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What has Rep. Richard Hanna done for you lately?

With the accidental resolution of military strikes against Syria completed (or at least off the table until some time in 2014) its time of the nation to get back to the issues that directly affect the nation, and constituents of the New York 22nd Congressional District.

Since most of the public is likely to have completely forgotten what was being discussed over the summer, due to the looming potential of involvement in yet another Middle East war that the solid majority of Americans opposed (and Rep. Richard Hanna had no opinion on), I went over what Rep. Richard Hanna has done in 2013. There is no better indication of how well the public is served than by seeing what they are being served.

Looking at Govtrack.us, a quick search provides a list of 14 Bills that Rep. Hanna has either sponsored or co-sponsored. Of those, only 1 has made it past a House Committee, and was actually made law. That was HR 1071: To specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins. Baseball fanatics are sure to be happy as the Bill was predicted to only have a 14% chance of passage.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)


Does this Bill help small businesses? Outside the finite and niche baseball collectibles arena, no. Does it help the NY-22? No. Does it improve the quality of life for even a minority of the residents in Upstate New York? No. But politicians don’t count their success based on what Bills they actually pass in Congress (lest voters actually evaluate them on the merits of their work ethic), strong attempts to pass the Bills that matter to voters is what counts.

Rep. Hanna failed to get past committee, or even get strong support, on House Resolution 134 (H Res 134): Condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for its continuing acts of aggression, its expressed intent to break the July 10, 1953, Korean War Armistice Agreement, and for its repeated violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

North Korea, a nation that is top on the list of countries that hates America, starves its people, and is reportedly winding up a plutonium reactor (which is good for nuclear weapons like radioactive dirty bombs) is universally condemned by Congress. There is not 1 member of Congress that would support North Korea and the horrors it imposes on its people, yet Rep. Hanna was unable to get traction on this.

Then there is H Res 190: Condemning the April 15, 2013, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks in Boston, Massachusetts and calling upon the United States Government, the governments of all nations, the United Nations, and other international organizations to renounce the use of IEDs and take actions to stop their proliferation.

Absolutely everyone in America was aghast and angered by the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. Equally, the devastation done to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by IED’s has no support from any member of Congress or American. Yet again this has gone nowhere, and is predicted to have 0% chance of getting passed.

In both cases, these are issues that are universal. Neither would alter the position of the nation, or alter the lives of the public, they are merely statements of the opinion of Congress (and in these two Bills, the clear mindset of the nation). Bipartisan support should not be a difficult task, if presented by an effective politician. The results speak for themselves.

Then there is HR 2310: To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make available for purchase Department of Veterans Affairs memorial headstones and markers for members of reserve components who performed certain training.

Again, an issue that no politician would take issue with, and the public can support. Yet it sits, without notice or action, a testament to the ability of the politician that proposed it. For the record there are 89 Representatives with prior military service (which Rep. Hanna is not among), 4 support this Bill. Prominent members of Congress that served in the military like Speaker Boehner, or even Rep. Chris Gibson of NY, Rep. Michael Grimm of NY, Rep. Peter King of NY, even Rep. Charles Rangels all without support of this Bill. Which begs the question, where they even asked?

So it’s pretty clear that Rep. Hanna isn’t very good at passing a Bill he has written, unless it involves baseball collectibles. What about Bills he has co-sponsored? Nope, to date nothing has passed their either. But it does bring up a very interesting Bill that he has cosponsored.

HR 2131 (SKILLS Visa Act): To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to enhance American competitiveness through the encouragement of high-skilled immigration, and for other purposes.

This is an immigration reform Bill, which is a tough subject for Rep. Hanna. In April and early May 2013, Rep. Hanna placed himself on both sides of the immigration debate. With HR 2131 it appears that he has finally picked a side.

What the SKILLS Visa Act does is give visas to immigrants that work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This of course will allow those immigrants to compete with the US graduates with STEM degrees. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, over the next 10 years there will be 3.9 million US STEM degrees – or 1.55x the number of jobs projected to be available. Yet, Rep. Hanna wants to increase the competition for these jobs with foreign workers. Odd.

But HR 2131 does even more. It immediately increases the number of foreign workers by 90,000 [SEC. 201. H-1B VISAS] – current actual unemployment in the US is 21.2 million.

Further, the SKILLS Visa Act apparently allows foreign workers of ANY type under the following

(c) Aliens Who Are Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Aliens of Exceptional Ability- Section 203(b)(2)(A) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(2)(A)) is amended by striking ‘paragraph (1),’ and inserting ‘paragraphs (1), (6), and (7),’.

(d) Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers- Section 203(b)(3)(A) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(3)(A)) is amended by striking ‘paragraphs (1) and (2),’ and inserting ‘paragraphs (1), (2), (6), and (7),’.

HR 2131 also lets an additional 10,000 foreigners get a visa to start a business in the US. This at a time where 1.3 million US business owners have lost their business (according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data since 2009) and are not being helped to start a new one. Not exactly the job growth that has been promised by politicians since the 2008 Recession began.

In Section 105 FAMILY-SPONSORED IMMIGRANT VISAS – it increases the number of visas for foreign families, without regard to STEM jobs. The SKILLS Visa Act even helps let students, who are actually working a temp job, to bring their families – because the DREAM Act is very clear on what happens to the children of these immigrants after they stay in the US beyond the visa timeframe [SEC. 205. STUDENTS].

