Martha Robertson challenged Rep Tom Reed for his seat to represent the people of the NY23rd in Congress in the only televised debate on Thursday, October 23. Throughout the debate Rep. Reed shied away from his voting record. One issue, almost by accident brought to light the culture of his whole campaign.
An important factor of the debate is it was held in a small, cozy black box theater in the Clemens Center in Elmira, which holds between 160 and 200 patrons, depending on how the room was set up. It was important because right in the front few rows, just a few yards from the candidates, sat a group enthusiastic Reed fans, friends and family members. Their boisterous spirits were hard to ignore. The commentators had to quite them down more than once. One had a TEAM REED sign.
When it came to the time, near the end of the debate, where the candidates could ask their opponent one question, Mrs. Robertson began her question with… “Tom, it seems to be that you are a part of the war against women.” At that point “TEAM REED” erupted with laughter. Laughter. After the commentator quieted them down, he extended the amount of time Robertson had to ask her question.
Newspaper websites, local television stations, C-Span and blog sites have shown the 15 second video snippet of the Martha Robertson being interrupted by TEAM REED. That may the the only thing most NY 23rd voters remember about the debate.
TEAM REED, by their rude outburst, showed the viewing audience that they really didn’t comprehend (or they didn’t care about) problems the women of our society have to deal with. Problems that our congressman, who is suppose to represent all of us, voted to continue. They didn’t know which part of the War on Women Martha was going focus in on; TEAM REED automatically dismissed all possible Women Issues.
Mrs. Robertson continued, “You supported to continued wage discrimination by voting against women by blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act. You voted against women’s right to choose even in cases of rape and incest. You have been a bill collector and a lawyer and a Washington Politician. Please tell me what gives you the medical expertise to make these decisions for women?
Reed didn’t attempt to answer her questions except to say, “You know, when I hear this question, Martha, I just have to say, it is false. This is political rhetoric at its worst.” He then talked about his widow Mother and 8 sisters and finally came up with “I will stand for women. When people have questions on equal pay and there is a discriminatory act where someone is not paying someone because of their gender, they should go to jail. We have always fought for equal treatment under the law. It’s the right thing to do.”
Look at the question: “What gives you the medical expertise to make these decisions for women? and look at the answer. He danced around the question and told the viewing audience what he thought they wanted to hear. He said that Robertson’s statements were false and called it political rhetoric.
In Robertsons’ rebuttal, she added, “This is about your votes. He would like us to think one thing, but you voted against the Violence Against Women Act before you said you were for it. You voted to block the Paycheck Fairness Bill. You voted against the Right to Choose even in cases of Rape and Incest. You voted to support the right to take birth control away from women. You may think it is rhetoric. If you’re in favor of women, I would love to see that in your votes.”
Facts are facts, and it doesn’t matter how much Tom Reed talks the nice talk, his votes tell a different story. The New NY 23rd has been chronicling Rep. Reed’s votes for almost two years. Here are links to some of the articles we have posted on how he deals with Women Issues.
Two prominent women organizations have been tracking representatives and how they voted on issues important to the organizations. This includes Rep. Reed. See the America Association of University Women (AAUW) Political Scorecard and Planned Parenthood’s Political Scorecard. They both give him a dismal score.
New NY 23rd Articles–Robertson v Reed on Equal Pay for Women, Reed Votes to Continue War on Women, Women’s Business Roundtable Discusses Merits of a Living Wage, Reed Opposes Paycheck Fairness for Women, Reed’s “NV’ on the Violence Against Women Resolution, Rep. Reed and the Proposed Abortion Law, Rep. Reed’s Bill will AXE Family Planning Funding.
Rep. Reed has good reasons to downplay his voting record.