NEW YORK - Rep. Nicole Malliotakis has represented New Yorkers in many ways over the last decade. The Republican was first elected to the state Assembly in 2011 and served five terms. Then in 2020, she beat Max Rose for the seat in the 11th Congressional District.
And now in a rematch with Rose, she's looking to head back to Washington to represent New Yorkers who she says are looking for a balance in power. Indeed, the seat is important in the fight for the control of Congress in these midterms.
INFLATION AND THE ECONOMY
"Wherever I go, people are concerned about the rising food costs, rising energy costs, how they're going to heat their home this winter," Malliotakis explained. "That's the number one issue on everyone's mind."
And she's right.
A recent Siena College Poll found that 65% of likely voters in this district, which encompasses all of Staten Island and a small part of Brooklyn, identified the economy as their top issue that will factor into their choice of candidate this November.
"Energy is really the driving factor and President Biden and Democrats under one-party rule have reduced America's energy independence," Malliotakis said. "They prefer to beg countries that hate us instead of ramping up domestic energy production."
CRIME AND BAIL REFORM
Another top issue defined by likely voters in the Siena College Poll is crime.
Malliotakis has made it clear that she blames New York's bail laws for the uptick in crime and has called for changes that will give judges more discretion when setting bail.
She has introduced two federal bills that would, in a way, provide oversight of states like New York with cashless bail laws.
"Crime is the top issue in this district because they're reading the newspapers and are seeing what's happening," Malliotakis said. "And what's a shame is that the Democrats ignore it and act like the problem doesn't even exist."
Malliotakis is looking to strike a balance though, she said she supports raising the minimum age to buy certain assault weapons and supports banning ghost guns.
"The real issue in New York is that we have gun laws and we're not prosecuting them," Malliotakis continued.
In recent TV ads, Malliotakis' opponent, Max Rose, has worked to criticize her stance on abortion.
Malliotakis said she is pro-life but she pledged to not vote for a federal ban on abortion. However, she won't say if she would vote for a current federal bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks.
"My position is look, it's got to be limited," Malliotakis explained. "I certainly support exceptions, such as rape, incest, and life of the mother, but I certainly don't support what Max Rose supports."
MIGRANTS IN NYC
Mayor Eric Adams in recent months has opened shelters in the 11th District to house asylum seekers. We asked Malliotakis if she supports having more shelters on Staten Island.
"The mayor has already placed asylum seekers in my district and across the city," she said in response.
Malliotakis said Congress needs to take steps to secure the border and add more judges to hear asylum-seeker cases.
"It started at the border with the president's policy — he manufactured this entire crisis and he's the one that can end it," Malliotakis said. "Or Congress should pass our Border Security for America Act, which would add the barriers, would add the technology and would add the staffing necessary to defeat the Mexican drug cartels in their human- and drug-trafficking schemes."
THE TRUMP FACTOR
Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Malliotakis in this race. Malliotakis was one of 147 Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election.
Would support a Trump presidential run in 2024?
"Well, I think I think the candidate is going to be either Trump or [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis. And I would support either one," Malliotakis said.
Early voting in New York starts on Saturday.