August 18, 2013

Assailed for Views on Fracking, Rep. Tom Reed Tells Ithacans He Is Fighting for America

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Advocating fracking in upstate New York and tax reform he says will cut the national debt, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y. 23) was assailed by some audience members attending a town hall at Cornell Saturday. But the congressman did not back off — he told the crowd he does not “have the luxury” of not taking stances on critical issues.

“I know who I am. I know what I stand for,” Reed said to the audience. “We’re just trying to fight for America.”

Although Reed still has more than a year before voters decide whether or not he will be reelected to the 23rd congressional district, he has already made moves to appeal to constituents in the district.

In last November’s elections, Reed eked out a narrow victory over Democratic opponent Nate Shinagawa ’05 M.A. ’09 — winning by a smaller margin than any poll had predicted leading up to voting night. Now, as his competitor, Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson ’75, builds her campaign, Reed said he hopes to continue holding town halls across the district every month.

Meeting with constituents is “really important to me,” Reed said at Saturday’s town hall. “It’s important to our office; the problems facing America are huge,” he added.

Answering audience members’ questions about how he would tackle the country’s fiscal problems, Reed said one of his top priorities is to rein in the U.S.’ $16 trillion debt. Reed — a member of the Ways and Means committee in the House of Representatives — said he hopes to change the “borrow-and-spend” culture on Capitol Hill.

Although reducing the national debt will necessitate making budget cuts, Reed said he will decide which programs to fund based on the country’s priorities.

America “needs to make some hard decisions,” he said.

Audience members also asked Reed about his views on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s key healthcare legislation. Reed made it clear he does not support the Affordable Care Act, saying he does not think the law gets to the root issue of health reform: cost containment.

Reed added that he thinks government, employers and insurance companies have significantly more control over health insurance than individuals. The Affordable Care Act, as it currently stands, does not give enough power to individuals seeking healthcare, Reed said.

“I would like for the individual to have more of a role in that process,” Reed said. “The individual’s role is limited in this day and age.”

Tyler Alicea is a senior news writer for The Sun. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at

Original Author: Tyler Alicea