There were 18 attendees (including four from Keene) at the Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay, featuring guest speaker Jill Lochner, Republican candidate for Congress.
Jill is a Greenfield Center (Saratoga County) former educator and education technology expert who is running as a moderate Republican to primary Elise Stefanik in the 2024 NY21 Congressional race. She was accompanied by her husband Tom who is currently running her campaign.
Here are my notes from the meeting:
- She’s concerned about the polarization, us vs. them, mentions of a civil war by extremists.
- It’s important to sit and listen to understand both sides of issues.
- She has problems with Stefanik, who used to be a moderate.
- She’s not a career politician.
- Former educator, now a stay at home mom of four children. Her husband, Tom, is managing her campaign so far and he was also in attendance.
- Not a member of the elite, she represents real people.
- Voted for Trump in 2016, interested in his message of change. He had some good policies but overall she was not impressed.
- January 6 turned her opinion – Biden won the election.
- MAGA is about Trump. Her party should return to its roots – decency and civility.
- Voters want change.
- Regarding reproductive freedom, she is pro-choice but was originally anti-abortion. She changed after listening to others. Government should not be involved in medical decisions.
- Regarding firearms, she is pro-Second Amendment. As a mom who sends 4 children to school daily she understands the risk. She supports universal background checks, increased funding for mental health, but we must protect law abiding citizens. She does not support a ban on assault weapons.
- Regarding spending, it’s out of control, $31 trillion in debt isn’t sustainable, wasteful spending must be curtailed, many government employees, massive military expenditures, we should focus on essential services.
- $665 billion deficit under Trump, spending and debt soared. Our tax structure must change. The IRS is an essential service.
The rest of the agenda was pre-empted by Jill’s presentation and the questions that followed. Overall it was an interesting and lively meeting in an excellent venue.
The next meeting will be a week later than normal, on May 15.