Former Rep. Claudia Tenney, who represented New York’s 22nd Congressional District in the 115th Congress, spoke to The Daily Signal at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week. Tenney narrowly lost re-election to Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., last November. An edited transcript of the interview is below.
Rob Bluey: Looking back on your time in Congress with President Donald Trump in the White House, what stands out most to you?
Claudia Tenney: History will prove the 115th Congress was one of the most successful Congresses in many decades. The president drove through a very strong agenda, and we delivered on nearly all of the Trump agenda except for a few items.
In the House, sadly, we couldn’t get all those things through the Senate, but I think it was very successful when you look at tax reform. I was the only freshman member of the House Financial Services Committee to have two of my bills added to the Senate’s partial repeal of Dodd-Frank, protecting our community institutions, community banks, community credit unions, small institutions, and small businesses.
A number of initiatives—whether it was on opioid funding, protecting our small business community, the tax cuts—there’s so many things that we did for the 22nd District. We secured record funding for the Air Force Research Lab [in Rome, New York], which is a really important institution, including a $14 million allocation for the perimeter fence that was mandated by the secretary of the Air Force 10 years ago.
It was a very successful year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t outmatch my opponent’s super PACs. We did pretty well with fundraising, but they had a lot of money, a lot of resources, and they had the energy. The socialists were out in full force, even in our community.
Unfortunately, a lot of people weren’t paying attention. I got more votes in 2016 than my opponent got in 2018. We had a harder time with turnout. And I think Republicans should be looking at 2020 as a dire wake-up call as to what they let happen in 2018 and how we lost the House and who is taking over.
Bluey: You mentioned some of the accomplishments. What stands out in your mind during your service in Congress that you’re most proud of?
Tenney: Tax reform in my district was really important. It helped our small business community. They produce almost 70 percent of the new jobs or more, especially in our area. I visited over 100 businesses, heard from many more, did numerous business roundtables, and the No. 1 thing they were praising was the tax reform.
Our citizens have been victims of Albany’s tax-and-spend regime. That’s really chased record numbers of people and businesses out of New York, especially in New York’s 22nd District. Some of the most dramatic declines are in the Utica, Rome, and Binghamton area, and everything in between. We did provide funding to restore some of that, but standing up for our defense installations, like Rome Lab, was really important.
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