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Rep. Richard Hanna is no champion of 1st Amendment

On 4/30/14, Rep. Richard Hanna made an attempt to attack Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney over the 1st Amendment. The goal was to try to position Rep. Hanna as a champion of the Constitution – in other words he is trying to move to the Right to salvage votes. A pure re-election political move.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)


This is laughable when you consider that, by his own words, Rep. Hanna is a moderate. In fact, as he said to Time Magazine in 2010, “Most of them are” more Conservative than [Hanna]. The recent ranking of Hanna as the 3rd most Liberal Republican in Congress (2013) also fails to convey the image of a defender of the Constitution his campaign is trying desperately to re-imagine him as (in fact in 2011 National Journal rated Hanna less conservative than Dem Mike Acuri he replaced.

This is further backed up by the fact that Hanna, after being elected to Congress on the support of Conservatives and the Tea Party in 2010, has rejected the Conservatives – recently calling them “extremists“. This is at the core of why Hanna was rejected by the NY Conservative Party in 2012, and incapable of getting their line on the ballot in 2014.

Thus the posturing as a candidate with Conservative values is (in my opinion) just that, posturing.

But it gets worse.

Let’s look at the record – something that Rep. Hanna tries very hard not to refer to for himself. In this case the issue of Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a prime example. SOPA was an infringement on the 1st Amendment rights of every internet user. In 2012 there was a massive outcry against this Bill, and its counterpart in the Senate called PIPA. I wrote about that at the time (which has since been cited as part of a scholarly publication – Always Connected:The Power of Broadcasting and Social Media)

“In other cases [internet censorship] is merely the attempt of Governments trying to isolate and remove thought it does not like.”

So on this massive 1st Amendment issue, where did our johnnie-come-lately psuedo-Conservative (or just plain RINO if you prefer) Rep. Hanna stand? Well, that’s a good question as there is no real evidence he took any position on the issue.

According to ProPublica Rep. Hanna had no position on the issue. Wikipedia fails to list his name as a supporter or opponent.

In fact, at the time in 2012, the Hanna office had this to say to opponents of this free speech killing Bill (according to Aurburnpub.com)

“Rep. Hanna is listening to the debate and appreciates the outpouring of constituent input. Rep. Hanna believes strongly in the importance of free speech and a vibrant Internet and will remain cautious when considering any attempts to limit either.”

In effect, I believe, Rep. Hanna said he was sitting on the fence, waiting for the bandwagon of consensus to come by so he could jump on. Not exactly a champion of the Constitution or the 1st Amendment.

There is an old saying, ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks.‘ For some politicians the saying is more along the lines of ‘I hope people pay attention to the rocks and not the baggage in the glass house.

If Rep. Hanna wants to try to stand in front of the public and pound his chest, he should try hard to do so on an issue where he has actually taken a stand – if such an issue can be found. If Hanna wants to lure voters, he might also limit that search to issues and Bills where he stands with the public – which will be doubly hard based on his record that he hopes no one will look at.

Rep. Richard Hanna attacks with “bait & switch” tactic to avoid voters

What do you do if you are an incumbent with a record of attacking your own Party, voting against the wishes of constituents, and supporting job creation for foreigners over Americans? In the case of Rep. Richard Hanna, you avoid any public instance of defending your record and instead try to distract voters. A classic bait and switch manuever, one of the very worst of immoral sales tactics.

To be clear, on 4/21/14, WNBF News Radio and Time Warner Cable invited Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney and the incumbent to debate the issues. This is a critical offer as there is no Democrat in the race and whomever wins the NY Primary on June 24th will defacto be the next Representative in Congress for the NY 22nd Congressional District.

Assemblywoman Tenney accepted. Rep. Richard Hanna made no comment. Until April 24th. That when he went on the offensive in an offense to voters.

Rep. Hanna chose to try to steer the discussion away from the issue at hand, which is his voting record and positions he has taken. Instead he has attacked Claudia Tenney about doing her job as an Assemblywoman. He has tried to shift the race for the NY-22 to a race for the 101st Assembly seat – which is not even in question at this time.

Hidden deep in the attack on Tenney was the following response about the actual issue, the debates, “A Hanna spokesperson says the Congressman has neither officially accepted nor refused the offer to debate.”