Perhaps the best part of the HR 2131 is the fact that it will justify increasing competition for STEM jobs by providing an additional $225,000 to each State – in the best case scenario, if all 50 States request the money – to be used for STEM education. A pittance compared to the cost of education, even worse if the cost of a STEM higher degree is considered.

Overall, Rep. Hanna as done nothing to help those unemployed in the New York 22nd Congressional District to find a job. He has not improved conditions for small business (except for baseball collectibles). He is actively helping foreign workers get jobs, and bring their families – conditions that are the root of the problem today and the justification for the DREAM Act. Rep. Hanna is also actively increasing competition for STEM jobs, now and in the future, at a time when his constituents are well above the national average for unemployment, and below the State average for pay.

Does this represent what you want from Congress? Is this what you were thinking of when Rep. Richard Hanna was re-elected? Does this job performance improve your confidence in Congress and Government?

If not, you can donate for a better option. I’m Michael Vasquez, and like everyone in the NY-22 I expect more from a representative in Congress. It’s time we get it.

Syria: Timeline in Tweets and Facebook comments

In just a matter of weeks, the Unites States has taken a curious path with regard to Syria and the use of chemical weapons. From a “red line” clearly defined by President Obama alone, to the question of attack (and if congressional approval is necessary), to blunders by Secretary of State Kerry that created a diplomatic resolution. Through out the course of these events public opinion has remained steadfast in opposition as a justification and plan of action failed to be presented to the American (and British and German) people.

The following are a series of tweets (@electvasquezny) and Facebook comments (www.facebook.com/ElectMichaelVasquezNY) presenting some of the thoughts and views during this political drama. Included are key events that occurred along this timeline. For a history of key events in Syria since 1918 (from a British perspective) you can review this BBC News summary.

***Note that for the New York 22nd Congressional District Representative Richard Hanna, along with 15 other NY members of Congress, did not make any position on Syria throughout the proposed conflict. While overwhelming opposition from the public was in place, Rep. Hanna could not determine if standing by constituents or the leaders of the Party was correct course of action.

While this has currently resolved itself, the question of where Rep. Hanna – and the other members of Congress for New York (and other parts of the nation) that chose to sit on the fence – stands on this and similar issues remains unclear and perhaps implies political self-preservation as opposed to the best interests of the nation or representation of the public.***

August 21, 2013 – An alleged chemical attack took place at Ein Tarma and Zamalka in Syria. After initial confusion, blame for the attack was placed on the Syrian Government lead by President Assad. Syria has consistently denied the use of chemical weapons.

August 28, 2013 – President Obama states in an interview with Judy Woodruff that he has not decided what to do about Syria –

“JUDY WOODRUFF: But Mr. President, with all due respect, what does it accomplish? I mean, you’re – the signals the American people are getting is that this would be a limited strike or of limited duration. If it’s not going to do that much harm to the Assad regime, what have you accomplished? How – what – what’s changed?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Judy, again, I have not made a decision, but I think it’s important that if, in fact, we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons, then the Assad regime, which is involved in a civil war, trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal, that in fact, it better not do it again. And that doesn’t solve all the problems inside of Syria, and, you know, it doesn’t, obviously end the death of innocent civilians inside of Syria.”

‏@JazzShaw 28 Aug
I assume Joe Biden will be opening impreachment proceedings if Obama bombs Syria w/o congressional resolution in support?
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

‏@MVConsult 28 Aug
If regime change not the point of dropping bombs on Syria, why bother? http://reut.rs/17joBUw

@SenRandPaul 28 Aug
@BarackObama in 2007: POTUS lacks authority to unilaterally authorize military attack w/o imminent threat to nation http://bo.st/6sTzx
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

August 29, 2013 – British Prime Minister David Cameron’s support of a military strike against Syria is voted down,

“…it was clear that parliament did not want to see a military strike on Syria to punish it for chemical weapons use and that he would act accordingly.”

@electvasquezny 29 Aug
So why hasn’t Rep Hanna joined the call to have Pres Obama get authority from Congress for Syria along w 100 Repubs http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/08/28/more-than-100-lawmakers-ask-obama-to-seek-congressional-approval-on-syria-strikes/ …

@electvasquezny 29 Aug
Will Syria be another foreign policy flip-flop for Rep Hanna, like Libya? http://m.cnsnews.com/news/article/81-republicans-flip-flop-libya-opposition-votes …

@electvasquezny 29 Aug
Apparently the British can’t see a point in bombing Syria that benefits them, so why is President Obama pushing for it when America is same.

August 30, 2013 – President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry try to make case for a military strike on Syria, resistance is noted internationally as well as domestically.

“In Washington, questions about the veracity of the U.S. intelligence and whether the nation is headed for another long war based on false information — like happened in Iraq — have emerged from both parties in Congress.”

‏@MVConsult 30 Aug
I still am unclear what US national interest is affected by a Syrian internal conflict. And why are economic sanctions off the table?

‏@electvasquezny 30 Aug
50% don’t want US involved w Syria (NBC poll), 80% want Congress approval, US intel still unsure of details, British are out. Time to pause

@electvasquezny 30 Aug
Can anyone recall the last time Britian didn’t support, even grudgingly, a military action by US?

