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2017-12-05 / News

GOP is Dismantling Country, Dem Congressional Candidate Says

By Lillian Browne


Democratic candidate for New York’s 19th congressional district, Jeff Beals, visited Franklin last week and answered questions about his platform. 
Lillian Browne/The Reporter Democratic candidate for New York’s 19th congressional district, Jeff Beals, visited Franklin last week and answered questions about his platform. Lillian Browne/The Reporter FRANKLIN - Hoping to unseat freshman Republican Congressman John Faso, Democratic contender Jeff Beals, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer and foreign diplomat, visited Franklin on Nov. 28 to elicit Delaware County voter support at the invitation of Meredith resident Joan Turbidy.

Beals’ message, Turbidy said, reaches across party lines.

Approximately 40 people attended the event held at Rich Farmhouse in Franklin to quiz Beals on his motivation, alliances and platform.

“We are blessed and cursed,” he said of the recent general election which positioned the GOP as House majority in which Republican John Faso won the seat over Democratic Contender Zephyr Teachout for the 19th Congressional District. The curse lies in the fact that Faso does not represent the values of voters and, who Beals said, is working to dismantle the country.


Jeff Beals loosely outlined plans for tax, agriculture and health care reform at an informal gathering in Delaware County last week. 
Lillian Browne/The Reporter Jeff Beals loosely outlined plans for tax, agriculture and health care reform at an informal gathering in Delaware County last week. Lillian Browne/The Reporter “We are blessed,” he continued, “because this is a swing district and we can make a difference. The whole country is watching what’s going to happen here.”

In working for the government during the Clinton era, he learned that the Middle East is a place where democracy is most needed. However, he said, “Democracy is not something we should be fighting for overseas. We need to be fighting for it here.”

Though the country’s democracy is in danger, Beals said, it can be saved by lessening the grip of corporate power and greed on government officials. Giant corporations, he said, are dominating the country’s politics. As an example of that, he referred to Dave Holley, a dairy farmer in Walton, who will not be passing his farm to the next generation. Holley can barely make ends meet, though people are paying top dollar for dairy products, Beals said.

Dairy Farmers of America, a corporation created to help farmers, has fallen under the influence of giant agri-businesses and now smaller dairy farmers, like Holley, no longer get a return on their investment.

He cited a second example of the Culinary Institute of American, in the Hudson Valley, firing 17 unionized workers consisting of ground crews, laborers and painters in order to save $800,000 in its annual budget, while paying out over $5 million in executive compensation. “Those peoples’ lives were shattered because of corporate greed,” said Beals.

He further cited the need for health care reform, stating the health care industry is profiting from illness. “We need to offer big, bold solutions like universal health care,” he said. Likewise, he said, the price gouging on prescription drugs must be stopped.

Jobs, he said, could easily be created by investing in “green jobs” in solar and wind energy infrastructure. The industry, he said, needs help. “People can’t afford to be virtuous,” he said of the expense associated with green energy infrastructure, like solar capturing and conversion equipment. A remedy, he said, is for energy companies to “float the investment” as part of a customer’s bill, so customers can affordably pay the equipment off over time.

In response to criticism of the CIA, Beals assured residents that he never participated in covert actions during his employ with the agency. While he was stationed in Iraq, he said, he spoke out against the insurgency. “I was never part of the darkest days of the agency,” he said.

Instead, he said, the number-one national security threat is climate change. The current conflict in Syria is driven by climate change, he said, and anyone fighting to combat climate change is fighting to make America safer and stronger.

To strengthen the viability and economic sustainability of rural communities, such as those in Delaware County, he said, “We need to invest in our communities under the premise the economy is helped when working people are helped.”

Small businesses can be assisted through reform to tax codes and by incentivizing large corporations to invest profits domestically rather than overseas where they are not taxed.

“We need to get a hold of our tax code and we need to get control of big box stores that are bankrupting our small businesses,” he said.

Giant corporations, he said, only contribute about 10 percent to federal revenue. Beals was quick to call out Walmart as an offending large corporation, but just as quickly said it was not a rally call for a boycott. “People are strapped for cash. You can’t base your whole strategy on human virtue and have everyone getting in the picket line,” he said. “People who shop in Walmart should not be shamed. They are not committing a crime.”

If elected, Beals said, he would like to be assigned to the Agricultural, Foreign Policy and Financial Oversight Committees in the House of Representatives.

“I want to be one of the only un-bribed Congressman,” he said.

The 19th Congressional District is comprised of Ulster, Greene, Columbia, Sullivan, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego counties and portions of Dutchess, Rensselaer Montgomery and Broome counties.

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