Neither refused or accepted? Which is it? Why is there such ambivalence?

Still, the response is not shocking. Rep. Hanna took the same stance in the summer of 2014, while the nation and the world took a position on the unilateral actions of President Obama and Syria. At the time I stated,

“[Hanna] 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

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

Of course Rep. Hanna learned from his honest portrayal of his bandwagoning attempt in 2013. Thus we see that in 2014, rather than take a stand so that voters can actually evaluate him, he has chosen to deflect away from the issue. He is actively hiding from the voters – a sure sign in my mind that he is aware that his record will cost him the election if anyone looks at it.

Once again Rep. Hanna assumes that the public is too dumb to see his actions for what they are, and he hopes (I believe) that they are too apathetic to take action in the Primary in June. I believe he is wrong on both counts.

The NY-22, and America as a whole, deserve to have politicians that are willing to stand up and be accountable. Congress is rife with manipulators that are only successful at maintaining their own positions of power, and the approval rating reflects this. It is well beyond time that we see principled, consistent, accountable representation on the floor of Congress.

The fact that Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney has a record that confirms this is a threat to the re-election of Rep. Hanna, and thus – without a record of consistency or even publicly supported positions – the Hanna campaign is resorting to dirty tricks and mudslinging.

I think we can clearly see why he won’t take a position on a debate.

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.

Vasquez1449
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

Response from WIBX 950AM

The following is the verbatim written response from Jeff Monaski of WIBX 950AM. This response is a followup to the phone conversation on 3/28/14.

I accept the explanation of Mr. Monaski that this was an unintentional error, and has occurred on this program in the past, on calls of various natures. I thank Mr. Monaski for contacting me swiftly, and verifying that this was not an act of bias or misrepresentation, and no edit occurred – live or in post-edit.

As stated in my open letter, and as I have always done in my work as a political commentator for nearly a decade, I am providing the verbatim response so that there is clarity for all who may be concerned.

************************************************************************************************************

Mr. Vasquez,

It was nice speaking with you this morning and I wanted to follow up with an email to clear up any misunderstanding as it relates to your interview on the WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning program on WIBX 950 in Utica.

As I indicated on the phone with you, I absolutely disagree with your labeling of the interview and subsequent email as a misrepresentation of your comments/answers, and I do not believe there was any bias during the interview. It was also mentioned in your email to us that you felt the interview was edited:

…That recording makes it clear that my answers were edited, either live or in post-production, to limit the information that I believe is vital for voters and the general public in this election. It is an obvious and crude manipulation, the reason for which is unknown to me – nor that I care about….

I want to assure you that this is not the case with your interview, nor is it ever the case with our morning show or any local programming provided by WIBX. The audio found in ‘Keeler Show Notes’ (which can be found here: http://wibx950.com/keeler-in-the-morning-show-notes-for-thurs-march-27th/) is the full, exact and complete interview that aired LIVE when you joined us by phone on the morning of March 27, 2014.

There is one point in the interview where host Bill Keeler attempts to ask a question, and does so with the belief that you had completed your previous answer. In doing so, he lowers the ‘telephone’ line, which you are on. This is common and was not done to edit, mute or otherwise distort your answer. You did not hear his next question and continued to answer the previous one, as heard in the audio file you referenced. There was no fault of either party, and does sometimes happen with a fast paced, interview program.

We thank you for taking the time to join us on the show, and hope that you will consider doing so in the future to discuss your candidacy for New York’s 22nd Congressional District.

And, thank you for reaching out because this provided an opportunity to clear the air, if you will. I did not want you to think we edited or changed the content of your interview.

In the case that your supporters feel this is the case, I would appreciate you sharing this email – and your own feelings – to correct the record.

Thank you again

Jeff Monaski
WIBX Program Director

Media bias in the NY-22 mid-term elections

To the management of WIBX 950AM,

I am writing this letter in regard to my interview on 3/27/14 at 7:20am, on the Keeler in the Morning program on your station WIBX 950AM.

I am a candidate for the NY 22nd Congressional District, and as such I have had well over a dozen news media interviews, as well as speeches with questions & answers and private conversations with various political organizations where I have been grilled for literally hours on every aspect of the congressional race. In all cases I have never encountered the apparent bias that has occurred on this program.

