Submit Your Questions Now For NY21 Debate: Stefanik, Kahn & Cobb

The campaigns of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Tedra Cobb, and Lynn Kahn, have all accepted an invitation for a debate from Mountain Lake PBS.

The three candidates for Congress in New York’s 21 District will discuss the issues face-to-face on Tuesday, October 23 during a debate in the studios of Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh, New York.

You can watch a live stream of the taping of the debate at 2 PM online at, and on Facebook.

The 60-minute debate will be available online at, and will broadcast on Mountain Lake PBS on:

  • Wednesday, Oct 24 at 7 PM
  • Friday, Oct 26 at 8 PM
  • Saturday, Oct 27 at 7 PM
  • Sunday, Oct 28 at 10 AM

The debate will include questions from moderator Thom Hallock, host of Mountain Lake Journal, a panel of newspaper and television journalists covering the NY21 campaign, and from viewers.

Mountain Lake PBS has a long tradition of promoting civic engagement through debates and public forums.

There will be no studio audience for the taping of the debate on Tuesday afternoon, but you can watch a live stream of the taping of the debate at 2 PM online at, and on Facebook. The public is encouraged to share their suggestions for questions in the comments below, on Facebook, or using the hashtag #NY21MLPBS



We want to hear from you about what we should ask the three candidates running for Congress in NY 21. Incumbent Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is facing a challenge from Democratic candidate Tedra Cobb, and Green Party candidate Lynn Kahn.   You can share your questions for the candidates for our Mountain Lake PBS debate in the comments below and on social media:

  • Join the discussion on the Facebook
  • Use #NY21MLPBS on Twitter



About Mountain Lake PBS
Mountain Lake PBS serves nearly 4 million people in New York, Vermont, Quebec and Ontario with acclaimed PBS series and award-winning local productions. The Station also provides a host of education and outreach services for learners of all ages, including at least eight hours a day of programming for children.

Mountain Lake PBS’ mission is to inspire and enrich people and communities through meaningful entertainment, education and public engagement.




  1. I would like each candidate first to answer, ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’ on whether they think all Americans deserve comprehensive health care coverage–including no cost penalty for pre-existing conditions–regardless of their personal income. I would also like to know if they think it is acceptable for any American to have to file for bankruptcy as a result of medical bills. How does each of the candidates plan to improve quality and affordability of health care coverage, particularly in light of Rep. Stefanik’s AHCA vote to eliminate health care coverage for 64,000 people in our 21st Congressional District.

    1. I second this question. I’m 30 years old and uninsured, thankfully the NY Cancer Screening Program is going to fund my mammogram and ultrasound. My husband and I would like to have insurance one day…

    2. I also would like to have an answer to this question. I’ve worked all my life and am now seriously underemployed and without insurance, which I can no longer afford.

    3. I would also like this question—-and I especially want the “yes/no” concerning whether all Americans deserve comprehensive coverage. All three of my adult children have been without coverage either now (one has never had coverage as an adult) or at a critical time when they needed it. Medical bills have contributed to credit problems that continue to haunt them, leading to higher costs for car loans, etc.

  2. What does transparency mean to you? Because when I call the Congresswoman’s office rarely do they know her position, even minutes before a vote. She brags about posting her schedule on her website, but it’s always after the events take place so we don’t actually know until after the fact. Also, she touts her record for meeting with constituents, but she strategically plans them during working hours and in small locations in attempts to lower attendance. Our district deserves a representive that will be honest, transparent and accessible. The Congresswoman has proved to be none of those.

    1. I have experienced the same from Stefanik and her staff. I second this question and look forward to finally hearing an honest answer.

  3. Why did you vote to make it illegal to sue banks that commit fraud? Consumers are charged with a felony if they commit fraud.

  4. Could you describe what a “town hall”means to you? Would you meet people in person or do you prefer televised town halls? Would you limit the number of people who can attend? Would you take unscripted questions from the audience? Would you make a point of visiting all twelve counties in NY-21? Would you hold town halls in the evening and/or weekends when most people aren’t working so they can attend? Would you advertise town halls on your website and on social media in advance?

