How to really help the Southern Tier and NY-22

On April 22, 2014, Rep. Richard Hanna decided to grace the Southern Tier with his presence – to discuss the ‘spent grain’ proposal by the FDA. But he has failed to answer why he is hurting the very same small businesses with his votes and support of other law/Bills.

The event, held at the Water Street Brewing Company in Binghamton, NY, marks on of the very few times that Rep. Hanna has ventured into the Southern Tier of New York – especially without President Obama appearing at the same time. In fact, searching Google (Rep. Richard Hanna Southern Tier) identifies only 5 visits by Rep. Hanna since 2012 when the NY-22 fell under his watch – out of the first 10 pages of searching with 718,000 items in the search parameter. This includes appearing with President Obama but excludes when he opened his office in Binghamton. Oddly, the visits coincide directly with when Rep. Hanna is seeking re-election, other than appearing with President Obama.

Still, given the apparent absence of concern when an election is not involved, Rep. Hanna has yet to explain how giving 160,000 jobs to foreign “students” (his qualification given on-air on 4/4, WUTQ) – and allowing US students to be unemployed – is a benefit to constituents or the national economy. Rep. Hanna, in the WUTQ interview, wasted no time to attack Michael Vasquez, a former candidate in the NY-22 race, but failed to address how the challenge by Mr. Vasquez was wrong – beyond clarifying that the foreigners are foreign students.

Rep. Hanna has yet to explain how his “ceremonial” anti-Obamacare votes, or his support of funding Obamacare without condition (9/29/2013), is helping small businesses – that are cutting back hours and not hiring because they can’t afford it.

“Whether that means he is the most liberal, the most moderate, or perhaps just the least conservative member of the GOP conference is in the eye of the beholder.” – Scott Bland, National Journal, 9/30/13

Rep. Hanna has yet to clarify why he has not pushed forward any Bill to cut the corporate tax rate that would help small businesses. Or why he has failed to pass any Bill created by him – other than naming a post office and 2 baseball coin Bills, in 2010.

Rep. Richard Hanna is trying to hide what he has done (or failed to do) with a dog & pony show that is supposed to make the Southern Tier feel like he is involved. I believe the people across the NY-22 are smarter than that.

On June 24th, which with the Dems abandoning constituents will be the election for the NY 22nd Congressional seat, you can make the better choice and support Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney for Congress.

It’s your choice. Why not choose the candidate that has a history of caring about the issues affecting you?

Political position cards

Starting March 4th, across New York State, candidates and incumbents will be going out and getting signatures to appear on the June 24th ballot. These signatures will set the tone of what will be discussed during the Primary, if anything at all. In many cases, like the NY-22, whomever wins the Primary will likely be the winner of the November election.

This is a big deal. The only way to improve Congress is by first discussing the issues that are on the minds of the public. That can only happen if there are challengers. Then the public can hear about the solutions to the problems we all feel every day. Considering how ineffective Congress has been, and how many members of Congress have flip-flop their positions and/or voted against the will of constituents, the Primary is the only real means to replace these would-be nobles.

Starting March 4th supporters, volunteers, and I will be going out and getting signatures to make sure the issues you care about are presented in the Primary – and you get an honest choice at the voting booth in June. The following political position cards will be carried by my supporters and volunteers – so you can know where I stand, and why I am running for the NY 22nd Congressional seat:

Vasquez political position cards

Political position cards for the Michael Vasquez for Congress campaign

M Vasquez political position cards

Political position cards for the Michael Vasquez for Congress campaign

Let’s fix Congress. Let’s get America back on the right track. You have already taken the first step reading this far. If you agree with my positions, and want to hear more – and believe that the public deserves to hear all options available – then contact us about signing a petition. Share this with friends, please.

Or, if you think the nation is doing just fine, do nothing and be guaranteed that you will get more of the same that we all agree isn’t working.


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.

Michael Vasquez announces 2014 run for Congress in Utica, NY: Transcript

Thank you all for joining me on this busy work day.
When I first announced my intention to explore a run for the NY 22nd congressional seat in April of this year, The approval rating for Congress was a mere 15%. Today it is about 9%. The reason then is the same as the reason now – Congress is disconnected from the public it serves.

I have spent years as a political commentator, I have delved into laws that members of Congress failed to read. I have reported on the lack of action, and the flip-flops elected officials have presented – promising one thing and voting another repeatedly. I have noticed, as many Americans have, as our Congressmen and women have folded on campaign promises and defining principles one by one.

