Faso: Town Halls Not ‘Productive’

As his colleagues receive an earful in town hall events across the country, Republican Rep. John Faso questioned why they should be held at all.

The freshman lawmaker said the events have turned into “shouting sessions” that aren’t conducive to discussing issues.

“I haven’t scheduled town halls because I’m finding if you look around the country, they really haven’t been extraordinarily productive,” Faso told Time Warner Cable News. “They’ve turned into shouting sessions and I don’t think that that kind of approach works.”

Faso was elected last year to the 19th congressional district, a Hudson Valley House seat that has been a battleground for both parties, even as the GOP has retained control of it since the 2012 round of reapportionment.

Faso’s fundraiser at the Fort Orange Club in Albany on Wednesday was the site of a protest, drawing constituents concerned with the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the alleged ties of President Donald Trump’s allies to Russia as well as other issues.

Fundraiser Held, Protesters Attend

fasoprotestInside the Fort Orange Club on Wednesday night, Rep. John Faso is holding a fundraiser.

Outside on Washington Avenue in downtown Albany, it’s a different story: More than 100 protesters with a range of issues on their minds.

“It’s politicians for sale,” said Pete Looker. “I mean, most of the people here probably can’t afford the $2,700.”

For those like Alice Malavasic, there was the concern the ties between President Donald Trump’s administration and campaign officials to Russia.

“I really want to see the House begin some investigations into the Russian connection,” she said, adding she attended the protest to provide support for her friends who were upset the Affordable Care Act could be repealed.

Faso was elected to the battleground 19th congressional district only last year. But already constituents like Wendy Dwyer are raising concerns with his voting record, especially when it comes to the environment.

“He’s already voting with the oil companies, with the billionaires and he’s not for the people,” Dwyer said. “I can see it already. I’m already upset.”

But an overarching concern for many at the protest was the planned repeal by congressional Republicans of the Affordable Care Act. Faso told us in January the law isn’t working, but is concerned with the impact of a full repeal on New York.

“I think it’s clear the ACA is not working the way it was intended,” Faso said in the January interview. “So we need to radically overhaul and reform.”

Still, others at Wednesday’s protest remain concerned with President Donald Trump, and claims he’s advanced that protests around the country are fueled by his opponents.

“They’re saying this is financed and so many of us are professional protesters,” Malavasic said. “Of course none of us are.”

The climate is not dissimilar to what happened to the political right in 2009, which launched the tea party movement. Today, it’s protesters upset with change coming again, but this time in the form of Donald Trump.

“He’s radicalizing folks who thought they would never be out marching,” said Mary Lynch, a Faso constituent. “Who never thought they’d be out calling everyday.”

Congress is on break this week, returning to their districts to protests much like this one from demonstrators concerned by a Trump presidency.

NY-19: Gillibrand Campaigns With Teachout

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday made a last-minute pitch for Democratic House hopeful Zephyr Teachout in her bid for the 19th congressional district.

Gillibrand represented parts of what is now the 19th district in the Hudson Valley before the 2012 round of congressional reapportionment and her elevation to the U.S. Senate in 2009 to fill the unexpired term of Hillary Clinton.

“Zephyr Teachout believes in bringing jobs home, supporting local farming, and making things in America again,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

“She understands that Congress needs more independent voices standing up to powerful interests and putting our local people and local businesses first. And Zephyr treasures this area just like I do — she knows we need to protect our clean water and fresh air, strengthen our family farms and build vibrant local economies across the Hudson Valley, Catskills and Capital Region. I urge everyone to vote for Zephyr on Election Day, because her positive vision and fierce independence can bring the change we need.”

In some respects, Gillibrand is a bridge between two factions of the Democratic Party after the Clinton campaign reached out to the senator in an effort to woo Teachout with fundraising help, hacked emails posted to Wikileaks last month showed.

Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor who ran for governor in 2014, supported Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign and later endorsed Clinton’s bid.

“Women veterans have drive, determination and incredible skills — they’re a tremendous resource for our economy and our communities. I’m dedicated to helping veterans build businesses, create jobs and expand opportunities for all of us,” said Teachout. “Senator Gillibrand has been a national leader on this, and we’re going to work together to ignite the skills and resources of veterans to explode economic growth across our region.”

Teachout faces Republican John Faso in the costly and hotly contentious battleground House race.

