Opinion

Zephyr Teachout’s independent voice is needed in Congress

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Being referred to as "a pain in the ass” to your party’s presidential nominee in a Wikileaks email during this unhinged election cycle would put most Democratic candidates in a difficult spot. But Zephyr Teachout has turned that label on its head, establishing herself as an independent voice in the mold of Bernie Sanders in an intense race for Congress in New York’s 19th District.

On jobs and helping small businesses Teachout has laid out sensible ideas from cutting unnecessary regulations, to pressuring big banks to loan money to mom-and-pop businesses.  Teachout’s holistic approach to governing is also appealing, as she hopes to strike a balance of being sensitive to the concerns of her district - throughout the campaign, she has demonstrated a firm grasp of local issues, debunking the “carpetbagger” label she had been tagged with - while also outlining a somewhat utopian vision for how Congress, and the country, could operate more efficiently and honorably.

When it comes to addressing the seemingly perpetual cycle of corruption in government Teachout makes a passionate argument for mitigating the flood of money that dominates the political process. She has been an outspoken and clear advocate for taking actions to address the impacts of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision as well as an unapologetic advocate for public financing of campaigns and tougher restrictions on the revolving door of government employees becoming lobbyists.

Teachout’s opponent, John Faso is in many ways an articulate exponent of the status quo. He is thoughtful and balanced in his approach to governing and represents many of the traditional Republican positions on key issues - he wantsto simplify the tax code, grow small business investment and address the soaring national debt.

Faso, a former state Assembly member, clearly knows the district well and has a firm grasp of the specific concerns of many residents, He has been particularly focused on the impact that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has had on small community banks, an issue on which he and Teachout are more or less in lockstep.

But a larger vision of how to achieve the change needed in Washington D.C. doesn't appear to be a part of Faso’s political DNA. If elected, it seems likely he would fall into line with the partisan atmosphere, and as a former lobbyist, do little to curb the influence of special interests in Congress.

Teachout’s larger good government agenda may well fall on deaf ears in the highly polarized House of Representatives, but we were left confident it won’t be for a lack of trying. Bernie Sanders has carved a long Congressional career out of being a thorn in the side of both parties, and we are hopeful that Teachout will emulate this philosophy.

We encourage voters in this battleground district to send Zephyr Teachout, an independent progressive thinker, to Congress.

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