Tenney vows to fight for legal aid services in budget, protesters want town hall

Sep 7, 2017

Central New York Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney is pushing to uphold the funding for the Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal aid to those who cannot afford it. This comes after President Donald Trump released a proposed budget earlier this year eliminating the funding.

Tenney said the House of Representatives has restored $300 million to the Legal Services Corporation in their proposed budget but that still leaves an $85 million cut.

“These services are everyday services that can be life and death," Tenney said. 'Whether it’s a mortgage foreclosure, a landlord tenant dispute, domestic violence is a huge problem we have in our communities; this organization comes to the aid and the need of these people who have no one in many cases.”

Tenney protesters in Utica.
Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Tenney said she will advocate for fully funding the program and will try to get more for the Utica area. Tenney visited the Legal Aid Society in Utica last week and a handful of protesters waited for her outside. Pat Albaugh of Oneida said they support what she is doing for the Legal Aid Society, but they also want to hear her views on other issues like healthcare.

“We want town halls," Albaugh said. "The little two, three person meetings, it just doesn’t do it. They’re controlled situations and she can totally dominate those. We need more opportunities for people to speak up.”

Bill Perrotti of Clinton said he is concerned about climate change, infrastructure and workers' rights issues like overtime pay extension.

"We want to know what she thinks about those and we want her to express those views in front of a public audience as opposed to two or three people in private," Perrotti said.  

Tenney has held small group and one-on-one meetings with constituents but not a large town hall at a public venue.