A TWC News/Siena College poll on Sunday showed Faso opening up a six-point lead over Teachout.

NY-19: Tonko For Teachout

Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko on Friday endorsed Zephyr Teachout’s bid for the neighboring 19th congressional district.

Tonko, who faces his own re-election for a fifth term this year against GOP candidate Joe Vitolo, praised Teachout as “an independent fighter” who can stand up to special interests.

“She understands that we need to protect our water, cut out the red tape so independent businesses can flourish, and clean up the corruption in Washington. Her positive vision for what our politics can be is a refreshing departure from the overwhelming negativity that people are sick of,” Tonko said. “I strongly endorse Zephyr for Congress because we need more people like her willing to stand up to the status quo and bring the change we need.”

Teachout is locked in a hotly contested and costly race for the Hudson Valley seat against Republican John Faso, a former state assemblyman. The district is being vacated this year by Republican Rep. Chris Gibson.

“Rebuilding our infrastructure means more good jobs for New York workers: lots of good-paying construction jobs in next few years, and a great payoff for businesses and taxpayers over the long run,” Teachout said.

NY-19: Sanders Fundraises For Teachout

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday released a fundraising email on behalf of Democratic congressional hopeful Zephyr Teachout.

“All across our country, as a result of the disastrous Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, billionaires are trying to buy elections for candidates who will represent the wealthy and the powerful,” Sanders’s email states. “To my mind, one of the most perfect demonstrations of the grotesque influence of billionaires in our democracy is what is happening with Zephyr Teachout’s race for Congress.”

Teachout had endorsed Sanders’s presidential bid during the primary over Hillary Clinton, and he has since campaigned personally in the 19th congressional district for Teachout.

In the fundraising email, Sanders notes his average small-dollar contribution during his race was $27.

“Well, Zephyr’s is even lower than that. It’s $19! What this says to me is that you have provided Zephyr Teachout with incredible grassroots support in a way that has a very good chance to help her win on Tuesday,” Sanders’s email states.

The email comes as Teachout and Republican Faso are locked in a hotly contested and expensive race for the Hudson Valley district. Republican Rep. Chris Gibson is retiring this year.

NY-19: Republicans For Teachout

Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout has been called a “socialist” during her bid for the 19th district.

So this week, her campaign unveiled conservative voters — a family of Republicans and an enrolled Conservative Party member — who are supporting her election over GOP candidate John Faso.

The reason: Teachout’s concerns over the construction of a natural gas pipeline.

In a video released by the campaign, the Teachout campaign highlights a Schoharie County man whose property was taken through eminent domain for an easement to construct the pipeline.

The video also shows Faso backing the construction of the Constitution Pipeline to residents in the area.

Both Faso and Teachout are vying for the Hudson Valley congressional race in a tightly contested election.

NY-19: Dems Surpass GOP In Enrollment

Since the 2012 round of congressional redistricting, Republicans had held a narrow enrollment advantage in the battleground 19th congressional district.

Not anymore.

Updated Board of Elections statistics for the Hudson Valley House district show Democrats with a very small enrollment edge over Republican voters. The Democratic gains come as Republican John Faso and Democrat Zephyr Teachout are locked in a hotly contested and costly race to replace Republican Rep. Chris Gibson in the House of Representatives.

Polls have shown Teachout and Faso in a virtual tie.

Back in 2012, Republican enrollment stood at 140,709 compared to 132,770 enrolled Democrats. Two years later, Democratic enrollment actually declined to 129,337.

But as of Nov. 1, Democrats now out number Republicans in the district: 137,821 to 137,656.

Still, it’s not a completely liberal advantage. Conservative Party enrollment has gained in the district from 10,471 in 2012 to 10,845 as of Tuesday.

Overall, left-leaning parties (Democratic, Working Families, Green, Women’s Equality) are still slightly outnumbered, with 32.5 percent of voters registered in one of those parties compared to 33.9 percent of voters registered as either Republicans or Conservatives.

NY-19: Teachout Challenges Faso On Trump

Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout is pushing her Republican opponent John Faso to take a precise stand on how he’ll be voting for president next week.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Teachout’s campaign called on Faso to state whether he’s voting for Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Faso has previously said — most recently in a WMHT debate — that that he’d support the nominee of the party and has said it’s important a Republican appoint the next Supreme Court justice.