While I cannot confirm how this program was heard live, I have listened to the interview posted on your website for the public. That recording makes it clear that my answers were edited, either live or in post-production, to limit the information that I believe is vital for voters and the general public in this election. It is an obvious and crude manipulation, the reason for which is unknown to me – nor that I care about.

WIBX 950AM, Keeler in the Morning

Keeler in the Morning


Let me be clear – the recording provided via your website active displays that my a portion of my answers were muted or otherwise cut off as I was speaking, the track overlaid with Mr. Keeler speaking, and then returns to me continuing to speak to the question asked. That is manipulation of the highest order and is beneath the quality of service I am sure you try to provide your audience.

I am not afraid of relevant questions asked of me. I am an advocate of the public making their own choice in this critical primary that will likely decide the congressional Representative for the NY-22. But I am livid when an interviewer unilaterally decides what content the public can or cannot receive in response to a question that is being asked of a candidate.

This action is a disservice to the public, and apparently may be a reflection of favoritism of Mr. Keeler for the incumbent. While I have no concern for what political preferences Mr. Keeler may have, it is a type of violation of the 1st Amendment to impose his preferences on the public and an insult to me as a candidate.

I will NOT accept another interview with Mr. Keeler, though I am open to interviews with any other member of your staff and organization. While it is your right to employ whomever you wish, it is my right to decline to support actions and/or individuals that I feel are deceptive and against the public good.

I hold no ill will to you or your radio station. I would ask that Mr. Keeler admit his actions, and publicly apologize for his apparent manipulation and deception against the public. Even if this action is taken, I will not interview with him again on any matter as I feel I cannot trust his character or intentions.

Sincerely

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

** I have made this letter public as the actions taken directly affect the public, and they deserve to be aware of this. I will happily provide equal public notice of any response you request or provide to this letter. **

Sent to: Jeff Monaski, WIBX Program Director; Karen Carey, WIBX General Manager; TownSquare Media Corporate offices

The real barrier to immigration reform

In the March 2nd article, New York’s GOP House members patient on immigration reform – by Brian Tumulty, one of the greatest hurdles to immigration reform – and multiple other issues facing our nation – was revealed in a simple statement. The problem is not a question of amnesty for illegal aliens, though that is an important issue that must be dealt with, but an issue that is even bigger and more problematic. A lack of decisiveness and clarity.

In a nation of some 310 million people, that are from every corner of the world, every religion in the world, every anything in the world, there will always be disagreement whenever there is a choice to be made. Part of the job of our elected politicians is to represent and reflect the overall views and ideals of the constituents that elected them. It is also the obligation of the politicians, especially on the Federal level, to present the issues to the public – with their understanding of what is the best choices of action, so that the people can then offer the direction they believe is best for our nation. This is integral to our Government functioning.

This critical system of checks and balance, of the power of the people, fails as voter apathy grows. In the absence of the voice of the people, political parties and special interest groups assert more influence and politicians tend to act first and then dictate that decision to the public.

The flipside of this is in ways worse – the politician fails to take a position and fails to provide guidance to the constituents. The result is generally a last minute decision, based solely on the projected impact on the re-election benefits and detractions for that incumbent.

Both of these things remove the connection of Government and the people, increasing the voter apathy, and creating a self-fulfilling loop of poor leadership, distrust of the Government, and a nation that ultimately follows the wrong path.

Case in point is the abovementioned article. Of the 4 Republicans comments on the issue of immigration reform, only 1 lacked an actual position. Whether or not constituents agree with the positions of 3 of the Republican Representatives is up to them, and in having a position a discourse on what is the right decision for the nation can evolve. But when there is no position, there is no real discussion.

Or, taken from another viewpoint, the Representative without opinion on a critical and sensitive national issue that has been under debate for decades may well disregard the voice and opinion of his constituents to appease whatever special interest makes the best argument. This is NOT how our system is set up.

Rep. Richard Hanna said,

“I honestly haven’t thought about it, and it is a complicated issue. I am on the record multiple times to have immigration reform brought to the floor.”

