Peoples Column

Debate shuts out

public discourse


Many of your readers may be looking forward to participating in a League of Women Voters-sponsored debate between Congressman Tom Reed and his opponent, Tracy Mitrano, in Chautauqua County. I’m sorry to say that there will be no such debate. Instead, as in 2012 and 2014, the two candidates will respond to pre-submitted questions from the editors of the OBSERVER and The Post-Journal. The exchange of views will take place in the offices of The Post-Journal on October 24 and, if precedent holds, it is not open to the public.

The Chautauqua County League of Women Voters regrets this situation. We have been in touch with the Reed campaign since January and with the Mitrano campaign since the Democratic primary. Mitrano’s people quickly responded to our invitation and reserved several possible Mayville or Jamestown debate dates at our request. However, Reed’s campaign manager put us off time after time, never returned our calls, and let us understand by default that there would be no debate of the kind we have always sponsored, a debate in which the questions come from the audience. Then on September 17, the manager suddenly e-mailed inviting us to co-sponsor a debate in Olean with questions to be supplied by the Olean newspaper.

Olean is not in our county and not a convenient location for many of our citizens, and a live audience that cannot ask its own questions does not meet our requirements for public participation.

Unlike some of his peers, Reed has held many a town meeting in his district where citizens could ask him questions. We applaud him for that, and for his talks to Chambers of Commerce. However, we believe that the debate we sponsored in Mayville in 2016 was well-received on all sides, and are sorry it will not be renewed this year.



Challenger has

concern for people


I have noticed such a contrast between our incumbent Congressman here in New York’s 23rd district, Tom Reed, and his challenger in the Nov. 6 midterms, Tracy Mitrano. Recently, for example, Reed visited the Olean Food Pantry and posed for pictures. But instead of meeting with his constituents, he attended campaign fundraisers with his corporate donors and other pro-President Donald Trump legislators and then quickly headed back to D.C.

Compare that with recent photos of Tracy Mitrano: She was in Lodi, meeting with residents who lost their homes in the recent floods. At a community barbecue and meeting with a business association. Every day of the week, somewhere in our district, you can meet Tracy. You can ask her about her support for single-payer health care or get details on her plan to improve our economy and infrastructure.

Meanwhile our incumbent supports policies that create onerous regulations for SNAP (food-stamp) benefits, tariffs that cripple the ability of our district’s farmers to manage their markets, stagnant economic growth for working families, and out-of-control health care costs.

Ask yourself: Which candidate has their sleeves rolled up, and which one is phoning it in? I’m volunteering for Tracy Mitrano because actions speak louder than words.

I encourage readers to consider Democrat Tracy Mitrano for their vote Nov. 6. Tracy is a Western New York native, cyber-security expert, teacher, and mother. Her website is www.tracymitranoforcongress.com, and her Facebook page is Tracy Mitrano for Congress.



Global warming

is already here


Global warming is not like the tooth fairy. It exists whether you believe in it or not. It’s time to stop arguing and switch to protecting our food supply. Everything we — the environmentalists — said was going to happen is happening. There are more wildfires, more devastating storms, more flooding and more drought.

Anyone over 40 has experienced our old winters. Do you remember how cold it was in January? Do you remember the week of sunny days when the snow was a landscape of diamonds, the starry nights so cold the trees crackled in the wind?

Last year we had a string of above freezing nights and days in January. I watched the fruit buds anxiously, hoping they would stay tightly furled until there is no danger of frost. The cherry crop was good this year but it has failed at least twice in the last decade.

Next time you’re in a grocery store look at the label on the produce. A lot of it is coming from California and Mexico. The desert is growing around these places. Our prediction is that in the next few decades the desert will completely take over those fertile fields.

We live next to one of the largest fresh water systems in the world, the Great Lakes. Our droughts will not be as long as or as devastating as those experienced in Arizona and Oklahoma but plants will still be challenged.

Tom Reed doesn’t believe in Global Warming. He can’t help us prepare for something he doesn’t believe in. Tracy Mitrano has practical plans for the future. Get off the fence and get involved. Vote for Tracy.