Politics in 2017 was another year of movement to the extreme. The shift to fully partisan politics began years ago and accelerated during the closed door sessions that created the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare). Democrats’ unwillingness to engage in open and transparent bill development disenfranchised and angered Republicans and voters.
When the balance of power shifted in the 2016 election, partisanship was in full roar. The Republicans didn’t need Democratic support to pass legislation. Without the need for compromise, legislative bill development began to look very familiar to people of New York state whose $153 billion dollar budget is built in secret behind closed doors.
This is not good government. It is not even governing. It is almost decree.
Good decisions are made when input comes from different perspectives, backgrounds, ideologies, and politics. We all listen through different filters and speak with different voices. A good decision is often one that openly weighs those voices. Sometimes the feedback is considered and acted on, sometimes it is noted but ignored.
A healthy democracy must demand a vibrant mechanism and process for this to take place. America’s democracy was created in full awareness of our imperfections and was built to give voice and influence and power in a balanced way. Today’s partisan dealings threaten that balance.
Despite this partisanship and active silencing of different voices in the legislative process, our Republican congresswoman, Rep. Elise Stefanik, has shown independence. Rep. Stefanik has shown courage on several instances to stand up to the partisanship and vote in the best interests of her constituents. To vote against her party and for her district is an act in the spirit and practice of true listening and consideration.
Her vote against the Tax Reform Act was done to protect her constituents from the onerous state and property tax burdens in New York.
“I support comprehensive tax reform that provides relief for families and businesses in our district. I voted against the tax bill when it first came before the House because it did not provide enough relief for New Yorkers,” she said a Dec. 18, 2017, news release.
According to the release, “many constituents across the district contacted my offices to share their…