations are adequately enforced and that the EPA is driven by science. She also wants to implement tax credits for solar energy investments and fund sustainable/organic farming research. This is a big deal because farming contributes to a lot of our pollution and carbon emissions, so supporting sustainable practices in this field would make a big difference.
Lynn Kahn (Green) – Rank: Strong
Lynn is an excellent choice for a sustainable congresswoman because of her vision for small, green businesses. She hopes to develop sustainable businesses and manufacturers right in your district. She also sees a great opportunity for you to consume locally-grown produce through green programs that educate young people on the benefits of using local markets. And Lynn hasn’t forgotten the acid rain; therefore, she supports the transition to 100% clean energy by 2050, monitoring pollution, and the good ol’ fashioned reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Katie Wilson (Working Families Party) – Rank: Strong
Since tourism and farming are important industries to your district, Katie supports legislation that protects clean air and water. She also wants to motivate the renewable energy switch by cutting fossil fuel tax breaks. She also challenged a rail company’s plan to store used oil tanker cars in Adirondack Park.
Our primary pick: Anthony Brindisi – Rank: Good
- NY State Assembly
Anthony believes in a nonpartisan approach to environmental issues and trusts what the scientists are saying. For these reasons, Anthony supports investing in research and clean energy in order to protect the environment and prevent further harm.
Claudia Tenney (R) – Incumbent – Rank: Bad
Claudia does not discuss sustainability on her website but her voting record and LCV score of 6% indicates that she’s not standing with us.
Tracy Mitrano (D) – Rank: Strong
Tracy is very anti-fracking and wants to keep the air, water, and land safe and clean. She supports the use of more renewable energy and keeping the EPA fully funded and staffed with scientists. Furthermore, Tracy wants to federally fund more scientific research into climate change in order to find the best way to solve these issues and push for legislation that deals with environmental concerns most effectively. Lastly, cleaning up sites like West Valley is a key issue for Tracy in order to free residents of pollution and work toward a cleaner environement.
Tom Reed (R) – Incumbent – Rank: Bad
Your current representative voted yes for the Keystone XL pipeline and opposes federal regulations of greenhouse gas emissions. He does, however, support an investment in renewable energy (source).
Our pick: Dana Balter – Rank: Strong
- Director of Education / Marketing & Communications
Dana has a good grasp on just how different New York can be. On one hand, there’s the beautiful countryside, and the other, the bustling cities. However, she definitely knows the importance of saving both of these different landscapes by mitigating the effects of climate change and changing to sustainable energy. This means protecting land, water, and air, no matter where it is in New York.
Here’s a bit of her plan:
- Protect and preserve water sources, clean air, and toxin and pollutant free land
- Stop the environmental regulation rollbacks
- Reinstate environmental regulations that have damaged and will continue to damage our planet
- Carbon tax
- Eliminate fossil fuels
Balter is dedicated to moving past the era of fossil fuels and into one of clean energy. Clean energy means less-environmental and weather-related disasters, and since Hurricane Sandy, New York knows she isn’t safe from major weather events anymore. Drinking water is another priority, and she plans on investing in better water infrastructure to ensure that your families and children can continue to enjoy and safely drink the water that comes out of the tap. Investing in renewable energy is the last piece of her puzzle, by driving up demand, you make an economy based in new and sustainable jobs.
John Katko (R) – Incumbent – Rank: Weak
Here’s what your current rep is feeling with environmental stuff:
He believes that America should be looking into more renewable energy sources, and he’s particularly interested in nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is emissions-free, steady, and employs a large faction of citizens in District 24. He’s also shown an interest in government regulation in greenhouse gas emissions.
