Feb 19, 2009
Voters Have One Question for Career Politician Jim Tedisco: How Would You Vote on Economic Recovery
For days, career Albany politician Jim Tedisco has refused to answer a simple question: would he vote "yes" or "no" on President Obama's economic recovery legislation passed by Congress last week. The economic recovery plan will create 76,000 jobs in New York, provide middle class tax relief, get shovel-ready projects going right away; and help Upstate communities hold the line on property taxes.
"Assemblyman Tedisco, voters deserve a simple yes or no answer: would you vote for President Obama's economic recovery plan?"
Albany Times Union Editorial
Take a stand, Mr. Tedisco
First published: Thursday, February 19, 2009
Sometime between now and an election tentatively set for March 31, James Tedisco has to take a stand on the $787 billion economic stimulus that Congress passed last week and President Obama just signed into law.
How else can the voters of the 20th Congressional District begin to judge whether he's the best candidate to fill what had been Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's seat in the House?
That Mr. Tedisco would suggest that his position on what just might be the most contentious issue in Washington is a "hypothetical question" raises serious questions about his qualifications to serve in Congress. Economic policy couldn't be more critical in a congressional race.
Mr. Tedisco needs to understand that he's no longer in Albany, where he's the leader of the Republican minority in the state Assembly. Congress, he needs to learn, is a place where legislative debate tends to actually matter.
Scott Murphy, Mr. Tedisco's Democratic opponent, says he would have voted for the stimulus. So, which way, Mr. Tedisco? Up or down?
Is spending all this money - in a bold, some might say desperate, effort to keep the economy from plunging into a depression - a sensible way to create jobs and prevent more mortgage foreclosures?
If the issue here is Mr. Tedisco's unfamiliarity with what's a lengthy and complicated piece of legislation, he might start by reading it.
The way he went on and on with a filibuster-length non-answer at a campaign appearance in Queensbury on Tuesday has us wondering how much of the legislation he could have read in the meantime. Has he never voted on the bills that get rushed through the Legislature without reading them?
There was one encouraging note to Mr. Tedisco's rambling comments. He says he won't be a "lemming" in Congress.
The mind wanders, then, with excited anticipation. Does that mean Mr. Tedisco might have stood apart from the House Republicans who obstinately and unanimously voted against the stimulus? Would he challenge their contention that it's a waste of money?
If the ever independent Mr. Tedisco is nonetheless looking for some political cover, he might take note of the Republicans who do support the stimulus. Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian, for example, welcomes the money that could help pay for new water lines, better roads and maybe a new city hall. Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino sees the stimulus as a way of putting people back to work in a time of sharply increasing unemployment.
Even Mr. Tedisco himself acknowledges what it can do. Just listen.
"Love the unemployment help that we need to bridge that gap. Love the infrastructure. They've got some nice tax cuts in there."
So, what's his problem? Why's he on the fence? Why can't he level with the voters?
It's not because the stimulus was the Democrats' bill, is it?
A candidate for Congress has no position on the economic stimulus bill.
He can't be serious.
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