What does that mean? How does that reflect, in any manner, the opinions and voice of ANY of the constituents in the NY 22nd Congressional District?

Some might be amazed that an incumbent, especially one seeking re-election, would admit they have no opinion on a hot-button, national issue. Some might be concerned that an incumbent, who has many constituents that will be directly affected by any reform, would fail to consider regularly the pros and cons of such a major issue. Others will reflect that such an answer is a perfect position for a politician seeking re-election – as it allows the incumbent to pivot to whatever answer will provide the most votes, and still vote in almost any manner when the time comes.

The NY-22, and the nation, deserve better from our elected Representatives. We deserve clear and concise answers, backed-up by whatever logic the politician has. With luck, given the nature of politicians these days, it should even be a position consistent with what the politician has stated in the past. With extreme luck, it will also be a position that the voters themselves hold.

My opponent may, or may not, be aware that most people I have spoken to in the NY-22 want an immigration reform that will provide farmers with a predictable and definitive workforce, shows compassion for the children of illegal aliens who have no choice in the actions of their parents, and yet holds consequences for willingly violating the law of the land.

A comprehensive immigration reform, for the voters of the NY 22nd Congressional District, must therefore impose a penalty for breaking the law, in addition to NOT providing amnesty, while improving the immigration system for the future.

I have stated before, I believe that any immigration reform should include a $1,000/year fine, require that all illegal aliens currently in the U.S. must register and be placed at the end of the waiting list to become citizens, and that they cannot have any felonies – before or during this process. Most importantly, any legislation should directly state that this act of forgoing further legal incarceration or deportation, under these terms, is a 1 time event and will not be repeated in the future – thus discouraging future illegal aliens from trying to wait out the public patience.

Not everyone will agree with this solution. But that is ok, as it creates an opportunity for debate and discussion among the public. A dialogue allows for the best compromise, legislation that encompasses a respect for the law, the compassion of the American people, and the concerns of business as well as illegal aliens seeking a better future for themselves and their families.

An answer that fails to take a position, whatever that position may be, is sure to be good for re-election bids, but miserably fail to represent even the most slim proportion of constituents.

The failure on immigration is not that there are political sides to the issue, or that there is disagreement on the best course forward. The failure is that too many politicians are jockeying for re-election and failing to take any side – negating the potential for compromise and devaluing the people being represented.

2013 rewind: The interviews of NY-22 candidate Michael Vasquez and the media

The following are all the media interviews we have recorded of every interview with the media and New York 22nd Congressional candidate Michael Vasquez.

The videos are listed in chronological order from the exploratory committee in April 2013 through the official announcement of a run for Congress in November 2013, up until the end of the year.

Exploratory Committee

WBGH -

April 2013

YNN –

April 2013

WNBF -

August 2013 – part 1

August 2013 – part 2

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Announced run for 2014 NY 22nd Congressional seat

WICZ –

November 2013

WKTV –

November 2013

WNBF –

November 2013 – Part 1

November 2013 – Part 2

WUTQ –

November 2013

WBGH –

December 2013

Exceptional Conservative Show with Ken McClenton (D.C. based) -

December 2013 – Part 1

December 2013 – Part 2

Internet and Newspaper articles/interviews for 2013 include: Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin, Herkimer Evening Telegram, Houston Conservative Examiner, Ithacajournal.com, Utica Observer-Dispatch and others.

To learn more about NY congressional candidate Michael Vasquez, and/or to lend your support, please visit www.MichaelVasquezforCongress.com.

Rep. Hanna’s 2013 report card – a more realistic review

At the end of 2013 my opponent for the NY 22nd Congressional district, the incumbent Rep. Richard Hanna, released a summary of his efforts in Congress as a show of his dedication to the concerns of constituents. It’s a great gesture, but if looked at in context it is just a gesture.

Let me explain.

In the middle of page 3, right after the table of contents, a “snapshot of 2013 by-the-numbers” is presented. In the very first item, my point is made explicitly clear –

174 public Vote Explanations posted on Facebook, Twitter and Hanna.House.Gov

This is a lie, and I dare Rep. Hanna to sue me because I’m right. The total is 175. Because Rep. Hanna removed one of his public statements. Specifically How I voted on HR 2397 – which now comes up with a 404 error if you search for it.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

Why is it missing and unaccounted for? Because in that article, published at 8:30 AM on July 25th, Rep. Hanna stated that he voted to protect the public from the abuses of the NSA. That statement flies in the face of his actual vote on July 24th – against the Amash Amendment which would have protected the public from NSA abuses.