@electvasquezny 30 Aug
In dictionaries, under examples of feckless you can see the following: ‘See Obama Syria bombing plan’

Michael Vasquez – August 30 via mobile [Facebook]
Britain has supported every military action by US that I recall, even if they didn’t like it. But on Syria they are out, and the powerhouse of France is backing us. When was the last time France won a military action? Napoleon? Is this really the only support we are getting. Shouldn’t this give pause as maybe something is wrong.

I think you can find the answer on what to do about Syria in the following quote from December 20, 2007…

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As commander-in-chief, the president does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the president would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.”

August 31, 2013 – France steps up as a supporter of a military strike against Syria. President Obama takes first steps to get Congress to authorize a military strike,

“In a dramatic turnaround, President Obama said Saturday that he will wait for congressional authorization to punish Syria for a chemical weapons attack, even though he has decided a military strike is needed.”

Blog article – The Syria questions

September 1, 2013 – Syria responds to US actions,

“Syria hailed a “historic American retreat” on Sunday, mockingly accusing President Barack Obama of hesitation and confusion after he delayed a military response to last month’s chemical weapons attack near Damascus to consult Congress.”

September 2, 2013 – Pending vote on Syria in Senate stirs comments,

“We cannot make this about the president versus Congress or him shuffling off responsibility,” Mr. Rogers, the Michigan Republican, said Sunday on “State of the Union” on CNN. “We can have all of those debates at another time. This is really about the credibility of the United States of America standing up for an antiproliferation and use of chemical and biological weapons.”

September 3, 2013 – Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the resolution (10 – 7) that authorizes a limited military response, comedian (and noted Liberal) Jon Stewart expressed a backlash against President Obama and the plan on his Daily Show program. President Obama to travel overseas to Stockholm on the 4th.

‏@pewresearch 3 Sep
Few See U.S. Military Action Discouraging Chemical Weapons Use http://pewrsr.ch/1agR1m6 pic.twitter.com/HqOJu2r1AX
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

‏@MVConsult 3 Sep
1,400 dead Syrians = moral imperative for US. In Darfur 1.2 million dead, 250,000 refugees, over more than 8 yrs = nothing.

@electvasquezny 3 Sep
So what are the odds of the Nobel asking for the peace prize back when President Obama is in Sweden? And yes I know it was Oslo.

Michael Vasquez shared a link. – September 3 [Facebook]
74% believe this will cause a backlash against US and 61% think it won’t stop chemical weapons use. So is it really worth helping the President save face?

September 4, 2013 – President Obama tries to shift pressure on Syria from his “red line” to the international community, and fails to win support – “While Obama may have had some justification for drawing that line based on international conventions, the decision to tie U.S. military involvement to Assad using chemical weapons was Obama’s red line.” Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses pending opposition to the US on Syria during upcoming G20 talks,

“We have our ideas about what we will do and how we will do it in case the situation develops toward the use of force or otherwise. We have our plans.”

@MVConsult 4 Sep
Bold statement from Rep Hanna on Syria – ‘I’m definitely standing on the fence’ http://bit.ly/15ykqGp

@electvasquezny 4 Sep
Can Rep Hanna be any less decisive on Syria? Or is taking a stand too politically definitive for his arbitrary standards?

@electvasquezny 4 Sep
Leadership is not about winning every battle or being right in every debate, its about decisiveness in the face of ambiguity. Rep Hanna?

@electvasquezny 4 Sep
Shockingly at 1:38pm Secrty Kerry went 2 for 2 on comparisons to nazi concentration camps killings. What arw the odds he will try another?

Michael Vasquez shared a link. September 4 [Facebook]
A statement saying you (Rep Richard Hanna) have no statement is just an attempt to look good as you waste taxpayers money. Pick a side on Syria, that you believe is right, and explain why you think that. Constituents will let you know if they agree.

Michael Vasquez September 4 via mobile [Facebook]
Sect Kerry dodged completely the timeframe and scope of potential Syria attack, and any potential consequence as asked by Rep Smith of NJ. He didn’t even try to acknowledge the question. @ 1:24pm. Does that mean there is no plan or projections? Or is it trying to maintain a sembance military secrets on a very public action?

Michael Vasquez September 4 via mobile [Facebook]
Secty Kerry response to Rep Chabot of OH on difference of Syria to Libya @ 1:32pm, was the imminent threat to life – they why has there been no action on Darfur in past 8 years. Or do 1.2 million dead not count to President Obama in his concern about saving lives?

‏@MVConsult 4 Sep
Seriously, vote on Syria is not partisan but about best interest of America and our plan of action. How can a Congressman not have opinion?

Mike Vass September 4 via DROID [Facebook]
Seriously, vote on Syria is not partisan but about best interest of America and our plan of action. How can a Congressman not have opinion?

September 5, 2013Opposition in House of Representative to a military strike on Syria is notable – even with both Dem and Republican leadership support of President Obama,

“If the House voted today on a resolution to attack Syria, President Barack Obama would lose — and lose big.”

Blog article – What’s the worst position to have on Syria?

Michael Vasquez shared a link via Mike Vass. September 5 [Facebook]
Issues of this magnitude have grave consequences, and political opportunism can never benefit the average American. More than ever, moments like this define the future of the nation and thus require those strong enough to stand up and take a stance they believe is both correct and worthy. Only in making strong arguments, and fighting for the best outcome can America walk a path to tomorrow with confidence it has done the right thing.

