CANTON — Following an unscheduled visit to St. Lawrence University where she announced her proposed $50 billion Rebuild Rural America Act, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, addressed issues surrounding the status of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or “USMCA,” the Trump impeachment hearings and how Northern New York Rep. Elise Stefanik’s defending the president has given her national attention and resulted in a backlash in the form of Democrat Tedra Cobb’s Congressional campaign raising $1 million in three days to unseat Ms. Stefanik.
“I’ve talked to folks here in the north country and they want their members of Congress to be bipartisan and they want to leave the partisan bickering in Washington,” Sen. Gillibrand said to reporters after her announcement. “So I support Tedra. I think she is excellent. I think she would be an extraordinary member of Congress and I support her campaign.”
The Senator wasn’t the only person to show support for Ms. Cobb.
Actor Mark Hamill, who is most known for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films, tweeted “Hello New Yorkers living in -NY21! You can all support a great candidate like @TedraCobb AND help @EliseStefanik spend more time being a -TrumpToady on Fox “News”-It would be a -WinWin for America! Thanks for your consideration, mh.”
Ms. Cobb was at Monday’s announcement at St. Lawrence University, but said she had no time to comment and left shortly after the senator’s announcement was made.
At around 9 p.m. Sunday she tweeted, “I am happy to announce we raised $1 million dollars! It is impossible to express the feeling of gratitude I have tonight. Thank you -TeamTedra Together we started something big but it’s not over yet.”
The fiscal attention to Ms. Cobb’s campaign follows Ms. Stefanik receiving national attention for her stance in the impeachment hearings, supporting the President with him tweeting she was “A new Republican Star” on Sunday morning.
Sen. Gillibrand on Monday said it is Congress’s responsibility to review these “very serious allegations of President Trump asking a foreign leader to actually investigate a political rival” and that she hoped Ms. Stefanik was doing as much “and be less concerned about impressing President Trump.”
But, she added, while conducting the hearings is important, politicians have an obligation to continue governing on behalf of their constituents.
Part of that work is determining where the country is with the USMCA, which was created to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“One of the biggest challenges for me as a senator is, I have not seen the final language,” she said. “I don’t even know where we are in the negotiations because President Trump hasn’t allowed us to see it, and that’s problematic because the earlier draft had a couple of problems.”
That included a lack of protection for dairy farmers, who Sen. Gillibrand said she went to bat for and received more protections.
Another issue she said an earlier draft of the USMCA had was “huge giveaways to big pharma in Mexico,” guaranteeing profits that were “outrageous.”
“And with prescription drug prices as high as they are and having the price of prescription drugs be a real impediment for communities, families and our seniors, we need to be able to take on the drug companies,” she said. “And if President Trump basically builds in record profits, that’s not a good deal for the north country.”