May 29, 2018 Articles, Press

Tedra Cobb wants to be representative who listens

Cobb said, if elected, she would cast votes with a mind to what is best for the district and not party leaders in Washington. ‘The leadership doesn’t vote for you. Your constituents vote for you,’ she said.”

Michael Goot
The Post-Star
May 29, 2018

GLENS FALLS — Tedra Cobb does not like it when elected officials turn their backs on her.

Cobb, running for the Democratic nomination in the NY-21 Congressional District, said when she was a 22-year-old student at SUNY Potsdam, she was active in fighting against an incinerator plant that was being proposed for St. Lawrence County.

Cobb was among a group of 150 people opposed to the trash plant, waiting outside on the lawn for the county legislature’s decision. A legislator on the opposite side of the issue came out following the vote and turned his back on the crowd.

That legislator’s action, which followed the successful effort to stop the incinerator, made Cobb think two things — one about that legislator, the other about her future:

“You don’t deserve to be there, and I’m going to run for office. And I did. Ten years later, I ran for county legislature,” she said Tuesday during an hour-long meeting with The Post-Star editorial board.

Cobb, who lives in Canton, served two terms in the St. Lawrence County Legislature from 2002 through 2010. She worked on issues such as developing an ethics policy for the board and adopting a project labor agreement to build the new St. Lawrence County Jail.

“You have to work with other people to get things accomplished in local government,” she said. “To me, it’s all about problem-solving.”

Now, Cobb said she wants to run for Congress because she believes U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, has turned her back on her constituents by being inaccessible.

“She will not hold a regular town hall. She phones it in,” she said.

Cobb said she and others have sent letters and they receive back form notes.

Cobb, 50, promised to be more accessible. She said that, if elected, she would be able to translate her grassroots volunteers into teams of experts who could serve as an advisory board throughout the region.

Her background is in coalition-building and community organizing, Cobb said, and she pointed to her time as executive director of the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative from 1999 to 2003. She oversaw the development of the program from an initial start-up grant of $19,000 to an organization with an annual budget of more than $500,000 and eight full-time staffers.

Cobb said, if elected, she would cast votes with a mind to what is best for the district and not party leaders in Washington.

“The leadership doesn’t vote for you. Your constituents vote for you,” she said.

Washington, D.C. has become dysfunctional and partisan, she said. While one person alone will not change the culture, she hopes like-minded people will be joining her.

She is running against Stefanik and not Trump, Cobb said. People may be distracted by the president’s latest tweets when they should be paying attention to more important issues, like environmental regulations being undone and tax changes that favor the wealthy.

While members of congress are not economic developers, they can facilitate business and help those involved in economic development at the state and local levels.

On gun control, Cobb favors universal background checks and bans on bump stocks.

She also favors term limits. She would like to see legislation to curb the effects of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and reduce the influence of money in politics. The revolving door of jobs between lobbying groups and Congress has to stop, she said.

Cobb also believes the U.S. has to bring back diplomacy and listen to its allies.

“I feel our standing in the world is at risk,” she said.

Also running in the June 26 Democratic primary are Emily Martz of Saranac Lake; Patrick Nelson of Stillwater; Dylan Ratigan of Lake Placid; and Katie Wilson of Keene.

Green Party candidate Lynn Kahn of Schroon Lake is also running.

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