District Resident Killed At Festival
One of the victims of the California festival shooting this past weekend was a resident of the 23rd New York State Congressional District.
On Tuesday, Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, started his weekly conference call with regional media by having a moment of silence and sending condolences to the family and friends of Trevor Irby, who was one of three victims during the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Sunday.
Reed said Irby, 25, of Romulus was a graduate of Keuka College. He was a biology major who graduated in 2017.
“The tragic shooting (involved) a former resident from our district,” Reed said. “The situation in California is another tragedy. (Politicians need to get on) common ground to take on issues of mental health and gun violence.”
Irby and his girlfriend were at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday — the last day of the three-day event — when suspected gunman Santino William Legen set upon them and other attendees with an “AK-47 type assault rifle,” according to police.
The 19-year-old allegedly shot Irby and 17 others before being killed by police. Irby and two other victims — a 6-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl — died and the other victims were hospitalized in fair to critical condition.
When asked about shootings like the one at the California festival this past weekend, Reed said there are many issues involved in trying to curtail these tragic events.
“We have to treat mental health as a medical condition,” he said. “If we are really serious to take on this issue we have to focus on the individual and an individual’s issues causing this to occur.”
In other business, Reed discussed how the “290 rule” has worked in the House of Representatives to get legislation to the floor. Earlier this year, the 290 rule was part of reforms advocated by the Problem Solvers Caucus, which Reed co-chairs. He said the work of the 48-member caucus, which has 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats, has put pressure on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
“The 290 rule means if members of the house get 290 co-sponsors it becomes a priority on the house floor,” he said. “This is getting legislation to the floor that would have been block given the historic norms of the House.”
These reforms include a “consensus calendar,” which entails how if a bill reaches 290 co-sponsors, a 25-legislative-day clock will begin to encourage consideration of the bill. If it is not reported, the bill will be placed on this calendar from which the House will draw from to speak about one outstanding bill every in-session week.
Reed said the new reform is putting an end to petty partisan politics where Pelosi as speaker could prevent legislation from getting to the floor.
“Essentially it was all in the speaker’s house whether or not (a bill) got voted for on the floor,” he said.
Reed said a couple examples of legislation getting to the floor via the 290 rule is the 9/11 victim support bill and the boarder aid bill.
“I was proud as the Problems Solvers caucus stayed firm and we weren’t going to play politics with the border crisis,” he said. “We were able to deliver immediate results to people who received the benefits of this legislation.”
During the conference call, Reed was asked about the motion passed by the Chautauqua County Legislature last week opposing wind turbine projects on Lake Erie. Reed said he is a support of “all of the above” when it comes to energy, which means renewables like wind, solar and geothermal and also fossil fuels. However, he said he is a firm believer in the 10th amendment, which gives the power to local politicians who know what is best for its residents.
“I would defer to the local government to either approve or reject,” Reed said.