September 6, 2013 – Syrian rebels attack US – Russia deal on chemical weapons –

“America told the world it would bomb Syria and then, when the time came, it got scared,” said Abdelqaderi Asasheh, operations chief of the Liwa al-Tawhid brigade in Aleppo.”

September 7, 2013White House weekly address on limited military action in Syria.

September 8, 2013 – Syrian President Assad warns of retaliation from any US military action,

“You should expect everything,” Assad said in an interview with CBS taped in Damascus. “Not necessarily from the government. It’s not only the government … in this region. You have different parties, you have different factions, you have different ideology.”

September 9, 2013 – Secretary Kerry offers rhetorical resolution to Syria to avoid military strike. Secretary Kerry also describes any US military action as “unbelievably small”“We will be able to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. That is exactly what we are talking about doing – unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”

President Obama acknowledges may lose congressional support of military strikes,

“Battling stiff resistance in Congress, President Barack Obama conceded Monday night he might lose his fight for congressional support of a military strike against Syria, and declined to say what he would do if lawmakers reject his call to back retaliation for a chemical weapons attack last month.”

Michael Vasquez September 9 via mobile [Facebook]
So what does the Obama administration do now that, as the President seeks to create support for what most see as (and Secretary Kerry described) a useless show of force, Kerry has given Syria an out? Ignore the diplomatic solution that they offered? Or push forward on an attack that has no support on all sides, national and international (France doesn’t count)?

‏@MVConsult 9 Sep
Amazing how an option in Syria is available once the Obama Admin mentions it and does not assume the answer

September 10, 2013 – President Obama speaks to American public, trying to gain support for military strikes as Russia moves on Secretary Kerry’s rhetorical offer.

September 11, 2013 – President Obama places congressional approval on hold, as Russia and Syria indicate support for Secretary Kerry’s rhetorical offer.

Fred Thompson ‏@fredthompson 11 Sep
Kerry:Syria attack would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort”. Oh… like the State Department’s Benghazi investigation? #tcot
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

Michael Vasquez likes an article on POLITICO. September 11 [Facebook]
Good translation of of the polispeak in the speech – What President Obama said, what he meant

Michael Vasquez September 11 via mobile [Facebook]
Much to the relief of Rep Richard Hanna and 15 other members of Congress representing NY State, the question of bombing Syria is off the table – for now. These members have been rewarded for sitting on the fence. No longer do they need to justify why they would not support the overwhelming view of their constituents, nor stand with their Party leadership. Each has preserved their re-election hopes, but will voters recall thier lack of intestinal fortitude?

September 12, 2013 – US and Russia start talks with Syria on turnover of chemical weapons.

@electvasquezny 12 Sep
If report cited by WSJ correct and N Korea is starting plutonium reactor, will Pres O bomb them? Doesn’t Syria policy mandate response?

Michael Vasquez September 12 via mobile [Facebook]
The problem with how Syria has showcased a weak and confused US stance may be realized, if as Wall Street Journal article suggests, North Korea is activating plutonium reactor. Isn’t that a more credible US national interest and threat? Will Pres Obama suggest bombing N Korea, and is the assumption that the US is impotent spurring this action?

‏@MVConsult 12 Sep
If US ignores first 100,000 Syrian dead & 1.2 mill Darfur but alleged chem use = bombing then what is policy on N Korea and plutonium?

September 14, 2013 – Deal reached on Syrian chemical weapons, plan to take place by mid-2014. President Obama states military option still possible if deal fails.

“If diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act.”

What’s the worst position to have on Syria?

For most of the day, on Sept 4th, the media was deeply entrenched in news about the US potentially bombing Syria due to the alleged use of chemical weapons. From the weak attempt of President Obama to try to garner support from the international community (“…the world set a red line…”) to Secretary Kerry’s avoidance of questions about how the Obama Administration would use any authorization of force against Syria to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approval of same authorization. Big news for an issue that likely will take a decade to resolve all the ramifications.

Both sides of the issue have strong reasons for their causes. Those in favor of bombing Syria make the case that this will help deter future chemical weapons use around the world. They say that there is a moral imperative for the 1,400 that died. They say that if not stopped now, one day a terrorist will decide to use such weapons against the US, potentially.

Those against action state that US intervention in a sovereign nations internal dispute has no benefit to America. They pose the conclusion that ultimately, no matter who wins, the US will be blamed for collateral losses which will spur terrorist recruitment and lead to attacks against the nation. They counter that if the loss of 1,400 lives is a moral imperative, then what is the reason for the lack of action in the face of the genocide in Darfur that has claimed more than 1.2 million lives, and created ore than 300,000 refugees?

Both sides can be faulted for making assumptions that may not be fully valid. Both have flaws as well as core truths that should not be ignored.

But recent polling show clear lines of thought. Pew Research (9/3/13) noted that 74% felt a strike on Syria would lead to a backlash against the US. Only 33% felt, in the same poll, that a strike would be effective in deterring future chemical weapon attacks.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll (9/3/13) shows 59% opposed to attacking Syria (and 70% opposed to arming they Syrian rebels). An NBC poll (8/29/13) shows only 26% in favor of military action, increasing to 42% if chemical weapon use is proven, still a mere 21% see US interests actually linked to Syria.

