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Not a goodbye but a change in focus on the NY-22 congressional race

First I want to thank all my supporters and friends that have helped me over the last year as I have pushed to provide the voters and residents of the New York 22nd Congressional District with a clear, consistent, and accountable alternative to an incumbent that is not connected to them. It has been a year of many personal sacrifices, from the monetary to the professional and beyond. All of that has been worth it, as while I am departing from the race as a candidate, there is an even more credible and worthy challenger in Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, whom I support fully.

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I created an exploratory committee in April 2013 because after years of political commentary where I watched incumbents flip-flop on issues and fail to be accountable to the desires of their constituents I was as fed-up as anyone. The fact that Rep. Richard Hanna was my Representative and was as inconsistent and unaccountable as many of the worst in Congress demanded action, and I felt political commentary was not enough.

It didn’t take long to learn that my initial thoughts and observations were correct. Voters had succumb to apathy in regard to elections, after watching members of Congress get re-elected while the nation received no benefit from their presence in Washington D.C. Ever fewer people were voting, or even paying attention to the issues, because the machine of politics seemed unstoppable. I felt I could do something about that.

Often I was told that I could never raise enough money. While money is a factor in reaching the 700,000+ residents in the NY-22, I firmly believe that it is NOT the most important factor on running for or holding elected office. While I would never be able to take on Rep. Hanna in a battle of funds, having more or less money will never make bad votes in Congress better. Having a Representative in Congress that understands the impact of the decisions on Congress on the average American, is to quote the commercial, priceless.

I was told, by a selected few, that I should wait my turn or that I had not earned the right to run. Both answers fail to appear in the Constitution and FEC election requirements. More importantly, such comments negate the years of political commentary I have under my belt. It ignores my literally hundreds of articles and Youtube videos, and interviews with every candidate and incumbent in the Southern Tier and lower Central New York. If discussing the issues of the day that impact millions in this nation and abroad, and standing up for the core values of Conservatives and Republicans is not “earning it” I doubt any incumbent in Congress should be in office (which for more than a few would be a good thing).

Yet for all the naysaying, and shutouts to County Committees (Broome and Oswego in particular), never once has ANYONE ever said that I was seeking the wrong goals. Not once has there been an argument in favor of whether we are being represented by a consistent and clear voice in Congress. Not once has anyone stated that standing up for veterans, cutting the corporate tax rate, giving STEM jobs to Americans first, trying to fix the national debt, and ensuring we have a nation that is not a mirror image of Big Brother is anything but the right course of action for our Representative in Congress to take.

So I bucked the system. I stepped out and dared to take on an incumbent, with no prior elected experience – something that more than a few in Congress right now did as well when they were first elected.

In the space of a year I helped to raise the bar on the NY-22 election. A race that went from a given Republican win for the incumbent, to a Primary race that features no Democrat in opposition and credible dedicated challengers focused on the issues that I believe all Americans want to be discussed and resolved by Congress. As a novice candidate I reached the lips of D.C. and forced a question to be asked – if an incumbent shares none of the values of their Party or constituents should they be supported in a re-election?

But don’t think this is all about me. Though the word I is used a lot understand that I am only the front person for a wave of people that made donations, organized events, bought supplies and printed materials, ensured that I arrived at various speaking opportunities, and so many more behind the scenes issues that are critical to any campaign. Together we have been the I that voters have learned about.

Thus, due to these efforts, many credible Republicans and Conservatives from across the district pondered the question that now had to be asked. Many paid attention to the 20 minute debates that waged in the County Committees as more than a few argued that Rep. Richard Hanna is not the best choice for the NY-22, and another choice is available. Rep. Hanna may have gotten the headlines he wanted, but there is no unity in his support.

Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney

NY-22 candidate Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney


All of this led to Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney entering the race. She is a candidate that encompasses all the positives that I have, and which caused Rep. Hanna concern, while not sharing my weaknesses. Assemblywoman Tenney has experience as an elected official (having won election and re-election by 2 to 1 margins). She has a record of votes – consistently voting the will of her constituents, without compromise of her core values as a Conservative and Republican. She is a successful businesswoman, with more access to capital of her own as well as a base of supporters and donations. If I had these things I would not exit this race, but then again if I had them Rep. Richard Hanna would not be in office either.

So I have succeeded, in part. I leave the race for the NY-22 congressional seat without defeat. More importantly, the issues I have brought up, the flip-flops that the incumbent wants to avoid discussing, the lack of consistency and attacks on his own Party, are all on the table. No longer can Rep. Hanna count on Committees (like Broome County and Oswego County) shutting out opposition. No longer can Rep. Hanna count on the news media to favor an elected official. No longer can Rep. Hanna ignore constituents in favor of special interests.

Rep. Hanna faced a credible threat in my run for elected office, and with Asseblywoman Tenney he faces more than a match. Where Rep. Hanna attacks the Party and its core values, Assemblywoman Tenney supports them. Where Rep. Hanna avoids the public and taking a stance on the issues, Assemblywoman Tenney embraces them.

Yet, I am not done. I will continue my efforts to re-ignite the passion of the public for politics. I will stand up for the issues the people believe in, lending my voice whenever I can help to make a difference. An example is me speaking on April 12th at an anti-NY Safe Act rally. There will be more.

I once said that I want to make sure there is an accountable, credible, consistent voice in Congress representing the New York 22nd Congressional District. In departing the race, and lending my support to Assemblywoman Tenney, I believe that we can achieve that goal. Because the status quo that Rep. Hanna embodies is not good enough. We are Americans and we expect more, we deserve more, and with Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney we can have more.

Again I thank you for this invaluable experience and the chance to help improve our nation, our district, and our future. I hope I have earned your faith in me.

Sincerely

Michael Vasquez

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