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Rep. Hanna asked NY-22 to look at his record, here is what I found…

On May 2, 2014, Rep. Richard Hanna asked Republican voters listening to WIBX to review his record and decide who to vote for in the June 24th NY Primary, which without a Democrat running is effectively the congressional election.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

I took his advice, and this is what I found:

  1. Since 2010, Rep. Hanna has passed 2 commemorative coin Bills, and named a post office (from 2011 to present).

  2. Every other Bill that Rep. Hanna has created since 2011 is dead in the water with no significant support from Dems or Republicans – including the non-partisan Bill to give reservist who died serving our nation at war gravestones.

Going no further, that raises the question of just how effective Rep. Hanna is in Congress. But moving on… Rep. Hanna is also ambivalent, and flip-flops, on a lot of major issues.

According to the record, he has taken both sides on restricting the NSA. He has said he opposes abortion, but voted to support late-term abortions. He supports STEM jobs for Americans but is pushing to give 160,000 STEM jobs to foreign students instead of American students.

But what does Rep. Hanna do when it really matters?

  • With the debate over the 1st Amendment on the line in 2012, via the Stop Online Piracy Act, Rep. Hanna had no opinion beyond listening to the debate.
  • With Syria, as President Obama sought to grab greater power and push America into a unilateral war, Rep. Hanna had no opinion until the issue was over.
  • After 40 votes on Obamacare – that Rep. Hanna has called “ceremonial” (as seen on Youtube) – when it mattered in 2013, he voted with Democrats to fund Obamacare without condition.
      He has also attacked the alternatives provided by Republicans since 2011.
  • While claiming to be fiscally responsible, Rep. Hanna voted to cut military pensions and provide Democrats with unlimited debt ceiling increases in spending, January 2014.
  • With the revelation of the White House lying to the public on Benghazi, as proven by a recent email disclosed this week, Rep. Hanna – according to his statements live on-air on May 2nd – either has no idea what is going on, or just agrees with former Secretary Hillary Clinton.

    So with just a cursory view of Rep. Hanna’s record, I conclude:

    1. Rep. Hanna has justified his rating as the 3rd most Liberal Republican in Congress (he calls himself a moderate).

    2. His talk of the benefit to constituents from his support for Democrats and their issues does not exist.
    3. He actively supports issues that his constituents oppose.
    4. Rep. Hanna supports a “bandwagoning” approach to his work in Congress – he says and does almost nothing until he can safely jump on the winning side of an issue, regardless of constituent opinion.

    When I look at the record, I see a New York City Democrat on the Upstate NY Republican ballot. I see someone who is either ineffective in the job, or otherwise inconsiderate of representing the voters that elected him.

    Thus I support Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. Because she is the only consistent, accountable, voice of voters in the NY 22nd Congressional race.

    But don’t take my word for it.

    Follow the request of Rep. Hanna and actually look at his record yourself. Then ask yourself, are these votes and public comments reflecting the core values of the Republican Party? Is this action, and inaction, representing your values in Congress?

    Then go vote in the NY 22nd congressional district primary for Congress on June 24th.

  • 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.

    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?

    Is representing the NY-22 extreme or just right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    But that is my opinion on that.

    Sincerely

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

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