Tedra Cobb, who’s running for Congress in New York’s 21st district, released a reform agenda Tuesday that focuses on taking power away from corporations and their influence in politics.
In two digital ads and just over a page-long agenda, Ms. Cobb counter-strikes her opponent, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, while outlining the goals she would work toward if she unseats the representative this year.
Ms. Cobb made 10 pledges to uphold if she were to be elected, focused mostly on taking money out of politics, which she said is why she’s in this race.
“My goal with these pledges is that every person who has given me a dollar, or constituents who have never given me a dollar, all have equal power,” Ms. Cobb said in an interview with the Times. “Our elected officials, whether it’s at the local, state or national level, everything we do has an influence on the people that we are meant to serve.”
The first pledge by Ms. Cobb, the one she calls the ultimate goal, is overturning Citizens United, a Supreme Court decision which ruled that political spending is a form of free speech and that corporations can make unlimited political donations. Overturning Citizens United would end the idea that corporations are people and take their influence away in politics, Ms. Cobb said.
Another pledge is to pass The Honest Ads Act, which would require the same disclosure rules in online political advertising that already apply to TV and radio ads. Ms. Cobb said some ads on social media like Facebook don’t clarify who is paying for it.
“We want all Americans to know where the money is behind those ads,” Ms. Cobb said. “There’s a saying, ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant.’ In other words, when the public knows where the money comes from, who’s supporting those ads, then the public has the ability to make an informed decision.”
She also pledges to stop coordination between Super PACs and candidates and to never become a corporate lobbyist.
“It’s sort of that undue influence,” Ms. Cobb said about elected officials becoming lobbyists. “It’s having power while you’re elected and then also post-election. We sometimes call this the revolving door.”
The agenda and ads also take aim at Ms. Stefanik. It says the Congresswoman has accepted nearly $200,000 from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industry. It says she kicked 64,000 Northern New Yorkers off their healthcare, gutted protections for people with pre-existing conditions and voted against a bill that would lower prescription drug costs. And Ms. Cobb says her opponent has accepted more than $350,000 from the finance industry and in Washington she has supported turning Medicare into a voucher program and privatizing Social Security.
“People need to know who I am and my values, but they also need to know that I’m running against someone who has voted against her own constituents,” Ms. Cobb said. “I will not lie. I will not name call. And I will also, and I have, ask the people who are my supporters to support me with integrity.”
In response, Madison Anderson, Ms. Stefanik’s communications director, said the Congresswoman helped write the Honest Ads Act and co-led the bill. She’s leading the effort to pass it as a standalone bill in the House, Ms. Anderson said. She wanted to note that coordination between campaigns and Super PACs is illegal under federal law.
Ms. Anderson went on to say that Ms. Cobb has accepted millions of dollars from “Hollywood Far-Left donors like Rosie O’Donnell, Chelsea Handler, and Chrissy Teigen who are out of touch with north country values.” She said Ms. Cobb supports taxpayer-funded campaigns, something Ms. Stefanik opposes.
“Elise Stefanik has one of the strongest records delivering results to lower healthcare costs and improve quality and access to rural healthcare, including repealing the medical device tax, writing the biggest fix to Obamacare that has been signed into law, delivering millions of funds to north country hospitals, and leading the fight to expand community health centers,” Ms. Anderson said. “Tedra Cobb is a radical Far-Left Democrat who lost by an embarrassing large margin in 2018.”