    1. I’d like to ask this question of Stefanik, but in a little different way. She already has a record of not being available to constituents except in carefully scripted and limited settings. I would ask for her to explain her absence and disregard for the citizens she is supposed to represent, if she won’t even meet with them face to face.

  5. 1. SNAP already requires working-aged adults to seek work and to accept employment if it is offered. The House pass and Rep. Stefanik voted in favor of increased requirements for SNAP recipients that would require them to work 20 hours a week or be in a job training program 20 hours per week. Would Cobb and Kahn have also voted in favor of these requirements? And if instituted, do the candidates feel that the federal government has any obligation to ensure that employers offer employees at least 20 hours worth of week each week or ensure that employees can secure reliable transportation to a job site or reliable childcare?
    2. Do the candidates believe poverty to be caused by people not working hard enough to improve their economic condition or by some other factor?
    3. How do the candidates view the distinction/role of meeting with everyday voters to hear their concerns versus meeting with businesses and other institutions? Are both important?

  6. I’d like to know the candidates’ positions on common sense regulations for purchase and retention of weapons. Also whether they accept donations from the NRA.

    1. Since gun ownership is a major issue in the North Country, I would also like to see this question asked.

    1. Excellent question. I’d follow it up with: how do you plan on representing the interests of your biggest financial supporters?

    2. I like this idea and would be more specific: How much money do you take from corporate PACs and hedge funds? If you accept this kind of money, what interest do these entities have in Northern NY and what do they get in exchange for it?

  7. As a Nurse Practitioner with many years of experience working with low income and young people, in the specialty of reproductive health and family planning, I have two questions for both candidates. 1) Do you believe women should have access to health screenings, contraception, and abortion in the North Country? 2) If a vote were taken to remove Title X funding from Planned Parenthood, whose local affiliate has seven health centers caring for hundreds of patients every day in NY -21, how would you vote and why?

  8. College students in the United States graduate with $37,172 in debt on average. The Department of Education has recently increased student loan interest rates to 5.05%, from 3.76% for the 2016-17 school year. On August 27, the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau resigned and published a letter criticizing Secretary of Education Betsy Devos and the Trump administration for systematically undermining students and American consumers as a whole, while promoting the interests of debt collection agencies and corporate America.

    To all the candidates: what do you plan to do to protect the interests of students where the Trump administration has failed? Additionally to Congresswoman Stefanik: what have you done already?

  9. Campaign ads are generally approved by the candidate before they become public. As a result, the candidates Integrity is reflected in the ad that is approved. What do you believe it says about a candidate’s character when approved ads are proven to be false or significantly misleading and the candidate continues to approve the dissemination of that ad? Can such a candidate be trusted to live up to campaign promises?

  10. Elise stefanic has probably proclaimed her support for the Republican tax bill on her website. Responsible sources say that there will be small reductions received by 99% of the people, the upper one percent will receive 82% of the benefits of this tax cut. It will add over a trillion dollars to the national debt. Already Trump has responded by saying that wage increases for all federal employees should be withdrawn in an effort to reduce the debt. Since the congresswoman proudly voted for the tax cut how would she approach the president regarding his proposal and what will she say to further cuts in domestic spending because we have too large a debt and can’t afford it?
    2. If the congresswoman is looking out for the best interests of the 21st congressional district, one would have to assume that she feels the majority of the district is in the upper 1% of the population. Please ask both candidates to respond to this.

  11. Currently our government works to ensure that the food we eat, the cars we drive, the bridges we cross, the planes we fly in, the streets we walk on, the banks we do business with, the merchants we deal with, function in a way that makes us safe and secure. The list could go on and include more obvious functions like national and state defence, schools , infrastructure, etc. This is not an argument for a socialist democracy. We already are one. Do you have the courage to be truly responsible to your constituents safe and secure right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness if it resulted in higher taxes? If so, how would you do it?

  12. If you accept contributions from corporations and corporate PACs, tell us about your largest donors–who they are, what they expect from their donations, and how those donations have influenced your campaign and, if applicable, your votes. If you have decided not to accept corporate PAC funding, explain why, and where your campaign funding comes from instead.

