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Aug. 6—Congresswoman Claudia Tenney was in Lockport to meet and greet potential voters as well as listen to the concerns of former Delphi workers who had just seen a bill to restore their pensions successfully pass the House of Representatives.
Tenney, who is running for the 24th Congressional District, spoke to a crowd of approximately 50 in the Taylor Building of the Kenan Center on Friday. She started off by introducing herself and discussing her background as a small business owner, a lawyer and the single parent of a Marine. She also noted farming is in her family's background.
Currently the representative of the 22nd District, Tenney would represent one of the largest congressional districts in New York's history if she wins the Aug. 23 primary and beats any candidates who rises up for November's election. The change to the size and shape of the congressional districts came after the redrawing earlier this year, which placed the eastern part of Niagara County in the same district as Oswego, upper Finger Lakes region and Watertown.
The 24th almost takes up the entire coastline of Lake Ontario, but for a piece that the Rochester-centered 25th Congressional District controls, as well as the 26th Congressional District that covers the western half of Niagara County and also borders both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.
Tenney told audience members, many of whom were former employees of Delphi, that she would use any amount of influence that she has to turn U.S. senators toward voting in favor. She talked about the process of advocacy, as well as her record on transparency and information spreading, which she said was absent in the vote to right the wrong of Delphi pensioners.
"It seems there wasn't a lot of information," she said. "If more people knew, I think you'd have more support."
Still, the bill was passed in the House of Representatives in a 245-175 vote. Tenney said it was now up to the Senate to "reimburse" those affected by the 2009 termination of their pension plan.
"We need to make sure we've got it in the Senate," she said, also noting that this was not a subsidy or spending bill, but a repayment for a group of wronged employees.
During the back and forth, a few workers spoke to ask what they could do. Also, there were the families whose loved ones had passed away even as they were stripped of their health insurance.
"That's a phenomenal story," Tenney said to one widow after a round of applause burst throughout the room, and indicated that with compelling stories like that could change the votes of senators.
Tenney said that the importance of calling a representative in Congress or at the state and local levels does "a lot".
"It depends on the member," she said. "But voicing your concern to a representative does a lot."