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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.

Transcript: Michael “Vass” Vasquez announces exploratory committee

Hello and thank you all for joining me today.

Many of you may know me as Michael Vass, my business name found on the thousands of articles and political commentary I have written over the past 7 years, found in virtually all search engines. But today I want to introduce myself with my actual name of Michael Vasquez. Because now is the time for full disclosure and forthright answers. Because now we must expect more, and deserve to get more.

Back when I was a stockbroker in the 1990′s, I registered Michael Vass as my business name with the SEC. Since that time I have continued to used it in all my business ventures, including my political commentary. Writing about politics can often stir many emotions, and the internet is a vast place where some react in less than savory ways. Sometimes these negative reactions can even lead to real world extremes and danger. But as of today I am giving up this layer of protection, because voters in the NY 22nd District deserve to know who is speaking to them.

Over nearly a decade I have been actively reporting and following issues from the local to the international level. I have written literally tens of thousands of words, conveying both the problems facing the nation as well as the efforts of our elected officials to resolve these issues. Often, like many of us all, I have felt the frustration as political gridlock stalled efforts and legislation after legislation either went unread or was altered such that it became ineffective. For more than a decade Congress has garnered ever lower approval ratings. The net result is a Government that is failing the populace.

Like others in the news media and over the internet, I have made great effort to convert the polispeak that is common in Government, and delved into more than just the 30 second soundbites that pass for explanations of what is being done on behalf of constituents. I have interviewed elected officials and candidates of both Parties, and presented unedited video so a complete record is available to the public.

The hope was that this added attention could help to promote a renewed accountability among elected officials – but even with the full weight of the internet and news media, Government continues to act without connection to the average American.

It’s because of this lack of connection, this inaction, this ineptitude if we want to be really honest, that I first considered running for elected office. The fact that 47% of Congress, which includes members of both Parties, are millionaires, and more than a 1/3 are career politicians, added to my thoughts. The fact that some 59% of the public (according to recent polls) feel the nation is on the wrong path, solidified my conviction and confirmed my feelings. As this day approached, I drew inspiration from the past.

103 years ago today, President Theodore Roosevelt made a historic speech. That speech conveyed an important message – the man in the arena. He said,

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I take from that speech the need for average Americans to be directly involved with how Government is run. To ensure that Government, at all levels, is accountable and responsive to the needs of the public. Because career politicians and millionaires, good people that they are, are not the average American living day-to-day with the concerns of the masses. They do not feel the impact of their decisions in the same way that your family and friends and children feel it. That does not make them bad people as some insist, but it does make them out of touch and unconnected to the needs of the voters they represent.

Congress needs to reconnect to the public it serves. Government must be reminded that its purpose is to provide only what the public cannot. Those in elected office, and those that would seek it, must raise the bar on what is to be expected, strived for, and achieved.

Thus it is in the spirit of one of the great American Presidents, on the anniversary of his speech praising the sweat and labor of the average American, that I am launching my exploratory committee for the 2014 NY 22nd Congressional seat.

In the coming weeks and months I look forward to meeting with the constituents of the NY 22nd District. I look forward to sharing my views and making sure that the 2014 election is about the concerns of voters and their needs. That the election will be about getting these things done, improving the quality of life for this generation and those to come.

For those interested in learning more about me, I suggest my website http://exploratory.electmichaelvasquez.com or come see me speaking across the 22nd District.

As voters we expect more, and in 2014 let’s get it.

Thank you

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