Yet this is not the point of this article. The above is only meant to clarify a single point. There are clear and definitive positions in America on the issue of military strikes against Syria. In fact more than 140 Republicans and Democrat legislators signed a letter by Rep. Scott Rigell that went before President Obama on the issue of authorization by Congress for any proposed action (one of the most bipartisan acts in some time). For or against, the majority of elected politicians have taken a stance and are doing their jobs by trying to convince their constituents that they are on the right side of the issue.

The point of this post is about those politicians that are sitting on the fence, like Rep. Richard Hanna (NY-22). He is 1 of 2 Republicans, and 1 of 16 members of Congress representing New York State, that have clearly stated they have no position on the issue at this time.

“When the use-of-force resolution is finalized, I will review it closely to determine whether or not actions enabled by it advance vital interests of the United States and are in the best interest of upstate New Yorkers” – Rep. Richard Hanna 9/4/13

I do not believe that such a position is an act of leadership or even a responsible response for a representative elected to Congress. My first thoughts in fact were summed up in my Twitter response earlier in the day,

@electvasquezny – “Leadership is not about winning every battle or being right in every debate, its about decisiveness in the face of ambiguity.”

Let me be clear, I do not advocate a hasty decision on an issue with ramifications that reach across the globe and may not be resolved in total for a decade or more. Nor do I advocate a close-minded approach that would prevent both proof and reasonable debate from swaying an elected official from one position to a more worthy one.

But this is an issue that demands definitive answers from elected officials now. Constituents have a right to know if their representative believes that Congress needs to approve Presidential military action of this nature. They need to know if, after weeks of discussion and information, their Representative believes that US interests are at risk – one way or another.

It is the obligation of an elected politician to present, in their view, the best options available on any issue – and provide proof and arguments to back up that belief – for the benefit of constituents. Anything less is not deliberation but political maneuvering glossed over with false sympathy, in my opinion.

This is even more true when such ambiguity is the weapon of a politician that has time and again taken both sides of issues – like immigration, long-term abortion, the NSA and 4th Amendment, even going back to 2011 and Libya. “When the use-of-force resolution is finalized…” says volumes. Once that is done, the debate will essentially be over, with a clear indication of both where the nation feels is the best course of action and what will or will not be done. At that point, those on the fence will just be jumping on a bandwagon, evading any fear of a cost of votes in their next re-election.

Issues of this magnitude have grave consequences, and political opportunism can never benefit the average American. More than ever, moments like this define the future of the nation and thus require those strong enough to stand up and take a stance they believe is both correct and worthy. Only in making strong arguments, and fighting for the best outcome can America walk a path to tomorrow with confidence it has done the right thing.

I can say with certitude that I believe intervention into Syria, especially with military action that is purposefully ineffective at swaying the conflict, is the worst option for America in the long run. It is a plan without foresight to the consequences it will create, and provides no upside to our nation at any point. I appreciate and respect the reasons that oppose my view, and I am more than willing to listen to informed and reasonable debate to sway my position – just as I am willing to wholeheartedly defend my points until proven credibly wrong. I have talked to residents of the NY-22 and beyond, and will speak to more on this issue upon request, because this conversation is the only way to resolve a problem that the hubris of our President has thrust upon us. How can our elected officials do any less?

There are 16 members of Congress for New York that are on a fence. I have called out Rep. Hanna to reveal, clearly and without ambiguity, where he stands and why as he is my Representative and others should do the same for their Representative. I have no doubt that he and the others all hold preferences, and they should have the internal fortitude to let the public know what that is. Just as this is not about partisanship, so to it should not be about bandwagons and political maneuver for re-election plans and fundraising dreams.

In America we expect more from our politicians, and this is the time and issue where our politicians live up to that expectation.

Twitter posts from August 2013 – @electvasquezny

The following can be found on my Twitter account (@electvasquezny – ask to be added to be up to date daily) from the month of June 2013:

There are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Twitter is an excellent format to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Twitter. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

1 Aug ‏@electvasquezny

If NSA XKeyscore program collects “large amount of information” that is “never reviewed” as the 2009 NSA report says, why keep it?

Would you allow FBI or NSA to stay in your house and record your activities? How is NSA programs any different?

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2 Aug @electvasquezny

Interesting that Rep Hanna (NY-22) says he supports limits on NSA, but is NOT cosponsor of http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.2399 …: – HR 2399

Amazing how 20,000 fewer jobs than expected for july and unemployment rate drops.

Did anyone else notice that long-term unemployed percentage dropped but short-term increased. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm …

@whitehouse @BarackObama as opposed to just repealing the inclusion of Congress and their aides? Double standard indeed.

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5 Aug @electvasquezny

Why didn’t press ask Rep. Hanna to explain his voting record to constituents today? How truely credible is his support for small biz?

AZ Dem Gubernatorial Candidate Darkens Skin for Commercials to Appear Hispanic http://shar.es/yqHQH via @BreitbartNews This is insulting!

politi.co/13fDRgs Some get it, others just want to discredit valid concerns they don’t want to address. Guess which is Rep Rangel.

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6 Aug @electvasquezny

@BarackObama missing key word in statement – “LEGAL”

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7 Aug @electvasquezny

@politico then why is the Government keeping all the data on tens of millions of Americans?