Since April I have spoken to people and organizations and businesses across the New York 22nd. In cities like Binghamton, Homer, Norwich, Utica, each time hearing the same thing. Who is our Representative, what are they doing in Congress, why have we been told one answer and the proof of votes and Bills are another?

What I have found, time and again, is that the people of the New York 22nd feel isolated from their Representative. That they have just another politicians that is adept at keeping a seat of power, without real substantive difference to the lives of constituents.

That last point is vital. Critical issues in just this year like the Obamacare, immigration, late-term abortion, the NSA, Syria and international politics are just a few items. Most of all are jobs and the economy. To each, Congress and our Representative have failed the public. Whether it is the flip-flops on where our elected officials stand, or the inability to defend our views, the result has been the same. We all want a change, we want to be represented in Congress, not to just maintain a politician.

In my ongoing conversations, people have asked simple questions. Can we get a member of Congress that will take a stand on the issues. Someone that understands what is happening in the nation and the world. Someone that can bridge the gap between D.C. and New York. Someone that shares our values of hard work, fiscal responsibility, and defense of our freedoms.

What I have offered is what I have said, and written, for the better part of a decade as a member of the press and commentator. My consistent views and understanding of not only what a law will do today, but what it may do tomorrow. I have presented the issues and arguments of both sides so voters can be informed and make the best decision they can. I have strived, as some in the media have, to remind politicians that the power of our Government remains, as it always has, with the people and not those elected to office.

But, as we all know and the approval rate proves, Congress has not heard us. Our elected officials have offered 30 second soundbites, pork barrel spending, and political double talk. They have rested on the assurance that the cost and difficulty of running for elected office has created a class of almost nobility. It is almost easier to die in office than be elected out, and that has apparently made them immune to the voices of the very people they are there to represent.

It is because of this reality, the desires of the public and the failure of Congress that has put me on this path. I can no longer just own my home, work my job and run my small business, and assume that the best interest of the NY-22 is being supported. It appears that so many of us agree on this; young and old; rich and poor; every race and religion. Something must be done.

Today, on behalf of those that want a clear and vocal voice in Congress, a Representative with defined views and a willingness to support what the public wants, a member of Congress that recalls the power is from the people for the people…always, I am announcing my entry into the 2014 New York Congressional race for the Republican ticket.

This is a decision I have not made lightly. I know that to earn the trust of the public I will need to speak across the district more, and that there are many questions that need to be answered. I look forward to the opportunity to speak directly, with forthright answers, to the entire District so that we can ensure that we get more from Congress than lip service and a reign of nobles.

Today is only the first part of that process. Tonight I will be in Endicott NY, and over the coming days and weeks I will be on the radio, in town halls, at meet & greets in the homes of many who expect more from our Government and politicians. Look up what I have said over the years, listen to my answers to your questions, and when the time comes pick the choice that you believe is best for the NY-22 and our nation.

I believe we deserve more, and it’s time we remind Congress that they are not a nobility, that we control the election, and we will get what we deserve.

Thank you.

Video – Binghamton speech and Q&A – Michael Vasquez announces run for Congress 2014

The following is the unedited speech, recorded on November 18, 2013 at the Broome County Courthouse. It is followed by the questions and answers with WICZ Fox 40 News on that same day. This is exclusive video, unaired on TV.

If you would like to know more, or want to donate/support, visit

Questions and answers with WICZ Fox 40 News – “Good representation is not a well-read speech, but an honest direct answer to questions.”

Congressional bid speech – Binghamton, NY

Why I will vote NO on Prop 1 in the 2013 New York ballot

There is nothing in politics as appealing as a quick fix. It sounds great, it looks like it will work, and it pushes the problem down the road to a time when hopefully no one is paying attention. In many ways Proposal 1 (Prop 1) on the New York Ballot for November 5th is just that.

The first think to consider about Prop 1 is why it exists. Simply put, NY is the least business friendly State in the country, and has for decades governed under the theory that higher taxes and more entitlements will resolve all problems. This combination has resulted in a 60 year mass exodus of population and businesses. The result is a vortex of higher taxes on a dwindling middle class, with a growing poor.

To redress this situation, the latest fix is casinos – Prop 1. The proposal is that by allowing 7 casinos to exist in the State, prosperity will flow. Taxes will be lowered, jobs created, and all will be right with the world. Which sounds great.

