Is representing the NY-22 extreme or just right?

Recently I had the chance to read an article by Gino Geruntino, of WRVO. The article, Hanna prepares for primary day challengers, covers the thoughts of my opponent as we enter the petition season (starting March 4th) as the heat of the primary begins to build.

The thing that really caught my attention was the allusion made that I am an extremist. My opponent said

“We try to be transparent, we try to be balanced, and we try desperately to represent the 700,000-plus people,” Hanna said. “Not the fringes, not the extremes, not the special interest people who are so loud and vocal, but all the people of this district.”

That statement was interesting. It is both a way to try to deflect my objections to some of the votes and Bills my opponent has supported, and at the same time a hope to minimize any impact I may be creating. It’s smart politics, and done in a nice deferential manner that keeps the smack from stinging too much. But I think my opponent misjudges the people of the NY-22.

When my opponent says he does not represent “the fringes, not the extremes” what does he mean? Does he mean Conservatives? Republicans? Independents?

The majority of Americans (63.2%) believe America is on the wrong track. That’s everyone. A pretty extreme consensus. 81% disapproving of Congress is even more extreme, by the thinking of some.

Perhaps, in the mind of a moderate who won election on a wave of conservativism, it is fringe to expect Congress to be fiscally responsible. It is far too common to hear regular non-political people ask why Congress can’t balance a budget just like they have to. The rage of the masses, in the NY-22 and across the nation, was clearly heard when military pensions were the first target of cuts – as if the Government couldn’t possible find any other source of waste or excessive spending to cut first. All without the moderate voices making any noise in opposition and defense of the masses.

But I do not deny I am loud and vocal. For the better part of a decade I have spoken out about the issues and problems facing this nation. About the choices in elections from the local to the presidential. About the Rights and Freedoms that are under attack from an Executive Branch that believes it can re-write our legislative foundation, while the least Conservative or Republican cheer on the change.

As for special interests, I don’t have any – except if you mean the public at large. The public is the voting group that has seen the least connection with Congress. They are the ones who suffer from the mishandled website launches and canceled policies, and the abuses from Government agencies that are invading the privacy of the average American – which could have been addressed by legislation that many more moderate members of Congress chose not to support. In fact, the public at large will feel the impact of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) jobs given to foreigners and drones spying on innocents because the more moderate in Congress were supporting big business instead of mom and pop, in my opinion.

So, when I am called an “extremist”, I can only ask what I am being compared to, because moderation at Thanksgiving dinner is great but not when it comes to the freedom and well-being of the American people.

But that is my opinion on that.


Michael Vasquez
Candidate for the NY 22nd Congressional District, 2014

The issue of Common Core

Over the past several days I have had a lot of people ask me about Common Core. Where do I stand, and what do I want to do about it?

Common Core is a problem. Not because a single congressional candidate thinks so, but because tens of thousands of parents, teachers, and students – at the minimum – think so. Even teacher unions are finally stepping up and admitting that this is off the deep end.

I first heard about Common Core over the summer of 2013. I didn’t know a lot about it, and I honestly haven’t had the time to do the kind of research I have put into Fracking, Obamacare, STEM jobs, NY Safe Act and the overreach of Executive Orders. Still I did learn about it, and I am scared.

I have talked to dozens of parents and teachers. I have yet to hear a single one mention a positive about Common Core. All I have heard are the horror stories of frustration that students and teachers endure because of this quasi-federal experiment in trying to run education for States and localities that the Government neither understands nor cares about their individual needs.

Common Core, as I have come to understand it, can be describe like this,

“Instead of listening to and trusting parents and teachers to know and do what’s right for students, the commissioner has offered meaningless rhetoric and token change. Instead of making the major course corrections that are clearly needed, … [John King] has labeled everyone and every meaningful recommendation as distractions.”

Those aren’t my words – those are the words of NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. His words are being kind. Opponents of Common Core include National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel , Catherine T. Nolan – chairwoman of the State Assembly Education Committee, New York Civil Liberties Union, even Governor “progressive capital” Cuomo has pulled back his support.

I can keep going, but I really don’t need to. Parents already understand that this isn’t just flawed, it’s broken. So do teachers. In fact the only people who don’t understand that Common Core is devastatingly the wrong idea is the Federal Government, and a handful of political appointees that are clinging to the concept (and perhaps Rep. Richard Hanna who values its “global competitive nature“, whatever that means) . Top of that list is John King.

Common Core meeting in Binghamton NY

This was the Common Core meeting with John King and parents, at West Middle School in Binghamton NY 2013

John King is the face of Common Core in New York State. I listened to him when he came to Binghamton in the winter. His town hall meeting filled West Middle School with no less than 300 parents, teachers, and a fair amount of students. Mr. King listened to several score of all the above implore him on the failure of the program, and to remove it. They said this for 3 hours, and I counted no less than 40+ speakers with more waiting as time ran out.

