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NY21 candidate Elise Stefanik talks Adirondack policy with review board

Congressional candidate Elise Stefanik discussed policy issues facing the Adirondack Park, including invasive species legislation, FEMA funding and energy credits, with members of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board at their monthly meeting on July 30.

Congressional candidate Elise Stefanik discussed policy issues facing the Adirondack Park, including invasive species legislation, FEMA funding and energy credits, with members of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board at their monthly meeting on July 30. Photo by Pete DeMola.

KEENE VALLEY — Congressional candidate Elise Stefanik demonstrated her Adirondack policy chops at the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board’s monthly meeting at the Ausable Inn on Wednesday, July 30.

Underpinning the discussion with regional leaders, including those from Warren, Essex and Hamilton counties, was the undercurrent that continually underscores policy discussions within the Adirondack Park: How to navigate economic development while ensuring preservation.

“Adirondack issues are not partisan issues,” Stefanik said. “They’re issues that require work across party lines and multiple layers of government.”

The former White House aide said it was crucial to listen to local officials about the issues facing them and opening up a dialogue that would continue if elected to succeed outgoing Congressman Bill Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh who is retiring after two terms in office.

Stefanik said she realized the importance of the timber industry through her work with Premium Plywood Products, her family’s Guilderland-based business. But she also called for a balance. “Our biggest asset is our natural resources — our clean water.”

The candidate said invasive species have a deep impact on the region, including property values.

“This has a significant impact on overall economic state of play,” she said.

Stefanik, 30, said she would work with New York’s junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, to increase federal funding and legislation to combat the spread of invasives and streamline the process for protecting endangered species.

Gillibrand had appeared in Lake Placid earlier that week to discuss the federal legislation designed to combat what’s shaping up to be one of the Adirondack Park’s most pressing issues.

Earlier, APLGRB Executive Director Fred Monroe expressed dismay at the outdated statutes and asked his colleagues to consider supporting Gillibrand’s Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act bill, which would streamline the listings process and strengthen enforcement, among other proposals.

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