Reed gets another challenge for Congressional seat, Plumb hoping to oust incumbent Republican

By Rob Montana
Tompkins Weekly

Nearing the end of his fourth term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-23rd, still wants to represent the people in his district – which includes Tompkins County – on the federal level. To do so, he will have to beat another challenger to the seat – Democratic nominee John Plumb, who hails from Jamestown.
Tompkins Weekly asked both candidates about themselves, what key issues are facing the country and the county, and how they’d work with the president if the candidate of their choice was unsuccessful on November 8. The following is what both men had to say, in their own words.

 

Photo Provided Tom Reed
Photo Provided
Tom Reed

Tom Reed
Age: 44
Party affiliation(s): I am a Republican. I have the endorsement of the Republican, Independence, Reform, and Conservative parties of New York. I am also a member of No Labels, a bipartisan group dedicated to addressing our families needs.

Tompkins Weekly: What experience do you have working in public service, whether that is by election or appointment?
Tom Reed: I was Mayor of Corning from 2008-2009. When I saw our national debt growing out of control and our country going in the wrong direction, I ran for Congress to represent this place we all call home.

TW: Why are you running for re-election to Congress?
TR: Simply put, the job isn’t done. I am fighting to take care of our families through fair, commonsense policies. We’ve had major successes like the Highway Bill – the first long term highway bill in ten years – which is helping rebuild our rural infrastructure, RAMI – Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovations Act – which is bringing jobs to our state, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative which is helping Cayuga by fighting invasive species,opioid legislation to help with enforcement, treatment and education to stop this crisis, and fighting for access to rural healthcare for our communities. There is more to do and I am ready to continue fighting for New York.

TW: What is the biggest issue you see facing the country?
TR: National security is the biggest issue facing our nation because President Obama’s strategy has failed us. My number one priority is our safety and Obama’s foreign policy strategy has endangered us. We need a strong national security strategy.

TW: What is the biggest issue you see facing your district?
TR: Jobs is the biggest issue facing our area. It’s always been about jobs – that’s why I ran for Congress and it’s one of the reasons I’m seeking reelection. We’ve been successful in bringing some jobs home through RAMI and the investment tax credit which will create alternative energy jobs, but I want to do more.

TW: What would you do to work with the president if Hillary Clinton is elected?
TR: We need to create policies that help families here in New York, that isn’t a partisan issue. I know we can all agree the tax code is broken. I firmly believe this is just one issue we all agree on which we can address.

TW: What is one good quality that your opponent possesses?
TR: My opponent’s military service is something I truly respect. My father was a career Army officer and he taught me to respect every individual who puts their life on the line for our nation.

 

Photo Provided John Plumb
Photo Provided
John Plumb

John Plumb
Age: 46
Party affiliation(s): Democratic & Working Families

Tompkins Weekly: What experience do you have working in public service, whether that is by election or appointment?
John Plumb: I’ve served the country my entire life. I’ve been a submarine officer in the United States Navy for 22 years and counting. I serve today as a Captain in the Navy Reserve and the Commanding Officer of a unit that trains and prepares for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations. I’ve served in the Pentagon and been detailed to the National Security Council, focused on defending the United States and our allies from ballistic missile and nuclear attacks. Throughout my career serving our country, I’ve been honored to receive a number of military and civilian public service awards, including: the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, the Arctic Service Ribbon, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service award, the Department of State Superior Honor Award, and the Secretary of Energy Achievement Award.

TW: Why are you running for election to Congress?
JP: Our Congress is broken – and it is time we fixed it. Congressman Reed has spent six years in Washington rigging the system against us for the special interests that fund his campaign. I’m running for Congress because we need a new representative who will put service to our working families first and be a champion for our rural communities.
TW: What is the biggest issue you see facing the country?
JP: Increasingly partisan politics is the biggest issues facing our nation. It’s dividing the country and eroding our faith in government. Too many of our politicians spend their time pointing fingers and protecting the special interests funding their campaign – and it’s hurting all of us. I’m fighting to do things differently and put service to our communities and people first. Growing up in a small town here and throughout my 22 years as a submarine officer, I have learned that it doesn’t matter who is a Republican or who is a Democrat. When there is a problem, good people work together and fix it.

TW: What is the biggest issue you see facing your district?
JP: The biggest issue here in the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes is jobs. Our rural communities have been left behind by Washington and the economy. We need to protect the jobs we still have and build the conditions to create new ones. I’ve outlined six priorities for growing our rural economies: Fight bad trade deals, promote renewable energy and upgrade our infrastructure, create the conditions for entrepreneurs to succeed, tackle student debt, promote true high-speed internet for rural communities, get spending under control. My full plan is available at www.johnplumbforcongress.com.
TW: What would you do to work with the president if Donald Trump is elected?
JP: The results on election day won’t automatically fix anything, and I will be dedicated to working with elected officials at all levels and across the aisle to champion our rural communities. While I think Donald Trump is wholly unfit to lead our troops and our country, we both want to fight against damaging trade deals like the TPP, and extend the lobbying ban on former Members of Congress after they leave office from one year to five years.
TW: What is one good quality that your opponent possesses?
JP: Our Congressional district is geographically very large – bigger than the State of Connecticut. Campaigning in our district requires an incredible time commitment, which means time away from family. I respect Congressman Reed for that.