HORNELL – Congressional Candidate John Plumb (D-Lakewood) is once again criticizing his opponent, incumbent Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23), this time for taking credit for jobs supported by federal dollars that he voted against.
Plumb is referring to 400 new jobs that were recently announced in Hornell, located in the 23rd Congressional District. The city is the home to Alstom, a company that has just finalized a $2.5 billion contract to build high-speed rail cars for Amtrak. In addition to 400 jobs at Alstom, another 350 jobs will be spread across the region.
Reed spoke with the media on Monday calling the recent news an “exciting day” for the Southern Tier that will pay off for generations. But Plumb says Reed should have instead acknowledged his lack of support for the contract, and then apologized for voting several times to cut millions of dollars in Amtrak funding which was used to help make the Alstom contract possible.
To back up his claim, Plumb provided three different instances when he says Reed voted to cut funding for Amtrak:
- In June 2015, Reed voted for a Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill that cut $242 million from Amtrak.
- Reed voted for FY2015 Republican budget that eliminated Amtrak support.
- Congress Reed voted against an amendment to authorize $750 million in funding for an automated train control system for Amtrak.
“Congressman Reed is shamelessly taking credit for jobs he voted against,” Plumb said in a media release sent out by his campaign. “We need a new representative that will put politics aside, and prioritize the need to protect the jobs we have and create new ones throughout the Southern Tier and Western New York.”
An initial story from the Finger Lakes Daily News said that Reed was not able to immediately respond to the comments brought forward by Plumb.
“After be confronted with his record of voting to leave our district behind – all he can do is duck and cover,” Plumb said in response to the Daily News story, adding, “That’s not the cloth I was cut from.”
According to Plumb, when the Alstom contract to help build Amtrak’s next fleet of high-speed trains was announced in September 2015, Congressman Reed was specifically asked not to attend the announcement event. Senator Chuck Schumer was also quoted as saying, “We have to tell people who vote to cut Amtrak that it’s against our interest here in the Southern Tier.”
REED POINTS TO MANUFACTURING SUPPORT EFFORTS
While congressman Reed did not immediately respond to Plumb’s statement regarding Amtrak, he recently stated that he’s done several things to help promote manufacturing and bring new jobs to the 23rd District.
“We’re looking for strong policy that’s going to advance American manufacturing,” Reed said during his July 25 conference call with regional media. “That’s why we’ve done things like Revitalizing American Manufacturing Innovation Act (RAMI) on a bipartisan basis… which led to a $625 million investment here in upstate New York region, to provide the advanced manufacturing opportunities of tomorrow right here in our backyard.”
In addition to RAMI, Reed also points to this week’s manufacturing summit he hosted, which took place Tuesday in Corning to give local manufacturers an opportunity to learn about what programs are available to them and share ideas so they can grow and create the jobs that the area’s workforce deserves.
Reed said other examples of policy that support manufacturing include working on various tariff bills as well as improving the tax code and adding permanent provisions that Reed said manufacturers can rely on to help grow their business opportunities, “rather than playing the wait-and-see game that DC politics has so often led to with those temporary extensions in the tax code.”
Also on Thursday Reed was in the district and visited Southerntier Custom Fabricators in Elmira. His campaign says he was there to listen and discuss additional ways to help regional manufacturers invest in themselves, as well as work to stop the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.
“We need to make sure our manufacturers have the tools to succeed,” said Reed. “Stopping the TransPacific Partnership is one of the many things we must do to keep manufacturing jobs around for generations to come.”
“TPP is a deal that harms our workers and our families. We need more people to oppose this deal like Tom Reed,” said Don Kraft Sr., Steel Metal Workers Union 112, in a media release sent out by the Tom Reed for Congress campaign.
“Tom is fighting for jobs and our future while DC John Plumb fights for Washington,” said Amy Hasenberg, Tom Reed for Congress Spokeswomen. “Tom Reed puts New York jobs first – he always has and always will.”
Plumb, however, has also gone on record as opposing TPP, as well as the other free trade agreements that Reed himself has supported, including FTAs with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Reed’s campaign has said he’s supported those deals because of the additional business opportunities they’ve provided for farmers in the district.