At a news conference in Auburn, central New York Cong. Dan Maffei commented on a couple of hot-button issues facing Congress currently.
The national debate on immigration reform dominated the headlines earlier this week when a bipartisan group of senators and President Barack Obama both announced reform proposals.
After meeting with local business leaders, including a dairy farmers involved in Cayuga County's economic development organizations, Maffei answered a question about his views on immigration reform.
“We need to make sure a fruit farmer or dairy farmer doesn't have to break the law to make sure their farm is running. There are ways to do this," said Maffei. "I think the exciting thing is we've seen a sea change in the Republicans -- now they do seem willing to talk about comprehensive immigration reform.”
Maffei says he supports the DREAM Act, as well as creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but not in a way that would encourage workers to take jobs illegally.
The gun control debate has polarized Congress since the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Maffei said he hasn't quite made up his mind on the issue yet, but Democrat said he's still listening to different proposals and to his constituents.
“Making sure that certain kinds of military grade assault weapons are not available is important, but I do think that there are consistent with second amendment rights, but that we can do to reduce the chance that gun violence is going to harm our families and children,” he said.
Maffei said he's hopeful that public opinion will persuade Congress to make a decision, similar to the way it influenced the recent vote on Superstorm Sandy relief.