But will casinos actually fix the business unfriendliness of NY? Will it really lower taxes, or create jobs, or improve the standard of living?

I believe the answer is no. Ultimately, any casino does one thing well – they drain money from people. If they don’t they fail and close. So casinos net reduce income, not create it. While that may be fine (from a State perspective) if this is money from tourists, like Las Vegas, in general the more immediate effect is from populations closer to the casino, which for Prop 1 means the already over taxed residents of New York.

Another problem facing Prop 1, improving the cities and counties the casino will be found in. Looking at Atlantic City, NJ we can see a possible result. If you have ever been to Atlantic City you may have noticed that 1 block from the casinos and the drop in quality is staggering. Few would call Atlantic City a prosperous town – if you exclude the casino strip.

For all the jobs generated by 12 casinos, Atlantic City has a poverty rate of 29%. That’s in a business friendly State, with lower taxes, and generally warmer and better climate year-round. Unemployment is currently 15.3% as of July according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to there are 32.8 murders/100,000 people, 55.4 rapes/100,000 people, 1,443.7 burglaries/100,000 people, and has a crime rate 55.5% higher than the US average.

Back in the business unfriendly, higher taxed, and mostly colder State of NY a comparison to a similar city in size and population is Binghamton, NY. With 7,000 more people, the poverty rate is 30%. Unemployment is 8.3%, murders/100,000 are 0, rapes 35.7, burglaries 872.1, and a mere 19% above US city average crime.

So would having a casino improve the crime rate for Binghamton or make it worse? According to Atlantic City it will make it worse. Still that may be acceptable to some if the average resident gained. Thus in Atlantic City 33% own homes and have a median income of $28,526/year. In Binghamton, without a casino, 46% own a home and median income is $30,267.

So based on a bigger, better, more planned out example of cities with casinos, New York’s plan sounds great – but lacks viability. The most reasonable outcome, over time, is worse than the reality without casinos. But it doesn’t sound sexy and exciting like the imagery a casino brings to mind.

Lastly, even if casinos are allowed in New York State, is this the goose that lays golden eggs? No. Because New York will remain (at least in the foreseeable future) a business unfriendly, hyper-taxed, debt-ridden State. The casinos will not plug the hole that is Albany spending. Population and businesses will still leave the State, and the powers that be will resort to the one trick they know – raise taxes more.

In the end, casinos are a great gimmick to distract from the invasion on freedoms and privacy (like the NY Safe Act) but it fails to address the real problems in New York State’s economy – politicians, taxes, and a lack of vision or will to do anything substantive.


Michael Vasquez

Michael "Vass" Vasquez

Michael “Vass” Vasquez

***Note – Mr. Vasquez is exploring a run for the NY-22 Congressional seat, currently held by fellow Republican Rep. Richard Hanna, in 2014***

Thoughts on President Obama’s jaunt through New York

So President Obama came to New York State. For all the hype and press that goes with a presidential visit, what did New York and America get?

Predictably, in fact I surmised as much on Monday August 19, 2013 in my appearance on Bob Joseph Show (WNBF Talk Radio), President Obama avoided like the plague the key issues facing New York State. Fracking? Not a word. Jobs? Far on the horizon. This was about higher education, first last, and only.

wrong track
But did the new proposals do anything to improve the education system? No. If anything, a very sound argument can be made that the net result will be that colleges will lower the bar and standards will be eased. The purpose of higher learning has been even more obscured by a potential hurdle of even more red tape and gaming the numbers to score federal dollars.

President Obama, without intending to do so, has placed a directive in front of college administrations – dumb down the courses so more kids pass and you will get boatloads of taxpayer dollars. At the same time, cherry-pick the best students, and steer them to careers that make big money – business and lawyers, ect – and the Government will reward you.

How can I conclude this?

Well the criteria laid out by President Obama is to emphasize the number of students graduating. There are only 2 ways to do that, either kids will be smarter and more focused entering college or the requirements to pass will be lowered. The first option isn’t happening, nor is such an outcome even on the horizon. Yet President Obama has almost mandated that to have any hope of even a mediocre career some form of college is required and every child in America must attain that. So a bigger demand for college, and a threat of funding losses without high graduation percentages, yet no improvement in quality of students equates to turning a bachelor’s degree into a high school diploma.

On the other end, there is the money component. If a college has a huge number of graduates, who are incompetent or unprepared for the real world due to a need for large class exit numbers, then the other grading factor of how much graduates make becomes another game that bodes poorly for the masses. The best students, those that have the greatest potential must be steered from things like teaching, philosophy, science (other than engineering), English, and other cash-poor positions.

