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Election heats up Tonko's forum

Jobs, economy and super PACs among concerns; Dieterich disputes incumbent's claims

Rep. Paul Tonko addresses local residents at his Town Hall Meeting on Monday, Aug. 6, at Lincoln Elementary School in Scotia.

Rep. Paul Tonko addresses local residents at his Town Hall Meeting on Monday, Aug. 6, at Lincoln Elementary School in Scotia. Photo by John Purcell.

— Tonko said he would not dignify Depew’s remarks with a response, but he said he’s a good representative because he works overtime, doesn’t have another job and has taken many initiatives on community projects.

“I see myself as a marketing agent for the community that I represent,” Tonko said.

He also pointed to his background as an engineer and said it is important to have a wide variety of professions and experiences represented in congress. He also said “some banking industry types” lead the country into an economic crisis. Dietrich is a banker.

“I’m not saying my opponent did,” Tonko added.

Scorecard links

U.S. Chamber of Commerce — How They Voted, 2011: 1st Session of the 112th Congress (House)

National Federation of Independent Business — How Congress Voted: 112th Congress Interim Report

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council — Small Business Scorecard for the 111th Congress

Disputing Tonko’s claims he’s worked to create a business-friendly environment and spur economic growth, Dieterich’s campaign pointed to the National Federation of Independent Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council consistently ranking Tonko poorly on voting records for the groups’ respective legislative priorities.

“Paul Tonko’s votes in the House of Representatives have not helped our struggling families or our small businesses which are the real job creators in this country,” Dieterich said in a statement. “We need to repeal and replace Paul Tonko with a pro-business, pro-growth, solutions-driven congressman and I am confident that the people of this district will agree on Election Day.”

Tonko criticized those scorecards and ranking systems, saying they are not representative of the small businesses he wants to work for.

“If you want these lobbying groups out of Washington to take a scorecard and six or eight bills that are about drilling … and repealing health care without replacement … I think the more meaningful measure is coming right from the people I represent,” Tonko said.

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