Tracy Mitrano accused Tom Reed, the Republican incumbent for the 23rd Congressional district, of lying about her campaign in a political ad.

 “I want to say how sad and unfortunate it is that a ten-year incumbent member of Congress appears to have nothing to run on but lies about me and my campaign,” Mitrano said during her weekly media call Thursday.

Mitrano, the Democratic challenger for the district, which includes the Greater Olean area, was responding to Reed’s allegation that a field organizer for Mitrano’s 2018 campaign, who had been identified on Snapchat making “obscene statements” about elected officials and law enforcement, remained connected with Mitrano in her second bid for election.

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Mitrano recalled telling her campaign manager at the time that the field organizer, a Cornell University graduate, "has thirty seconds to resign, or she is fired.” Her manager handled the situation, and Mitrano has not seen the individual since then.

“I couldn’t get her off my team fast enough,” Mitrano said.

During the media call, Mitrano also responded to additional allegations made by Reed: that she supports police defunding, that she has not criticized violent protests in Rochester, and that she fully supports bail reform.

“Let me make it clear,” Mitrano said. “I am not for defunding police.” And she noted that no record of her saying anything like that exists.

Mitrano added that violence and vandalism have no place in a peaceful, lawful protests, which she has said  repeatedly.

Mitrano said she does support bail reform in some way, such as making sure people are not being held in  jail just because they don’t have enough money, but she does not support how quickly Gov. Andrew Cuomo put bail reform into place. 

Lastly, Mitrano gave her opinion on how the 23rd congressional district is faring with COVID-19. She stated the pandemic has hit more rural areas and that COVID-19 has exposed the need for affordable healthcare and for broadband in the district.

“I am seeing people very, very afraid — particularly those in Chemung and Steuben Counties,” Mitrano said.

And, she pointed to the recent climbing case numbers in Cattaraugus County, sharing a grim prediction that COVID-19 might fatally impact persons who have untreated pre-existing conditions.

“When they get this virus, because of the nature of the virus, it’s a death sentence,” Mitrano said.

Mitrano said the 23rd district needs to prepare for statistic that will get worse before they get better, and she announced a “COVID-correct” whistle-stop tour with Saturday stops at 11 a.m. in Penn Yann and at 2 p.m. in Geneva and Sunday stops at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Ithaca.

“Everything we do is going to be carefully monitored according to the rules,” Mitrano said.

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