At healthcare crisis stop in Geneva, Democrat Mitrano challenges Rep. Reed to 2018 rematch
– By Gabriel Pietrorazio
During the final leg of her five-city healthcare crisis listening tour Democratic congressional candidate Tracy Mitrano issued a campaign promise and publicly commented on Rep. Tom Reed’s (R-23) contemplation of a run for governor.
Vying once again to represent the 23rd District, Mitrano challenged Reed in a rematch from 2018 for the coveted seat in Congress ahead of 2020.
With stops starting in Dunkirk and onward through Jamestown, Olean, Corning and finally Geneva, Mitrano concluded the healthcare crisis listening tour at the IBEW Local 840 on Friday.
In a packed meeting room, nearly 50 people gathered to hear about what the Democratic candidate proposes on issues surrounding healthcare in a conversational dialogue among those in attendance.
Even with a number of Rep. Reed aides that attended the event as well, Mitrano candidly welcomed them without expressing any hostility.
With topics ranging from prescription drugs and mental health to immigration and fraud, Mitrano intertwined these issues around issues pertaining to healthcare and access.
As a part of the tour, Mitrano worked with Drs. Ralph Walton and Marguerite Uphoff from RIP Medical Debt, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to purchase more than $170,000 of medical debt owned by individuals struggling with the burden.
The with the group of generous doctors, they shall eliminate more than $500,000 in medical debt at merely one percent of the original cost.
But on this evening, Mitrano focused on the theme of facing fear that appears in many forms.
Mitrano did not shy away from calling-out Rep. Reed and his alleged dissemination of lies that were circulated during the 2018 Midterm Cycle.
In 2018, Rep. Reed pushed Mitrano as the ‘Extreme Ithaca Liberal’, which she addressed this time around through a fact sheet. Mitrano is a Penn Yan resident, and has been since prior to the last cycle.
Another allegation that persisted in the political discourse during the previous election cycle was that Mitrano sought to give-out heroin for medical purposes, which she candidly denied during her visit with voters.
However, Mitrano noted the importance of finding non-addictive alternatives to combat the increasingly fatal opioid overdose crisis that plagues rural upstate New York as well as the rest of the nation.
Mitrano not only doubted Rep. Reed’s ability to envision an alternative future but also his very own vocabulary.
“Suboxone is not in his vocabulary” Mitrano said.
Suboxone, a drug that contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone has been used to treat narcotic opiate addictions.
In a similar vein, she addressed the issues of addiction and explained that treating addicts is the solution, not crucifying them.
In contrast, Mitrano presents a differing view on the subject with Congressman Reed who has supported efforts to allow for the death penalty to be sentenced upon drug peddlers, which “propagates the problem” in her opinion.
Mitrano even fired back against Rep. Reed by homing in on his prior profession as a medical debt collector.
She questioned as to why a former debt collector would not show support for any medical policies that assist the common and working-class people from his own district.
Mitrano assessment was simple, citing “political corruption” as the reason.
In the coming month of March, Mitrano promised that letters will be mailed-out about his preceding public service career and involvement with the medical debt collection industry, which his wife Jean Reed still operates in under RR Resource Recovery LLC located in Corning.
Mitrano pondered as to why a market for medical debt exists when lawmakers and representatives could figure-out how to negotiate costs and rates similarly to European states and the Veterans Affairs hospitals.
A conversation also arisen about how some residents from the district would travel a relatively short distance across the northern border into Canada to purchase insulin and other medical products that are significantly costlier in the United States.
One attendee shared that he plans on bringing his girlfriend who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes to Toronto for Valentine’s Day in order to purchase her a new insulin pump.
Although Mitrano admits that this may be a reality for some people, she does not see this process as a long-term solution, especially for those within the district who cannot afford frequent trips to the neighboring state of Canada solely to purchase medical products and devices.
Instead she intends on instilling change and inspiring hope among the 23rd district by making her bid for Congress in 2020.
Mitrano brought attention to the fact that bills including the Affordable Care Act have been “challenged by this administration,” Reed and the Republican Party, only at the detriment of residents withit the district that rely upon this national insurance model.
Placing an additional emphasis on protecting the younger able-bodied Americans, Mitrano acknowledged the importance of having a healthy working population of young adults who are vital in contributing their earnings toward taxes and the national Social Security Administration fund.
Although her final stop in Geneva has marked the end of the five-city crisis listening tour, the conversations have only started and just seem to continue as Mitrano seeks to collect more facetime with voters throughout the expansive district leading-up to Election Day.
Mitrano has additional interests in discussing the issues surrounding educational debt, especially for doctors who cannot pay-off their loans as medical practitioners within local communities.
Amid an increasingly partisan political landscape, Mitrano has seen while traveling that some can no longer engage in a politically civil conversation or simply talk about the current issues at-hand.
“Open our heart to what democracy is about,” Mitrano said.
Toward the end of the event, Mitrano shared some of her clearest goals: providing universal healthcare to all residents as well as getting basic drugs onto the market at a cheaper and more affordable rate without worrying about intellectual patents.
In the closing moments, Mitrano promised that she would never raise taxes for the middle and working-class, if elected.
Although Mitrano has lofty aspirations for office, a looming national $3 trillion-dollar deficit awaits in Congress for whomever wins the 23rd district race next November.
As a result, Mitrano aims on implementing a progressive tax system which would allow for her to endow certain chunks of projects and policies, especially on the medical front.
Along the issues of funding, Mitrano candidly opened-up about finances when it comes to her own campaign contributions.
Mitrano explained that while she receives political pact money for her campaigns like last election cycle from U.S. Kirsten Gillibrand, she promises on not accepting any corporate funding.
Up until this point, Mitrano claimed that 90 percent of her funding has come directly from residents within the district.
By the end of this quarter alone, she is currently on-track and anticipates on raising $500,000.
Aside from canvassing, Mitrano sought to get the “sleepy Democrats” out to vote, believing that the 2018 midterm election race would have ended differently if every registered Democrat voted in the last contest between her and Reed.
As for Rep. Reed and the potential rumors about him running for governor against Governor Andrew Cuomo in the next statewide race, Mitrano formally commented and called it “a campaign tactic.”
Mitrano essentially compared figuratively carrying Governor Cuomo to giving-up “a five-point lead around the neck” for Rep. Reed within his predominantly conservative federal district.
She believes that this political tactic “keeps Cuomo on the ballot” ahead of 2020 when voters must consciously consider casting their choice on Election Day.
Meanwhile, Mitrano reinforced multiples times throughout the evening that Rep. Reed’s run in Congress has been a failure for himself and especially for the constituents that he represents throughout his district.
“He’s failed. Give me a shot,” Mitrano concluded.
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