ITHACA, N.Y. — Still a year and a half from election day, Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) and second-time Democratic challenger Tracy Mitrano have begun laying campaign infrastructure amid increased fundraising according to newly released second-quarter Federal Elections Commission data.Reed, a fifth-term incumbent, received almost $447,000 in contributions between April and June leaving, him with $471,000 cash-on-hand after spending. Mitrano received just about $66,000 over the same period and ended the quarter with almost $117,000 cash on hand.“The support has been humbling. We’re over the 500 (thousand dollar)-mark and just blocking and tackling,” Reed told The Ithaca Voice Monday. ”This is the gasoline that fuels the car to get the message out and we’re glad to have that support and appreciate it.”Of his $447,000 fundraising haul, Reed received $277,000, 62%, from Political Action Committees, or PAC’s, which are conduits for donors to contribute through similar ideological, corporate and labor interests. The remaining 38% of contributions came from individuals, but it’s unclear what percentage of these came from within the congressional district. Reed also transferred about $55,000 from joint filing committees which conduit fundraising from other members, mostly Republican leadership. This transfer puts Reed just over $500,000 in raised funds for the second quarter.• Related: Reed outraises Mitrano in early campaigning, but less than last cycle• Related: Election 2018: The race for the 23rd tightens ahead of Election DayThe breakdown of Mitrano’s numbers skews highly toward individual donors, having only received $1,000 from PACs last quarter. The remaining roughly $65,000 came from individual donors, over 90% of which she claims are within the 23rd congressional district. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm,” Mitrano told The Ithaca Voice about her individual donations.She also received almost $70,000 in refunds from paid advertising that was never aired during the 2018 cycle, noted on the filing as an offset to expenditures. Your government news is made possible with support from: Tagged: campaign financing, election 2020, politics, tom reed, Tracy Mitrano Both candidates began using raised funds to lay the groundwork for what is already shaping up to be a lengthy campaign season. Mitrano spent almost $36,000 on hiring a full-time campaign manager and contracting a financial advisor to help with fundraising efforts. She also spent lesser amounts on Facebook advertising to promote public events over the last few months.Reed and Mitrano are already campaigning for the 2020 election. Mitrano narrowly won a crowded Democratic primary election in 2018 but lost to Reed in the general election. The following week, she said she would run again in 2020.Mitrano spent the last three months living on the western side of the district, mostly in Chautauqua County, where she says she set aside fundraising to connect with voters and make impressions early in the cycle.“There wasn’t enough time,” Mitrano said of her 2018 run. “And that is why I began running right away. That’s why I chose not to just immediately throw myself into fundraising, but to spend quality time in other parts of the district that we believe didn’t have the chance to learn who I was personally, they only knew me as the face that Tom Reed created.”Reed spent about $305,000 last quarter. He spent big on consulting services, fundraising efforts and in-house staff. This includes new staff after his campaign manager and communications director left for other opportunities.The latest filing shows a pickup in Reed’s fundraising after what was a lag in his first-quarter fundraising compared to the same period in 2017. Reed is only slightly behind his second-quarter 2017 fundraising mark, having raised about $486,000 in that period.Reed beat Mitrano, 54-46 during the 2018 cycle after she had emerged from a crowded and contentious Democratic primary earlier in the year. She redeclared her candidacy for 2020 six days after conceding the election, in a move seen as an attempt to unify the Democratic field to avoid another costly primary.Clarification (4:10 p.m. July 16) — An earlier version of this article stated Mitrano had received $70,000 in “kickbacks” from paid advertising that was never aired during the 2018 cycle, however, it has been amended to clarify they were refunds. Vaughn Golden Vaughn Golden is a freelance radio and print reporter covering politics around the southern tier and central New York. He authors the weekly “Capitol Watch” watchdog report on Ithaca’s representatives… More by Vaughn Golden
By Lorena Baires / Diálogo December 06, 2019 Colombian pilots carry out fire extinguishing duties in one of the harshest drought seasons of the last 20 years.During 2019, the Colombian Air Force (FAC, in Spanish) worked tirelessly to extinguish and control fires. Pilots overflew the territory to extinguish fires that consumed 318,214 acres of vegetation due to strong winds, scarce rain, and high temperatures, in addition to fires created intentionally for agricultural purposes. This combination caused 2,217 fires; the highest number Colombia’s Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD, in Spanish) has recorded in two decades.FAC has a helicopter fleet with Bambi Bucket fire-control systems, with a 1,320-gallon capacity. For fires in large areas, FAC deploys a C-130 Hercules aircraft, equipped with a MAFFS II system that can drop a load of 3,698 gallons.“The complexity of these maneuvers requires planning and attention to aircraft performance. Special consideration must be paid to the high temperatures we face during drops,” said FAC Captain Fabián Grijalba, commander of the 412 Squadron and pilot of a Huey II helicopter. “Because this involves more physical exhaustion among crew members, we only conduct a maximum of six flight hours.”Members of the Colombian Air Force prepare a Bambi Bucket system, with a 1,320-gallon capacity. (Photo: Colombian Air Force)The most recent fires, which occurred in September, have affected forests in Tolima, Antioquia, Santander, and Valle del Cauca departments. In the latter, in the Yumbo municipality, the fire ravaged more than 791 acres. “In this area, there are cross winds, the terrain is very steep, and vegetation is abundant,” Miguel Perdomo, UNGRD coordinator in Yumbo, told Diálogo. “These characteristics and the distance from water prevent forest control groups from being more flexible.”In hard-to-reach areas, fire trucks cannot enter, only manual tools can be used. That’s where the FAC firefighters descend on ropes behind the combustion line to create firebreaks and release liquids over the fires. “Following the drops, the flames are extinguished, leaving a safe perimeter for us to come closer,” Carlos Guzmán, a firefighter at the National Firefighting Directorate (DNB, in Spanish) in the municipality of Carmen de Apicalá, Tolima, told Diálogo. “After that, we remove any combustible material to make a path and prevent the fire from advancing through crops or wooded areas.”“Ninety-eight percent of the fires recorded in October were caused by people who try to prepare the soil for crops,” Captain Germán Miranda, head of DNB, told Diálogo. “There’s also the increase in temperature. In some cities and towns in the Caribbean or Andean regions [the temperatures] can reach up to 43 degrees Celsius [nearly 110 degress Farenheit].”To increase FAC’s operational capabilities, the U.S. government established in August the Regional Helicopter Training Center Program in Colombia, with the delivery of 60 TH-67 Creek training helicopters. These aircraft will be used to train Colombian pilots at the Helicopter School for the Armed Forces.“I’d like to thank our friends from the United States and its Army for their support to the Colombian people and Air Force,” said General Ramsés Rueda Rueda, FAC commander, during the delivery of the TH-67 Creek helicopters.