This week’s midterm elections will be among the most consequential in recent memory. At stake is nothing less than the direction of our democracy and our nation. The past two years have not been easy for many Americans — the Trump administration has embarked on a substantial rollback of rights and protections for women, immigrants, LGBTQ people, religious minorities and more. Congress tried repeatedly (though unsuccessfully) to repeal the lifesaving Affordable Care Act, and succeeded in passing in passing a massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working people. And a growing but still fragile economy finds itself at the mercy of a capricious administration’s trade policy.
If you have an opinion on anything that has occurred over the past two years, your greatest recourse comes at the ballot box. Many Cornellians vote absentee — if you are one of them, make sure you have mailed in your ballot. Most states accept ballots postmarked by Election Day, so no, it’s not too late. (You can find a full state-by-state listing of deadlines to request and return an absentee ballot here).
For N.Y. Governor
For governor, The Sun recommends Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his race against Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. While Cuomo’s tenure has at times been rocky, his list of accomplishments is long, and on issues like gun control, gay marriage and minimum wage, his record is strong. And here in Tompkins County, Cuomo has spearheaded the $25 million expansion of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. While Molinaro has distanced himself from national Republicans, his record as a state legislator from 2007-2011 is lacking. And quite simply, the last eight years have shown the detrimental effects of divided government in Albany, to which Molinaro as a Republican would contribute to.
For N.Y. Senate
For senate, The Sun recommends Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in her race against Republican Chele Farley. In the Senate, where she has served since 2009, Gillibrand has been an advocate for working families, women and immigrants, and she has led the charge against sexual harassment and insider trading in our nation’s capital. Her opponent is Wall Street-bankrolled and Trump-endorsed, and like the president, she trafficks in fear-mongering on issues like immigration and MS-13. New Yorkers should return Sen. Gillibrand to Washington to continue her unfinished work.
For New York’s 23rd Congressional District, The Sun recommends Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 in her race against incumbent Rep. Tom Reed, who has represented Tompkins County since he was redistricted from NY-29 in 2012. In six years, what has Reed done for the 23rd?
Last year, Reed voted with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Had the Reed-Ryan-McConnell troika been successful in its efforts, hundreds of thousands of NY-23 residents could have lost or been priced out of their health insurance. Reed claims to be fighting extremism in Washington, and often touts his membership in the bipartisan “Problem Solvers’ Caucus.” But tell us, what is bipartisan about attempting to overhaul the entire American healthcare system with only 1 hour of floor debate, and no committee hearings or markups? What is bipartisan about pushing through a vote on that bill without even waiting for a non-partisan accounting from the Congressional Budget Office? How can you call yourself a “problem-solver” when you vote for a tax bill that will cost New York State an estimated $15 billion while putting money back in the pockets of the wealthiest Americans and corporations?
The truth is, Reed is neither fighting extremism, nor working bipartisanly solve problems. One of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump for president, Reed has an A rating from the NRA and a paltry 5 percent rating from NARAL-Pro Choice America. His much-ballyhooed “REDUCE Act,” which he claims tackles college affordability, is in reality an extreme attempt at extorting institutions of higher education. It applies only to a sliver of all colleges and universities, imposes inflexible rules and taxes that would harm long-term stability and growth, and could lead to severe tuition hikes at affected institutions.
Unlike Reed, Mitrano is a moderate voice who will put New Yorkers first as a member of Congress. Like Reed, Mitrano is a first-generation college graduate, and knows what it is like to grow up and live working-class in America. But while Reed was busy founding a medical debt collections firm that preyed on the most vulnerable New Yorkers, Mitrano was putting her education to good use as Cornell’s director of information technology policy from 2001-2014.
Mitrano has made rural broadband access a central plank in her platform, a goal The Sun heartily approves of. Consider that communities mere minutes away from Cornell lack even basic cell service, and we believe that in Congress, Mitrano would work to provide the 23rd — and all of the 23rd — with the resources it needs for the 21st century.
A Congresswoman Mitrano would never vote to deprive New Yorkers of their health insurance or of their reproductive rights. A Congresswoman Mitrano would fight to ensure that every American has the ability to exercise their right to vote, to have a quality public education, to breathe clean air and drink clean water. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same about our current representative.
Disclosure: Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95 previously served on The Sun’s board of directors. Her term ended in 2013, and she has not been involved with The Sun since then. None of the people responsible for today’s endorsements have ever worked with Mitrano in any context.