There are a few things we’re hesitant about with John, though. His website says “utilizing modern extraction methods to increase production of fossil fuels in the most environmentally friendly way possible.” This could reference fracking, a method of oil extraction that we’re not okay with. He also doesn’t support moving away from fossil fuels but instead encourages all forms of energy production in America. He’s also a supporter of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Joseph Morelle (D) – Rank: Strong
While working in the New York Assembly, Joseph helped pass the Climate and Community Protection Act, which prepares the state for the effects of climate change and works to prevent more damage by pushing for renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions (among other things). He also supported banning fracking and offshore drilling, two eco-unfriendly fossil fuel extraction methods. Joseph is looking to fully fund the EPA, rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, and push our country toward 50% carbon emission reduction by 2030 and close fracking loopholes in the Clean Air and Water Acts.
James Maxwell (R) – Rank: Weak
James’ only issue on his website deals with helping New York’s South Shore communities deal with flooding issues, but he does not mention climate change or the environment at all.
Our primary pick: Brian Higgins – Rank: Strong
- Incumbent since 2004
- New York State Assembly 1999-2003
Your incumbent, Brian Higgins, is actually trying to help you out a lot on the hydropower front. Since you have such huge potential to produce cheap and clean hydropower energy, Higgins thinks it’s only logical (and we have to agree with him) to harness and use that power right in District 26. Currently what’s happening is a lot of your hydropower is being sold and subsidized to other districts as a part of the New York Power Authorities way to fund other failing projects. Since big businesses and large industries are the ones benefiting from this, Higgins wants to take back the power generated by the Falls and let local businesses flourish, which will also boost the local economy. This is pretty great news for you guys since local businesses bring money back to your district, and the decrease in the cost of power will encourage industries to move back and create jobs in that area.
Here’s an important little blurb about Higgins:
“As a Member of Congress, Brian was able to have a seat at the table during recent discussions on the federal relicensing of the Niagara Power Project. As a voice for businesses and working families, Brian was successful in securing a settlement worth $279 million – nearly three times the amount originally offered to this community.
“Thanks to the efforts of Brian and all of the community partners who fought for Western New York’s fair share in the relicensing process, settlement dollars will be reinvested into one of this region’s greatest natural resources – the Buffalo waterfront.
“Still, Brian’s not done yet. His focus is only shifted from relicensing to reclaiming our fair share of the benefits of our region’s ability to produce clean, renewable hydroelectric power.”
This is another reason we endorse Higgins. He’s not just all talk and no game. He’s proven that he can get things done that are good for the Earth and good District 26.
Renee Zeno (R) – Rank: Unknown
We could not find information regarding Renee’s sustainable platform.
Our primary pick: Nate McMurray – Rank: Strong
- Town Supervisor 2016-present
- Expert in Asian-American economic affairs
- Delegate of the British-American Project
McMurray is the Town Supervisor of District 27, so you could assume that he has some good experience working with the community and handling local issues. Not only is he in tune with the needs of the districts he’s representing, he’s capable of bringing these issues to Congress and working alongside other politicians. This is great news, as a lot of politics is based on compromise.
Here’s what McMurray has to say about climate change:
- Greenhouse gas emissions create devastating problems for the U.S. and need to be addressed at a federal level
- The environment needs to be protected so that the citizens can continue to prosper
- Pollutants and toxins are a huge hazard to the health of our society and must be addressed with the appropriate amount of zest
Additionally, his platform addresses the Great Lakes and how important keeping that watershed clean of pollutants and toxins is for the health of our fishing, hunting, and agricultural communities associated with the Lakes. He’s worked towards using renewable energy in his own district by securing a solar energy grant for Grand Island and has mentioned his concern about lead and other toxins present in drinking water. He doesn’t support roll-backs to regulations that monitor environmental toxins and pollutants and supports introducing and funding renewable and sustainable energy jobs to District 27 that will strengthen the economy and bring a future for our families.
Chris Collins (R) – Incumbent – Rank: Bad
Your current rep has 2 negative things to note. 1. He supports the Keystone XL pipeline. 2. He thinks the EPA’s regulations on harmful emissions are no good (source).
Larry Piegza (Reform Party) – Rank: Unknown
We could not find information regarding Larry’s sustainable platform.
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