Tracy Mitrano said she believes Rep. Tom Reed’s unwillingness to meet with her for debates this year and during the 2018 election cycle is a disservice to the 23rd congressional district. 

During her weekly Thursday media call, Mitrano, the Democratic challenger for the district, which includes the Greater Olean area, said Reed’s campaign denied her campaign’s offer of debates in each of the five media markets in the district and surrounding areas: Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira-Corning, Rochester and Syracuse.

Debates help voters understand what a campaign represents and each candidate’s stance on various issues, Mitrano said. 

Sign Up for Greater Olean Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

“It’s time that people had a chance all around this district to see him,” Mitrano added. 

According to Mitrano, in 2018, her campaign received eight non-partisan invitations to debate. However, Reed, the Republican incumbent, only accepted invitations to what she termed "2 1/2" debates. One took place in Corning; one, in Olean. And the "half-debate" occurred in the editorial offices of The Post-Journal in Jamestown, where a technological issue kept the recording from going online.

Mitrano said the trend of fewer debates by Reed’s campaign has continued this year. Meanwhile, her campaign has accepted debates in Elmira and Corning thus far. 

And she criticized Reed for neglecting the eastern portion of the 23rd district, noting he "never" visits Ithaca, Seneca Falls or Owego for debates. 

“This indignation and self-righteousness about just getting out in front of the public reveals how Tom Reed blurs the line between being a congressional candidate and being a congressman,” Mitrano said.

The candidate also said she disagrees with Reed’s May 15 vote against the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which provides relief to the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mitrano said his denial to support the HEROES but to vote for a stimulus bill makes him inauthentic in his representation of the people of the 23rd district. 

“Politics is a matter of life and death,” Mitrano said. “It is not advertising, and it is not entertainment, but Tom Reed doesn’t seem to know that and that is why he’s going to lose on Nov. 3.”

Mitrano spoke about also stated her position on the opioid crisis, saying she supports “clear language” surrounding opioids, via tracking prescriptions, treating addiction and using technology at U.S. borders to prohibit drugs from coming into the country. 

Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox. 

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.