    1. What percentage of your campaign funding, as reported to the FEC, comes from sources within the district?

  13. I live in St. Lawrence County, one of the poorest counties in the state. It has the second-highest unemployment rate in New York. 50% of the kids at my child’s school qualify for free or reduced price lunches. The school cannot afford to buy all of the supplies the classrooms need to function. Ms. Stefanik, in light of the extreme poverty of your district, how can you defend your vote to take away people’s access to healthcare, your vote to cut SNAP, and your vote to cut Social Security (thankfully, the cuts to Social Security did not pass)? To the other candidates: what tangible steps do you plan to take to improve the lives of your constituents?

  14. With so much of our tax dollars going to constant war..what are the results?
    The US House of Representatives routinely passes the National Defense Authorization Act on a bipartisan basis without fail every year. This year the NDAA for 2019 has reached the astronomical level of $717 billion dollars. The U.S. spends more on defense than the next eight militarily strongest countries on the planet COMBINED and now the NDAA consumes almost 60% of the United State’s Discretionary Budget. Besides paying off campaign contributors what are the results, and is this really worth the opportunity cost….

  15. My follow up question is how is the audit of the pentagon going, It is the responsibility of House Armed Services Committee to provide oversight. Last I heard there are serious accounting errors , in the trillions of dollars range…..can the candidates speak to that….

  16. How much of your campaign donations have come from outside the district?

    Do you believe a new generation of leadership should include lies, attack ads, and encouraging minors to lie and be deceitful?

  17. To Dr. Kahn. Assuming essential democratic principles (e.g. a free press, trust in judicial and security institutions, and civil debate) are under assault by an authoritarian president and an enabling Republican Congress, and assuming many Green Party voters, absent your candidacy, would more likely vote for Democrat, would you at any point consider withdrawing in favor of balancing the House during these unusual times of democratic crises?

  18. Like Michael LaCroix, I would like to hear some discussion of military spending. Do the candidates feel we spend too little, too much, or just enough on defense? Do the candidates feel the wars we are engaged in around the world are helping or harming our security and our economy? Do they feel the merits of those wars should be debated by Congress? Given that our resources are finite, and that we are already running a huge deficit, if cuts have to be made, please prioritize defense, education, infrastructure, and health care in terms of what budgets should be cut?

  19. My question has to do with campaign finance reform. Campaign finance is at the very heart of complaints about elections, and the leading destabilizing influence of the proper functionality of our democracy . It is now universally recognized as the number one driving force in Congress, and an issue which clearly effects every other issue that will be talked about at this debate. Our current system clearly gives wealthy individuals and corporate PACs inflated influence and muffles the voices of the average citizen to their Congressional Representative.
    It is also universally recognized that a member of the House of Representatives will spend as much as one third to half of their work day on the phone fund raising, not only for themselves but to pay their dues to their prospective political parties – at the detriment of their actual time spent doing legislative work on behalf of their constituents and the American people.
    It is also clear that this potentially corruptive system of campaign finance is deeply entrenched and although almost every candidate running for office will recognize this as a problem and agree that it needs to be fixed, for years now nothing has been done.
    So my question to all the candidates is, if elected, will you have the political courage to stand up to the political party bosses and tell them you refuse to be a telemarketer for your perspective parties and instead focus on legislative work. Secondly, will you promise to make campaign finance reform one of your number one priorities while in Congress and put forth a comprehensive legislative agenda/bill addressing this issue and can you discuss now some highlights of such a bill.

  20. In 2012 Kathy Marchione replaced Roy MacDonald Republican endorsed nominee because Roy MacDonald voted against what Republicans wanted in one issue. My question is this, to both candidates, will you put the needs of your constituents above that of your party? Are you a party first, or people first candidate.

  21. This question is for Elise Stefanik: You voted for the Balanced Budget Amendment. This amendment would have allowed the 2.9 trillion dollars saved in Social Security Funds, for worker’s retirement, to be used to pay for the tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Can you justify taking these much needed funds from the people who have contributed all there lives into this insurance for an income they can rely on when they are no longer working?