Thus, since the full unedited original article has yet to be placed back into the record, I am led to believe Rep. Hanna is actively hiding his record from the public on an issue constituents are very concerned about. A record that isn’t always in the interest, or even good faith, of what the people he was elected to represent wanted and believe, I am led to conclude.

I say this directly, Rep. Hanna, if a word of what I have just said is untrue – sue me and I will exit the race for Congress.

You can decide for yourself what you make of this shell-game with the facts. But moving on.

On page 3, and elsewhere in the document, Rep. Hanna takes great pains to highlight the 9 Bills and resolutions he sponsored, as well as the 216 he co-sponsored. What my opponent fails to note, and hopes voters won’t notice, is what he does not include in the snapshot or the document… the number of Bills and/or Resolutions he had pass in the House of Representatives, let alone become law. An omission based on the failure to actually succeed since being elected in 2010.

My opponent paints a happy picture of the status on HR 2310 – a Bill that would provide headstones for Reservists that have died in combat for this nation. A Bill that is frozen in Congress and will likely never become law. Even though the cost is negligible, it is a bi-partisan issue, it is supported by veterans and the public, and there are 89 current members of Congress that are former military that would never dare vote against this Bill. Oh, and only 5 members of Congress, that are former military, support this Bill.

Which brings up the question of why? Has my opponent presented this to them? If not he is being inefficient, if he has then he is ineffective for the reasons why this Bill has universal appeal already stated.

There are other such examples, like H Res 134 (condemning North Korea) and H Res 190 (condemning the Boston Marathon bombing), each of which failed to garner support though there is universal bipartisan support for the issues addressed. Again, were these resolutions with less than 10% support framed a successes because the question of effectiveness and efficiency would be asked – and a shrewd politician obfuscates any question that might cause them to lose votes, no matter how true?

On page 4 of the report card, my opponent then makes this statement

“It is clear that in many ways Washington is broken as 2013 draws to a close. I am pleased to report that your office is not.”

Inefficiency, ineffectiveness, lack of representation of the voters and public in the 22nd District are not examples of a broken elected “office”, I agree. But it is a clear indicator, in my opinion, of one that is perhaps inept. It is an example of something that needs to be corrected, as Government is broken because too many in Congress are very good politicians just like Rep. Hanna seems to be.

You may disagree, but I will press on yet again.

The report card on my opponent then goes through several pages of his biography, the mission his elected office has in Congress (working for the people – not representing them, which is not the same thing by far), a nice picture of the NY 22nd District, and the multiple Committees that my opponent sat on in one of the least trusted and approved Congresses in the history of Congress. In fact 2013 was one of the least functional Congresses ever. Which calls to question how much value sitting on multiple sub-Committees matters when the entire Congress is failing to get anything substantial done.

But I digress. Thus, eventually, the report card gets back to the point of what was actually done.

The first thing it highlights is transparency and accountability. To this it restates the factually incorrect 174 disclosures. It is amazing how in a single figure my opponent, calls into question the transparency he presents to the public and simultaneously fails to be accountable to that same public – all at the same time.

My opponent then takes pride in being ranked as one of the most Liberal Republicans in Congress in 2013. That can be also stated as one of the most Conservative Democrats, or the most Moderate, or as he states “most independent Republican” – they are all equivalent terms I believe. But independent sounds far better than what some might call an elected official that actively tries to grow the opposition Party (as Rep. Hanna did when he told women voters to join the Democrat Party).

He then pats himself on the back for job creation awards (while there are over 20 million Americans still underemployed and the participation rate is at a low of 63%), lauds himself for his NRA rating (though he failed to show up at Remington Arms when President Obama was placing gun manufacturers under siege at the beginning of 2013, though he did months after the gun restriction debate had died down), and then hypes himself on his work with STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] jobs.

