Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said Saturday night that Superstorm Sandy's devastation in New York helped illustrate the need to elect Democrats who, unlike many of their Republican counterparts, believe in climate change.
"This is an incredibly important election year," said Ms. Miner, the co-chairwoman of the state Democratic Committee in remarks before the Jefferson County Democratic Committee in Watertown. "[W]e have a great slate of candidates. This really hit home this week, when we had the hurricane down in New York."
She continued: "We all believe in science, because we're Democrats. Republicans don't always believe in science. I happen to be represented by a member of Congress, one of the Flat Earth Five."
Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-Onondaga Hill, received the moniker from the League of Conservation Voters. Ms. Buerkle is facing Democrat Dan Maffei on Tuesday.
Ms. Miner said that Democratic positions — like arguing that climate change exists — are more difficult to argue than Mitt Romney's belief that the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be sent back to the states.
"It is very difficult to argue against that in the abstract," she said. "What we had last week is that it no longer was abstract. It was real. You saw Republicans run away from that."
The north country escaped Sandy's brunt, but it has had political ramifications. For example, first-responders who were sent from the north country to New York City may not be able to vote on Tuesday. Election officials the past two days preparing to send them absentee ballots via FedEx so that they could vote in time.
"Keep them in your thoughts and prayers," Ms. Miner said of the Sandy victims. "It is a very difficult time down there."
Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, also weighed in on the storm in his speech. He gave props to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for recognizing what Mr. Owens sees as President Obama's leadership on the matter.
On climate change, Mr. Owens said that rigorous scientific study is appropriate, and also said he would have supported a "cap and trade" bill. His predecessor, former Rep. John McHugh, also supported cap and trade. Mr. Owens said he supported cap and trade in the interest of the Adirondacks.