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9 Aug @electvasquezny

What are the Obamacare numbers for the NY-22? http://wp.me/p3tK3D-1O

What happens when Congress fails to read laws? Cities, Counties and employers scramble to the detriment of public. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130808/OPINION01/308080008/1008/OPINION01/Obamacare-leading-part-time-nation …

Just got voiceover artist Jimmyjohn McCabe on board for the commercials. With a few more donations, the ads will be up across the NY-22

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10 Aug @electvasquezny

@IngrahamAngle That does sound like Rep Richard Hanna NY-22 (R)

Pres. Obama talks NSA, Rep. Hanna visits Southern Tier, and the net result is? http://wp.me/p3tK3D-1Q

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12 Aug ‏@electvasquezny

I will be speaking on the Bob Joseph Show on WNBF on 8/19 @ 9:30am. Tune in and share the news.

I wonder if Pres. Obama would speak to the only person exploring a run for Congress in Broome County? Nah, I’m a black hispanic conservative

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20 Aug @electvasquezny

@JazzShaw of course, otherwise he might be asked to explain the failure to focus on jobs in an area with above national level unemployment.

@AP so at this point, now that media is focused elsewhere, one one being held accountable for what happened in Benghazi. Wag the dog indeed.

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21 Aug @electvasquezny

@JazzShaw he deserved to be shot. He violated his oath and damaged the nation during wartime. 35 years is not enough.

@CNN and Rep Hanna voted NOT to restrict NSA. Somehow I don’t think constituents would agree.

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22 Aug @electvasquezny

So is Pres. Obama proposing Govt will pick winners in college education like it picked “green” companies? Which college will be a Solyndra?

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23 Aug @electvasquezny

Former Maj Nidal Hasan, like prvt manning, deserves death penalty.

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28 Aug @electvasquezny

Pres Obama restricts our guns, mandates our purchase, violates immigration law, and bombs nations – all without Congress. But Bush is bad?

@electvasquezny Ok, obamacare was with a Dem supermajority that didn’t read the law. That was sort of with Congress. I stand corrected.

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29 Aug @electvasquezny

@WSJ interesting how much economy inproves without weight of stimulus as a drag

So why hasn’t Rep Hanna joined the call to have Pres Obama get authority from Congress for Syria along w 100 Repubs http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/08/28/more-than-100-lawmakers-ask-obama-to-seek-congressional-approval-on-syria-strikes/ …

Will Syria be another foreign policy flip-flop for Rep Hanna, like Libya? http://m.cnsnews.com/news/article/81-republicans-flip-flop-libya-opposition-votes …

Apparently the British can’t see a point in bombing Syria that benefits them, so why is President Obama pushing for it when America is same.

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30 Aug @electvasquezny

50% don’t want US involved w Syria (NBC poll), 80% want Congress approval, US intel still unsure of details, British are out. Time to pause

Can anyone recall the last time Britian didn’t support, even grudgingly, a military action by US?

In dictionaries, under examples of feckless you can see the following: ‘See Obama Syria bombing plan’

Twitter post from July 2013 – @electvasquezny

The following can be found on my Twitter account (@electvasquezny – ask to be added to be up to date daily) from the month of June 2013:

There are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Twitter is an excellent format to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Twitter. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

15 Jul ‏@electvasquezny

Share this with friends, family, and anyone interested in a Congress that earns more than a 15% approval… http://youtu.be/LqbX1pqSFkk?a

Do you know the difference between Congress and a casino? http://youtu.be/pdPr0UY9CJE?a

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16 Jul @electsqueznvay

When was the last time you heard a politician mention cutting corporate taxes? http://youtu.be/-C_JFhEtW48?a

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21 Jul @electvasquezny

I want to thank everyone that supported “Rock the House” fundraiser yesterday. A donation of $125 is being made to Wounded Warrior Project.

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22 Jul @electvasquezny

While President Obama urges more of the same, a real solution stays on the backburner http://wp.me/p3tK3D-1q

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25 Jul @electvasquezny

Rep Hanna voted for Amash Amendment – well not quite. http://wp.me/p3tK3D-1u

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29 Jul @electvasquezny

AP reports 15% in poverty (46 million), 79% economically insecure. But “jobs are priority one”. Perhaps time for a responsive government

CNN Political Ticker http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/29/will-your-congressman-retire-richer-than-you/?sr=sharebar_twitter … this is really not the way it should be. Especially w/o debt, unemployment solutions.

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30 Jul @electvasquezny

Pfc Manning deserves all 150 years of prison.

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31 Jul electvasquezny

@WSJ could.this be one of the sources behind the anti-fracking movement?

Sen Wyden, 7/30, says problems with NSA compliance worse than reported. Yet Rep Hanna voted against Amash Amendment. How is public served?

Are 12 (or even 54) defeated terror plots, as claimed so far, equal to 4th Amendment rights of 300 million Americans? Sold too cheap maybe?

Twitter posts from June 2013

The following can be found on my Twitter account (@electvasquezny – ask to be added to be up to date daily) from the month of June 2013:

There are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Twitter is an excellent format to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Twitter. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

Michael Vasquez ‏@electvasquezny 5 Jun

Michael Vasquez speaks at Vestal Public Library – June 4, 2013 – pt 1: http://youtu.be/Y8v5TpaLAiQ via @youtube

Michael Vasquez speaks at Vestal Public Library – June 4, 2013 – pt 2: http://youtu.be/6bRGbiE80ek via @youtube

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8 Jun ‏@electvasquezny

Michael Vasquez talks about improving Congress with Southern Tier Tea Party in Vestal, NY http://wp.me/p3tK3D-Y

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9 Jun ‏@electvasquezny

Uploading older videos that some may have missed in the past http://youtu.be/uzyl39jMnBU?a