Teachers have been screaming (rightly to a degree) that they are underpaid for decades. What job is perfect for a philosophy degree? What’s the demand industry that requires a history degree? On the other hand though, 1 MBA or lawyer can make the same money as 5 other occupations. So the trade-off is a dozen basket weaving degrees for every MBA or lawyer or engineer. The net result? Reinforcing an elitist and economically segregated class of individuals at the expense of the masses.

But let’s just drop that issue where it is. Plenty of others will debate the merits and Government red tape that has been proposed.

Why did President Obama pick New York? Why did he pick Binghamton?

New York is blue. It’s one of the largest and most secure Democrat safe havens in the nation. Coming here ensures that most of the press coverage will be positive, no matter how many prominent issues are left by the wayside. It also means that most politicians will be given a boost in upcoming State and local elections, a sure way to rally the base and generate donations. As for the NY-22, well it’s not like the Republican incumbent will say anything or even attempt a public outcry. Lastly, it makes a convenient road trip to what really matters – setting VP Biden on the road to his own Presidential ambitions.

There are 131 colleges in New York State, 36 community colleges, and a horde of vocational and technical institutes. Comparatively, New York is one of the most accessible and cost-effective States to get a higher education at in the nation. What has been proposed will not make New York any more accessible, though it could make a degree from here less desirable.

President Obama could have come to New York to discuss natural gas, a major issue that he spoke about in at least 2 State of the Union Addresses. It’s green, and benefits the nation. It’s topical, and a major economic concern for a nation wallowing in debt. It’s a source of jobs, which can be used to pay for the higher education that President Obama ranks as an absolute necessity.

President Obama could have talked about jobs that would provide a means to pay for college. Broome County alone exceeds the national average of unemployment, and the day that temporary construction stops it will be massively higher. But the president was silent.

President Obama could have also spoken about encouraging new business growth from these college graduates – except New York is the least business friendly State in the nation (followed closely by the other pillar of blue States, California). Of course the fact that there continues to be a mass exodus of people and business from New York was another issue that was both without solution or concern.

Obviously President Obama didn’t even pause to consider the topics. Which seems to indicate that this tour wasn’t about a benefit to the nation, but a way to safely avoid bigger issues he didn’t want to address at the time. Good for VP Biden, not so much for everyone else.

New York State should be insulted. President Obama presented half thought out ideas with negative consequences that are very real and apparent to anyone not insulated in a bubble of ideological snobs and political panderers. He thumbed his nose at the concerns of the State, with an impact on the lives of every American.

Higher education is a great goal, but without the backbone of strong leadership and the foundation of the integral fundamentals of jobs, K-12 education, debt reduction, and population retention it’s just hype.

Response to article: Hanna: Every day… you get to help someone

The following letter has been submitted as a Letter to the Editor of the Binghamton Press & Sun, Norwich Evening Sun, and Utica Observer-Dispatch. This is a verbatim copy.

On May 21st Rep. Richard Hanna spoke with the editorial board of the Utica Observer-Dispatch, about the objectives of his second term. While there may have been far more detail in that conversation than was reported, what was stated leaves questions that demand clarification from Rep. Hanna.

First and foremost is the question about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) jobs. While there has been a push by Rep. Hanna to promote this, his position has been unclear.

As has been widely reported, Rep. Hanna supports promoting immigration reform that would allow foreigners to gain these jobs – clarified as a “temporary” stopgap measure until more Americans are available for those jobs. His support has been so strong that he failed to appear at a Joint Economic Committee meeting [April 24, 2013 - Lawmaker Unemployment Hearing Attended By Single Member of Congress At Opening] on resolving long-term unemployment. Instead, on that same day he provided a written support of immigration reform [April 24, 2013 - Help Wanted: The STEM workforce shortage] specifically targeting increasing H1-B Visas. Yet, in a Joint Economic Committee meeting that he did subsequently appear in [May 10, 2013 - Here’s the economic advice Congress is getting on immigration], Rep. Hanna apparently voiced concern over the competition that an increase of the immigrant workforce would naturally create.

Politics may allow for claiming both sides of an argument, but Representatives should be clear when speaking with constituents about which side they actually stand on. Further, what exactly is “temporary”?