  22. During his campaign for the presidency, the current president put forth that when Hillary had Bill campaign for her that she took on his baggage, including his questionable practices with women. Does that apply in this campaign? When the current congresswoman invited the president to Fort Drum and praised him, does that mean that she endorsed his statements claiming that the pro Nazi marchers were “good people”, or his statement that McCain was not a hero because he was captured, does she own that be accepting his blessing and inviting him to the district with a warm embrace? Or his statement insinuating that all Mexicans are rapists. Does that attach to her by her endorsement of the president when it is convenient? Or his refusal to withdraw his ad about the Central Park 5 with its racist overtones even after the real culprit was found and their innocence was proven. Does she own that by warming up to him at Fort Drum? Inference can be powerful. Can failure to distance yourself from a person who consistently demonstrates racist hateful traits stain you? I would like to hear all candidates address this topic.

  23. I am sickened by the explosion in the national debt that’s taken place during the brief time this “Conservative” administration has been in office. The late senator John McCain railed about the horrific waste in the procurement process for military equipment and supplies. The military itself wants to close unneeded military bases but politicians fight the closing of bases in their districts. Where do you stand on establishing another BRAC?

  24. Questions for Rep. Stefanik: (1) You are a member of the House Intelligence Committee chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes. Would you care to explain your vote with the majority to end your committee’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections? (2) Do you agree with President Trump that the information provided by CIA and FBI as to Russian interference are not credible and politically motivated?

  25. Democracy depends on a free press and meaningful communication between those elected and their constituents. While modern social media offers elected officials the opportunity to communicate directly with constituents, the press still provides an extremely important role in asking sometimes difficult questions and holding accountable those elected with fact-checking. Rep. Stefanik, several local news sources have described you as inaccessible compared to your predecessors. How do you justify this lack of accessibility, and what can we expect from each candidate if elected?

  26. Recently, the President has announced at campaign rallies that the War on Poverty has been won, and that the safety net created over the past 50-60 years can be drastically scaled back. We have already seen this position in action when the House, including Congresswoman Stefanik, voted to restrict SNAP food benefits. The 2019 budget currently under consideration in Congress includes cutbacks to our social security and Medicare systems. If you are elected to serve us for the next two years, how will you respond to this assertion and actions?

  27. Recent reports from the IPCC and the Trump administration’s NHTSA predict catastrophic global warming within a few short decades absent drastic reductions in carbon emissions. With an executive branch that has repeatedly loosened emissions regulations, what steps would you take as our representative to cut carbon emissions?

  28. For ES-why such effort to avoid public appearances in the 21 st congressional district? What is the lack of public transparency gaining you? What advice do you have for your constituents with previous medical conditions as far as medical insurance is concerned? While you have argued in favor of reversal of many of former Obama’s executive orders as over reaching and the pervue of congressional legislation, what legislation have you proposed to protect the Adirondack Park and North Country from airborne pollution coming from the Midwest? Why have you supported legislation that worsens this problem for your constituents?

  29. According to the U.S. Treasury Department and the Congressional Budget Office, the fiscal year 2018 federal budget ran a deficit of $779 billion, and the fiscal year 2019 deficit is expected to increase to more than a trillion dollars. Those deficits are unsustainable and could threaten Social Security and Medicare. Meanwhile, local governments, such as the St. Lawrence County, are required to balance their budgets.

    Questions for Candidates: Have our representatives in Washington demonstrated fiscal irresponsibility, while our local government representatives have demonstrated fiscal responsibility? Is it appropriate for candidates for the House of Representatives and/or their supporters to practice juvenile name calling such as referring to Ms. Cobb as Taxin’ Tedra?

  30. Rep Stefanik “talks” one way about protecting the Adirondacks but “votes” another way. Please have her explain her vote for diluting the Clean Water Act. Also please have her disclose how much money she has raised from oil, gas and coal related interest of any kind, whether individual, PAC money or corporate.

  31. Please ask Rep. Stafanik why she refuses to sign onto the CRA discharge petition concerning net neutrality, despite the fact that she claims to support overturning the recent FCC ruling that guts the Obama administration internet protections.

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