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NY20 candidate Fischer slams Tonko for missing ebola meeting. Tonko issues advisory on coping with disease.
Text of press releases.

October 17, 2014
For Immediate Release
Reply to:

Displays tone deafness and lack of concern for constituents by prioritizing campaign events over dealing with major potential health care crisis.

Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held an emergency meeting to question Public Health officials, including Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Chief Dr. Tom Frieden, about the ongoing Ebola crisis. Notably absent from his chair was Congressman Paul Tonko, who apparenetly felt that it was more important for him to attend more public events in his District, than to be a part of getting answers from our Public Health officials on how to keep America safe from the potential of an Ebola outbreak here in the U.S..

While nearly every other member of the Committee is also up fo re-election, or is running for other positions, such as Rep. Cory Gardner from Colorado who is in a close contest with Senator Mark Udall, apparently Congressman Tonko feels that he can't afford to leave the District to take part in a tremendously important discussion that every American is gravely cncerned about.

"This is just another example of what I have been saying throughout this campaign about Paul Tonko", said Jim Fischer. "He shows up at public events, to get recognized and to get his picture in the paper or on TV, but he doesn't stand up for us where we need him to, which is down in Washington. He makes nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year, between his state pension and his federal salary, and yet he can't be bothered to represent us and ask questions of our public health officials about this serious public health threat? The only threat he seems concerned with, is the threat to his political career that my campaign is creating. We deserve better than his increasingly tone deaf and out of touch approach to representing us."

Perhaps Congressman Tonko could have asked Dr. Frieden why he seems to have no coherent justification for not barring individuals traveling from western African countries where Ebola is rampant to enter the US until it is proven that they are not carrying the disease. This inconvenience to a few could help save us from an outbreak on American soil.

The people of the Capital Region deserve a Congressman who will ask tough questions and do the hard work of being a leader in Washington. They deserve better than someone who is more concerned with shoring up his own image and poll numbers at the cost of neglecting the work we actually pay him to do. WE MUST DO BETTER!


CONTACT: Sean Magers 202.680.8902

Update on Tonko Action on Ebola

ALBANY – As concerns grow locally and across the country about our national response to confirmed cases of the Ebola virus, Congressman Tonko released the following statement:

“Although the potential of an expanded outbreak of Ebola within our borders remains extremely unlikely, it is critical that our national and local health care professionals are prepared to respond to any additional cases of the disease by following the correct protocol. I will continue my work in the Capital Region and in Washington to ensure our nation takes the appropriate approach to this concern to protect citizens and keep Americans safe.”

Congressman Tonko’s work with his colleagues in Washington and local leaders in the Capital Region in response to confirmed cases of Ebola includes:

· Meetings and discussions with local hospitals and health care workers to ensure health care providers receive the support they need, are prepared, and proper protocol is followed.

· Written submission of both a statement and in-depth questions to administration officials who testified at Thursday’s House of Representatives hearing on Ebola.

· Asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to work together to expedite the confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy for Surgeon General of the United States. The nation has been without a confirmed Surgeon General since July 16, 2013.
· Writing to the House Committee on Appropriations, calling for additional funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help prevent future public health crises like Ebola.

· Direction of staff to attend multiple briefings in Washington with administration and national public health officials.

Congressman Tonko remains in constant communication with administration officials, other Members of Congress, and his staff regarding the ongoing response to Ebola. He will continue to monitor the situation and work to ensure our local communities remain informed and ready to combat Ebola if necessary.

According to the CDC, one can only contract Ebola through direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from the virus, objects contaminated with the virus, or affected animals. Ebola only spreads when people are showing symptoms, meaning a patient must have symptoms to spread the disease to others and, after 21 days, if an exposed person does not develop symptoms, they will not become sick with Ebola. More information on the disease can be found at the CDC website.