If a greater focus on STEM education were to be enacted tomorrow, does that mean that foreigners (under the position Rep. Hanna promotes) should be favored for these jobs for the next 4 years – until current college students graduate, or 8 years – when current high school students could graduate college, or 12 years – when those high school students graduate college with advanced degrees?

Most importantly, on this issue, shouldn’t the Representative be direct enough to clarify that regardless of the path taken, the reality is that STEM jobs – which are a fraction of the jobs available in New York State and the nation – will take a long time to occur and will not effectively help the current above national average unemployment besieging constituents of the NY 22nd Congressional District.

Perhaps another question that should be asked is how this focus on STEM jobs will benefit the constituents of NY when – as stated by Rep. Hanna on January 29, 2013 [Hanna shares political beliefs and concerns at annual meeting] – “Especially in Upstate New York, where agriculture affects about 80 percent of our economy.

Rather, given the fact that New York State is consistently viewed as the most business unfriendly State in the nation (a race to the bottom in many reports versus current progressive ‘capital’ California – which Gov. Cuomo in his 2013 State of the State Address seeks to surpass), and that America as a nation is one of the least competitive due to our corporate tax rate of 39.1% [April 13, 2013 - Yes, Sen. Sanders, We Really Do Have the Highest Corporate Tax Rate in the World], wouldn’t a focus on forcing Congress and President Obama (who made a big deal of reducing the corporate rate during his 2012 election campaign) to lower the corporate rate be the best short- and long-term solution? A solution that can promote small business growth, creating a greater demand for STEM jobs in Upstate New York and the nation – which would motivate students to not only seek these fields, but to decide to stay in NY once they have gained that degree. A solution that also helps improve the national economy and long-term unemployment.

I have been speaking with many Americans across the NY-22 as part of my exploration on a run for the District, and have been following for a long time the national desire to lower the corporate rate. The benefit seems clear and generally bi-partisan (excluding the desire by some to emphasize increased taxes as a solution – that has as yet to provide the boost the nation continues to seek). Why is the focus not on this solution that can be a broad based benefit?

The answer could be the appeal of gaining part of the potential 11 million new voters that current proposals on immigration reform may provide. Understandably, from a political power standpoint, that is an issue that must be addressed. But to focus on that political ambition, via obfuscation on the more pervasive and imminent problem of unemployment and economic health, is a disservice to the constituents and nation.

If we want to truly promote STEM jobs and education, and motivate small business growth, for New York State and the nation, then a “temporary” fix will not do. We need to address the core problem, and corporate tax rates are part of that core problem. More direct discussion and action on that will do better to provide the end result than foreign immigrants and HB-1 visas.


Michael Vasquez

Note – Michael Vasquez has formed an exploratory committee to determine a potential run in the 2014 NY election for the 22nd Congressional District, which Rep. Richard Hanna represents. The exploratory site can be found at

Why wasn’t Rep. Hanna at Joint Economic Committee meeting on unemployment?

On April 24, 2013 the Joint Economic Committee, made up of Senators and Representatives from Congress, had a meeting to discuss the resolution to long-term unemployment (roughly 40% of those unemployed at this time). Virtually all members of this committee, Democrat and Republican alike, failed to appear (as reported by Huffington Post and National Journal).

It is not our purpose to ask why the other Senators and Representatives did not appear at this event, that is for the constituents those elected officials must answer to. We do have a question for Rep. Richard Hanna, who represents the New York 22nd Congressional District. Why wouldn’t the elected representative appear at a meeting to address a national concern – especially as Binghamton (8.8%) and Utica-Rome (9.0%) exceed the national unemployment rate (7.4%). In fact, not a single county in the NY-22 has less than 8.0% unemployment, several having as much as 11% unemployment according to the NY State Labor Dept.

In addition, Rep. Hanna did have the time to issue a letter, to Politico, addressing the need for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs to improve small business. The solution offered by Rep. Hanna was an increase in foreign visas and immigration reform.

“There are many worthy policy proposals to consider that could help achieve this desirable end. Whether it be an increased H-1B visa cap, an automatic visa for foreign students that graduate from a U.S. college with an advanced STEM degree, or another system altogether, if Congress undertakes immigration reform without permitting small businesses to access the qualified STEM workers they are clamoring for now we will be missing an opportunity to revitalize our economy.”

Thus we must ask, why was Rep. Hanna not at a meeting for resolving long-term unemployment while at the same time urging immigration reform to resolve STEM jobs? Is this what the constituents of the New York 22nd District believe, is this a representation of their views?

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 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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