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Citizen Action Urges Tenney to "Declare Independence" From GOP and Save Health Care

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Citizen Action gathered outside of Congresswoman Claudia Tenney's Downtown Binghamton office on Court Street and then marched to the First Congressional Church in an effort to urge her to vote no on a healthcare repeal.

"The Senate did nothing helpful for repeal and replace, they haven't supported our desire to provide health care for all Americans, and so today is our continuing conversation about how to get healthcare for every single American," said Susan Walker, Vestal Democratic Committee Member.

The date for the protest was selected because health care was expected to be voted on before the Senate's July 4 break. The bill never made it to a vote, but the group still wanted to continue the fight.

"We've been trying to get out once or twice a week to make the point that Americans deserve many things like healthcare," said Walker.

In addition to marching for healthcare, the group gathered at the church to hear from Assemblyman and Democratic Congressional Candidate (22nd District), Anthony Brindisi, just hours after he announced his campaign in front of the Broome County Courthouse.

"We deserve a representative who will show up as Anthony Brindisi is doing, while Representative Tenney has denied our million requests to come out and talk with us," said Walker.

Even though he just kicked off his campaign, many of those in attendance felt it was a positive first step and a refreshing change from the current administration.

"It means we count. It means, he's going to be present. It means that we're going to know how to find him," said Walker. "You don't get to hide in a tower when you take a public office. You need to represent the people."

But not everyone agreed, including Political Commentator Michael Vasquez who addressed some concerns about Brindisi's platform and decision to speak to Citizen Action.

First, he spoke about the Griffiss International Airport in Rome, which Vasquez says created a much lower number of jobs than Brindisi promised back in 2013-14. 

"I would like to see some accountability and ask, why did the taxpayers pay for that?" asked Vasquez. "If you're elected, how are you going to spend our money?"

He also mentioned Brindisi's stances on the Second Amendment and health care.

"Mr. Brindisi needs to make sure he has clear context and clear answers to longstanding questions about his record and where he really stands and who he really represents," said Vasquez.

Is he representing the extremists of Citizen Action throughout the Southern Tier and the New York 22nd District or is he representing the people, which in the New York 22nd District is predominantly Republican.

— Michael Vasquez