Mr. King, dispassionately told all in attendance that they would get used to it. That was his position, and that is the position of the Federal Government. Hardly the path to innovation or improvement for our youth.

I am not the most brilliant man, and education is not my forte. But I am smart enough to realize that when tens of thousands of parents and teachers are all saying the same thing, it’s not just a glitch it’s a failure.

Common Core kills innovation. It stifles teaching. It stresses students without need. It does not elevate learning, nor motivate it. It assumes all knowledge needed in life is only that which this limited program provides. The standards it preaches are both ignorant of the fluid world we live in, and the needs of the students burdened with it.

For all these reasons I oppose Common Core.

My generation helped to create the internet, cell phones, laptops, scores of medications and scientific breakthrus. Had we Common Core none of this would likely exist. Or at the very least not from America.

The only thing the Federal experiment of Common Core proves is that there is good reason why education is a State issue.

I hope this clarifies where I stand on the issue.

Press release – 2/19/14 – Response to Broome County GOP endorsement

On Feb 18th Broome County GOP Chairman Bijoy Data announced the endorsement of Rep. Richard Hanna in the 2014 Congressional race. What Chairman Data failed to tell the public was that they made this decisions with blatant disregard for the choices available.

Broome County GOP has received no less than 12 attempts to contact them since April 2013. That includes mail, email, phone call messages, and visits to their office on Court Street Binghamton. It also includes direct statements from members of the Broome GOP, clearly indicating that candidate Michael Vasquez merely wished to speak about why he is running and what he hopes to offer constituents.

Mr. Vasquez has presented his reasons for running to virtually all GOP and Conservative Party committees, or is scheduled to do so, in the Counties of the New York 22nd District. Only Broome, and so far Oneida County, have failed to extend this courtesy, and denied the public a viable choice for 2014.

Mr. Vasquez stated,

“While I respect the choice made to endorse my opponent, I believe that the failure to even hear what concerns I and many members of the GOP and public have is a serious error on the part of Broome and Oneida County. The public has a right to be presented options, and to make a choice on who can best provide the accountability and consistency that is missing in Congress today.”

Mr. Vasquez went on to say,

“I thank Chairman Data for contacting me, after making a unilateral endorsement without firsthand knowledge and after I spoke about his decision to the news media earlier today. I am continuing my well-received efforts to challenge, and beat, my opponent for a host of reasons that I believe are well publicized by the national media and known by constituents in the NY-22.”

March starts the petition season for Congress and 1250 signatures are needed for the Republican ballot. 321 signatures are needed, as well as the endorsement of the Conservative Party that has pulled support from Rep. Hanna since 2012, for the Conservative ballot. The campaign of Michael Vasquez for Congress feels very confident that they will garner more than enough signatures to be on the ballots.

Press release – 2/11/14 – Debt ceiling passed ‘clean’

With an abruptness rarely seen in fiscal debates over the past several years, the House of Representatives passed a “clean” debt ceiling increase that will negate the need for further discussion on the issue until 2015. The Bill passed with only 28 Republican votes, and all but 10 Democrats.

Of the 28 votes that came from Republicans, Rep. Richard Hanna was again among those that broke from the main voice of Republicans – as he did in October and since. In fact his separation from the main body of Republicans in the House has gained traction in much of the mainstream media that are now correctly labeling Rep. Hanna as a moderate – as opposed to his “conservative” stance that enabled his election to Congress in 2010.

meet and greet in Vestal NY, at home of attorney James Sacco

coffee and doughnuts meet and greet in Vestal NY

NY-22 candidate Michael Vasquez had this statement on the vote,

“It is a shame to see that the debt ceiling passed in the manner it has. Not only does this vote stall the previous slight move towards accountability and responsibility with regard to the national debt, as there is no limit to the amount of increased debt that the nation can attain with this Bill, but by is vagaries it reverses that budding trend.”

Candidate Vasquez went on to say,

“If the apparent abandonment of fiscal responsibility were not enough, the salt in the wound is the continued existence of military pension cuts – sure to affect constituents of the NY-22 around Fort Drum (Herkimer County) and retirees from Griffiss Air Force Base (now under civilian use as Griffiss International Airport – Onieda County) as well as vets across the rest of the District. Our military retirees deserve better than the targeted attack on their benefits, that this ‘clean’ debt ceiling deal apparently cements in place. I would not have voted for this ‘clean’ Bill.”

The cut in military pensions was part of the Ryan-Murray budget deal enacted at the beginning of the year. That deal immediately increased Government spending by $63 billion, as opposed to the $43 billion saved via the Sequester requirements of 2013. To pay for that increased spending, in part, military pensions were targeted. Rep. Hanna was among those that voted for this deal.

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