“I said I would support the nominee, that is still the case,” he said, stressing that he supports Trump’s hard right position on the Supreme Court. Trump has said he would appoint justices like Antonin Scalia who opposed Roe vs. Wade, and supported the Citizens United decision that made it possible for corporations and SuperPACs to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.

Later, he said both Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton are “seriously flawed” and that he is yet to endorse Trump himself.

“John Faso says he supports Donald Trump but won’t say who he’s voting for,” Teachout said. “Why should people vote for John Faso if he doesn’t even trust them enough to tell them who he’s voting for? It’s time for John Faso to be straight with people and just tell us who he’s voting for. This is a basic test of leadership and voters will always know where I stand.”

Faso isn’t the only Republican running for Congress in New York this year who has been hesitant to embrace Trump.

In the 24th congressional district in the Syracuse area, Rep. John Katko has endorsed neither candidate as well, but has not revealed who he will vote for on Election Day.

NY-19: Faso Camp Pushes For D-Trip Ad Off The Air (Updated)

The campaign of Republican congressional candidate John Faso is pushing TV stations to remove an ad attacking his record as a state lawmaker.

The ad, released by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, knocks Faso for backing a $175 million cut to college tuition assistance.

The claim is “flatly incorrect” the Faso campaign charges. The assistance cut referred to in the was part of then-Gov. George Pataki’s budget in 1997, but it was removed from the final spending plan when it was voted for approval in August (yes, once upon a time Albany had “late” budgets approved after the start of the April 1 fiscal new year).

“Professor Teachout keeps telling voters she wants to treat them like adults,” Faso said in a statement. “Here’s her chance — call on your well-heeled allies in the DCCC to remove this demonstrably false attack ad and run on your own merits.”

At the same time, Faso’s team is knocking the claim in the ad that he “repeatedly” back tax increases on middle-income families, an assertion the candidate says is the opposition of what occurred. Faso backed a plan that saved middle-class families “billions” since it was approved in 1995.

Faso is now calling for the ad to be removed from the airwaves, which have been crowded with ads boosting and trashing both candidates in the 19th congressional district.

“If Zephyr Teachout takes no action to remove a transparently dishonest ad airing in her name, voters should take notice,” Faso said.

“This pattern of exaggerations, lies and false attacks will be remembered on November 8th for what it is: the desperate tactics of a politician with no connection to the district and no ideas for reducing the sky-high taxes driving too many families and businesses out of Upstate New York.”

Updated: Bryan Lesswing of the DCCC responds.

“John Faso can’t paper over the fact that he sided against middle-class families in Albany, or his many pay-to-play scandals and investigations as an Albany lobbyist,” he said. “Between his anti-middle class conservative voting record, pay-to-play pension investigations, ponzi-like scandals and siding with his corporate backers, the Hudson Valley can’t afford John Faso.”

NY-19 Ad Take Down Letter final by William F. B. O'Reilly on Scribd

NY-19: Faso Ad Touts Jenna’s Law Advocacy

There have been a lot of fun and borderline silly spots in the nearly wall-to-wall TV ads for the 19th congressional district race.

A super PAC ad opposing Democratic candidate Zephyr Teachout that shows the “zany” professor reading a book called “Socialism” and wearing birkenstock sandals.

Republican John Faso in a good-natured bickering with his wife over turning up the thermostat in an Ozzie And Harriet-like sitcom.

And so on.

But the TV ad released by Faso’s campaign on Friday dispenses with the attacks and touts his push for Jenna’s Law, a measure he backed that eliminated parole for those who commit violent felonies.

The ad features a first-person testimonial from Bruce Grieshaber, Jenna’s father, praising the measure’s passage.

And disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is used a foil — not the first time a Republican has deployed the once-powerful ex-lawmaker as a boogeyman in a TV ad.

“Sheldon Silver tried to bottle it up, but John Faso was not going to have that,” Grieshaber says in the ad. “John is a fighter, and a fighter for us.”

Faso in his debate with Teachout last week on Time Warner Cable News argued that as minority leader of the Assembly he had little to do with impacting policy when it came to taxes. But Assembly Republicans have often used their bullhorn to push for measures like this one, especially anti-crime issues.

Faso served as the Assembly minority leader until 2002. He ran for governor in 2006, losing to Eliot Spitzer.