Commentary on military service awards, and the Stolen Valor Act. Original video repost http://youtu.be/7pPBwgPPEpg?a

STEM jobs, immigration visas, and Rep Richard Hanna of the NY-22: http://youtu.be/gRCNNq_pm4Y?a via @YouTube

Binghamton University Libertarians speak with Michael Vasquez – Q & A pt 1: http://youtu.be/OErd0ZF183g?a via @YouTube

Binghamton University Libertarians speak with Michael Vasquez – Q & A pt 2: http://youtu.be/KsA7WO5DTRo?a via @YouTube

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10 Jun ‏@electvasquezny

Your view: Letters to the editor http://shar.es/wR3z6 via @sharethis

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12 Jun ‏@electvasquezny

Michael Vasquez comments on WNBF interview with Bob Joseph http://wp.me/p3tK3D-15

August 2013 – Facebook comments

Often there are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are excellent formats to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or have as open an access to these formats as the internet in general. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

The following can be found on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ElectMichaelVasquezNY – ask to be added to my friends list to be up to date daily) from the month of August 2013:

August 2

I support the LIBERT E Bill – H.R. 2399. Along with 48 members of congress (Rep Hanna is not one of them) I believe that the NSA should not blanket collect US citizens phone and internet transactions. What do you think?

H.R.2399 — LIBERT-E Act

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If its so great and beneficial, why the exemption? Besides, isn’t Obamacare supposed to let them keep their insurance if they like it? Or was that just polispeak to cover passing the law?

Congress: ObamaCare for thee, but not for we; Update: Boehner: Only solution is “full repeal”

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August 4

I could say I just want one to piss off the anti-gun people, but to be honest I really just want to own it because it’s so unique.

SSK produces largest caliber rifle ever, one round costs same as tank of gas

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August 7 -

So after an hour long discussion (on my part, the other side was just going for personal attacks), it again has become clear that some people will reject all scientific proof – from State and Government sources, collected over years and rechecked – because they don’t like the answer. Then I get the threat that I won’t get their vote.

Good. No one should vote for someone they don’t believe in. Ever. But I won’t change my views to pander to the public just to get an extra vote. That’s what I dislike in Congress and Government now. That’s why things are so screwed up.

You don’t have to agree with me 100%, just vote for whomever you believe is sincere and honestly trying to represent the people. If we all do that, America will be better for it.

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August 8 -

YNN announces Cheasapeque Energy walking away from leases. With 9% unemployment, the loss of income to landowners and loss of potential business to small biz owners in Southern Tier bodes poorly for the area. The same anti frackers may be happy, until the negative economy and business unfriendliness impacts there livelihoods. But then they will blame someone else most likely.

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August 9 -

What happens when Congress fails it’s job and does not read laws that it passes? Cities, Counties and employers all scramble to the detriment of the public.

“The Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] would have been a hit to our budget,” says Mayor John O’Reilly [of Dearborn, MI], a Democrat. “It has imposed on us an obligation that we didn’t anticipate. I’m a supporter of the concept (of the ACA), but as we move forward and identify the unintended consequences, I’d like more flexibility.”

Obamacare leading to part-time nation

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For all the things President Obama said about changing the parameters of the NSA, what troubles me is what he did NOT say. Will the NSA continue to keep records already collected of tens of millions of innocent Americans? What is the NSA doing with those records? What about PRISM, which are the records of all internet actions of all Americans?

Barack Obama FULL Press Conference: NSA Surveillance, Putin, Russia, Edward Snowden – 8/9/13

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August 10

As I understand it, and I am no lawyer or UMCJ expert, Article 94 – sedition, applies and is punishable by death. So does Article 104 – aiding the enemy, 166 – breach of peace, 118 (1) – murder, and Article 134. With Article 134, which covers everything, acts of terror could be addressed and charged.

Victims angry, but experts cite legal reasons why Fort Hood shooter not charged with terror

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August 15

Aren’t you glad that Rep Hanna voted against restricting the NSA?

NSA Surveillance Broke Privacy Rules Thousands Of Times Per Year: Report

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August 19

Let me know what you thought about the discussion with Bob Joseph today. What would be the one thing that you would ask president Obama

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Full audio and transcript of my conversation with Bob Joseph of WNBF Talk Radio 1290 will be available later this evening.

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Part 1 of Michael Vasquez and Bob Joseph of WNBF, discussing President Obama, fracking, Congress, and more.

Bob Joseph of WNBF and Michael Vasquez discuss Pres Obama coming to Binghamton NY

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Part 2 of 2 – Michael Vasquez and Bob Joseph of WNBF discuss the potential from President Obama visiting Binghamton, NY

Michael Vasquez, Bob Joseph of WNBF discuss Pres. Obama in Binghamton

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August 20 -

According to the Obama Administration the NSA can violate the 4th Amendment. According to efforts by the drone caucus (which Rep Hanna is a member) unmannes aerial systems need no laws and can violate the 4th Amendment. Now, as the Washington Post reports, the Obama Administration supports warrantless cellphone searches. Maybe it’s time we get people into Congress that are willing to defend our freedoms rather than sell them on the cheap.

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August 21 -

So if no one is responsible for the Benghazi attack, was it just an accident or act of God? Is no one to blame as it was unforseeable or impossible to prevent? Only if pigs fly.

