Tenney's first month hindered by 'government bureaucracy'
Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) says she has faced some obstacles during her first month in office. In addition to trying to adjust to a new job on Capitol Hill, the freshman congresswoman has been struggling to open offices and telephone lines in her district.
Tenney currently only has one office, which is located in New Hartford. It just got a permanent telephone line. That has angered some of Tenney's constituents, including one who voiced concern at a Utica legislative forum in January.
"I'd like to encourage all of the elected officials up front to encourage Claudia Tenney to get herself a telephone in her local office to make herself available to her local constituents," the woman said to applause.
Tenney says her staff was ready to set up the offices once she was sworn in on Jan. 3, the earliest they could begin the process. She blames the federal government for dragging its feet since then on approving the office leases and setting up the phone lines.
"There’s just a lot of things that are out of our control," Tenney said. "We’ve done everything we could to - and are doing - to make sure that we get to our constituents immediately."
Tenney's staff has been hosting mobile office hours and using their personal email addresses and cellphones to help her constituents. Her spokesperson says the staff is moving into the Binghamton office now and they expect to open it to the public shortly.
Tenney says she wants to eventually open offices in Oswego, Cortland, Madison, Chenango and Herkimer counties.