Let me pause there. My opponent, the incumbent Congressman, wants to be praised for trying to pass HR 2131 – the SKILLS Visa Act – that would give 160,000 STEM jobs to foreign immigrants instead of American workers. I’ve talked to a lot of people in the NY-22, and I don’t know any who have said they support that.

Rep Hanna then moves on to talking about how many people he responded to in 2013. The numbers sound impressive, until compared to the number of people in the NY-22 (over 700,000). Plus the number seems a bit vague. How many people sent letters and request to Rep. Hanna? What is the percentage of responses? It’s not quibbling when you consider that I have talked to dozens of people who state that Rep. Hanna never responded to a single letter or request they made. Even more important to me considering that I still have not gotten any form of response from a single letter that I wrote to Rep. Hanna since 2012 – even to this day his office has not responded to me or my media company, ever. How may others received the same disregard – 100? 10,000? 100,000? My opponent avoids saying.

Finally, on page 12, my opponent notes what he actually did in Congress in 2013. He presents just 1 Bill passed, for baseball coins. But he gives equal billing, in great wording, to HR 2310, H Res 134, and H Res 190. He makes it seem like getting less than 10% support on universal, bipartisan, unopposed items is success – and perhaps in a Congress with an approval rating of 8% it is. But I tend to think the public expects more. From Congress, their Representative, and Government in general.

On page 14 my opponent starts to name all the great causes he supports. He leaves out the fact that he doesn’t mind making “symbolic votes”, as he has admitted and is available to be seen on a Youtube video of an interview he did. He leaves out his apparent rejection of Republican women. He avoids his flip-flop on late-term abortions. He all but forgets his inability to take a side about Syria. He completely disregards his multiple flip-flops on immigration, and his apparent preference (finally) to support reforms on immigration that 9 out of 10 residents of the NY 22nd Congressional District that I have spoken to do not support. He even glosses over the fact that his sudden defense of truck drivers comes more than a year after the rules were changed and several months after the rules went into effect (even though the trucking industry has been fighting this issue since 2012 amid my opponents silence on the issue).

By page 21, my opponent resorts to taking a bow for the pork-spending that endears Congress to some, and has guaranteed re-election to more than a few politicians that have been in office so long they seem to believe themselves to be a nobility (I offer the examples of Sen. Harry Reid, and Sen. Schumer, but there are dozens of others).

Of course the numbers are spread out so as to hide the very apparent bias to the northern end of the NY-22. The Southern Tier received $5 million in funds (Broome and Tioga Counties), Central NY – the middle of the District – received $6 million (Cortland and Chenango), with the north (Oswego, Herkimer, Oneida, and Madison) getting $9 million. If you take out flood relief for Central NY and the Southern Tier, which had little to do with the Congressman, the difference in actions becomes vastly apparent (almost 2-1 bias toward the northern end of the district).

My opponent of course makes room to note the obligatory shaking hands and kissing babies that is part and parcel of all politicians. 2 pages for that. My opponent then goes on to highlight 2 pages of highly selective quotes from cherry-picked news items to finish the report card.

I imagine every student in any educational institution envies the ability of Rep. Richard Hanna, like President Obama, to create their own report card and grading system.

With all honesty I cannot say that my opponent was a complete failure in 2013. He did accomplish some goals that constituents wanted. There were some issues that he could do nothing about (though he could have said far more in my opinion – like Syria, abuse of Executive Orders, overreach of the NSA and IRS, ect). But that does not excuse or even equal the things that he did have control over and failed on.

If we were to be fair, and I am trying my best to be objective though he is my opponent, a true grade of the overall performance in 2013 would be a D+. Transparency and Accountability would be an F-. Effectiveness would be a D+. Efficiency would be a D+. Consistency would be a F-. Leadership would be a D. Responsiveness (to the political ramifications) would be a shining star with a C. Deficit spending would be a B-. Flip-flopping would be an A+.

At the end of the day what will this all mean? That is for voters to decide. But I believe, if voters look at the whole picture – at what is being omitted and hidden, what was done and what was calculated for political gain, what has been done in the name of the NY-22 that fails to reflect the views of the people of the NY-22 – then I believe 2014 will see my opponent, Rep. Hanna, fail to graduate.

Sincerely

Michael Vasquez

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