Analysis: No one is being held responsible for Benghazi

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August 22

Why is it that when President Obama wanted change to immigration laws and gun restrictions he circumvented Congress, but for college tuition he is waiting for Congress to act. Are his convictions not as strong? Is this just a smokescreen issue meant to distract?

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August 25

With your donations, we can get this on TV across the 22nd Congressional District of New York. Share, Like, spread the word and don’t forget to donate whatever you can. Let’s make Congress accountable in 2014.

Voiceover by Jimmyjohn McCabe

NSA, 4th Amendment, and the 2014 NY election

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August 28 –

I’m so tired of the re-write. MLK wasn’t looking for minorities to be given jobs that didn’t exist, he was fighting for Right not to be denied a job just because a minority applied. The job still needs to be earned to be worthwhile.

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August 29 -

So why is Rep Hanna silent as 100 Republicans and 18 Dems agree w Senator Obama that President needs Congress approval for Syria?

More than 100 lawmakers ask Obama to seek congressional approval on Syria strikes

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Rep Hanna position not so surprising considering flip-flop on Libya in 2011 -

81 Republicans Flip-Flop on Libya Opposition Votes

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British are no go on bombing Syria. Seems they don’t see a point in doing something with no benefit to them and potential long-term negatives. Think that will sway president Obama? Not if you recall Libya.

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August 30

Britain has supported every military action by US that I recall, even if they didn’t like it. But on Syria they are out, and the powerhouse of France is backing us. When was the last time France won a military action? Napoleon? Is this really the only support we are getting. Shouldn’t this give pause as maybe something is wrong.

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I think you can find the answer on what to do about Syria in the following quote from December 20, 2007…

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As commander-in-chief, the president does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the president would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.”

Barack Obama’s Q&A

July 2013 – Facebook comments

Often there are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are excellent formats to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or have as open an access to these formats as the internet in general. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

The following can be found on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ElectMichaelVasquezNY – ask to be added to my friends list to be up to date daily) from the month of July 2013:

July 4

Wishing everyone the best on the July 4th

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July 8

Since people will now self-report wages to get tax credit for Obamacare, does anyone think there wont be abuse, paid by our taxes?

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July 20

Fundraiser was a success. Thank you to everyone that attended!

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July 24

I was talking today with some people about natural gas and fracking. You know something opponents of fracking never say? President Obama was wrong in the 2012 and 2013 State of the Union Addresses. The very same people that trumpet his push for renewable energy, and deplore fracking, ignore the support their champion has given to the subject. Makes you wonder what the real reason might be. Oh, has anyone checked the value of Nancy Pelosi’s wind energy stocks lately?

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July 30 -

Pfc Manning deserved life in prison or the death penalty. In a time of war the mass leak of classified information for the purpose of weakening the nation is treason. I applaud the Marines in Quantico regardless of the judges finding. I hope manning gets more.

Bradley Manning trial verdict: Acquitted of aiding the enemy, convicted on lesser charges

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July 31

Clarity and accuracy are 2 things you would expect from an elected politician. But what we expect from Government doesn’t seem to be what we are getting these days.

Is the Internet the end of political waffling? Not quite

June 2013 – Facebook comments

Often there are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are excellent formats to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or have as open an access to these formats as the internet in general. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

The following can be found on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ElectMichaelVasquezNY – ask to be added to my friends list to be up to date daily) from the month of June 2013:

June 8th

I find it interesting that even as Speaker Boehner is stating that there are issues Republicans in the House are concerned with, Rep. Hanna (NY-22) has taken both sides of the issue. He has advocated for immigration reform, visas for foreigners, and voted to deport illegal immigrants in the face of President Obama’s Executive Order. How can the border be secured, and compromise reached if some Republicans can’t even give constituents a consistent position on the issue?

Speaker Boehner sounds off on immigration with Laura Ingraham

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In my experience so far, speaking to young voters at Binghamton University about my exploratory committee for the NY-22, the critical factor appears to be the choices they have for their vote. From what I have heard so far, young voters feel left out and ignored – some even betrayed after 2008 and 2012 elections. Yet as I have spoken to them, they seem energized and deeply involved. So the answer is not really the specific issues, its about addressing the lack of accountability and responsiveness of elected officials currently in Congress (in both Parties).

The GOP and young voters: A failing relationship?

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I find it interesting and encouraging that like my own exploration of a run for Congress in the NY-22, Erika Harold and so many others are seeking elected office – that are not career politicians. For too long, in my opinion, there has been a disconnection (in both Parties) with constituents and the elected officials in D.C.

The fact that, like myself, many of those seeking office in 2013 and 2014 are Republicans of diverse backgrounds and walks of life only confirms that America may finally be on the path to a better government. One that has the common sense, accountability and responsibility that voters have – which Congress has proven for decades it does not.

Former Miss America to run for Congress as Republican

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June 10

Get your recording devices ready! I will be speaking with WNBF 1290 AM Bob Joseph on Wednesday 6/12 at 10:30am.

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June 11

Just got invited to speak to the American for Restoring the Constitution (AFRTC) on July 15th @ 7:15pm. If you would like me to speak to your organization about improving Congress and expecting more from our Representatives, contact me or info@ElectMichaelVasquez.com

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June 28 -

first fundraiser will be on July 20th @ Daddy O’s in Endicott from 2-8. After $2000 goal we split proceeds w Wounded Warrior Project 50/50