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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?

Michael Vasquez speech on 2014 run for Congress – Binghamton, NY

Hello, my name is Michael Vasquez and I want to thank you for joining me today.

Michael "Vass" Vasquez

Michael “Vass” Vasquez


As some may be aware, for years I have maintained my small business as a political commentator of national news, and interviewing candidates and elected officials across Central NY and the Southern Tier. My efforts have led to 2 citations in scholarly works and hundreds of thousands of readers across the globe via the internet. Still as a homeowner and resident of Binghamton, NY, like far too many Americans, I have felt ever less satisfied with Congress and the convictions of my Representative.

Thus, a little more than 6 months ago I made an announcement that I was exploring a run for the New York 22nd Congressional District in 2014. Since that time I have traveled across the District, speaking to college students, retirees, various professionals, housewives and everyone else. I have engaged the public in discussions about how we are being represented in Congress, the job Congress is doing and the issues facing our nation. The results of these conversations have been enlightening.

When I first looked at a run for office, the approval rate for Congress was about 17%. Jobs were the primary focus of the public, and our President had just enacted more than 20 Executive Orders that affected our freedoms – without the consent of Congress, and the silence of may Representatives.

Now the approval rate of Congress is about 8.8%, and jobs remain the main concern of the average American. The nation has endured revelations of abuse of power by the NSA, a unilateral attempt to engage in hostilities against Syria, and a famously failed launch of Obamacare, among other events.

For the NY-22, in this time span, over and over people asked where was our Representative? Where was our voice in Congress? What was being done in our collective name to make these situations better?

Over the last 6 months I have also spoken to business owners, and political organizations of all sizes. Time and again I was grilled about who I am and what I intended. Rightfully so, as I am no politician. Yet, as a former political commentator, the issues that concern all Americans are issues that I have written and spoken about for years.

My views, which are well documented in my near-decade of political commentary and news coverage, have not changed, just because of my political interests. My answers to these leaders and small business owners remain the same as what I have written on every subject that has been in the public mindset, and more than a few that weren’t.

In each of these discussions, whether to an individual or to large groups, the result was the same. I have received acclaim for my passionate belief that Congress must reconnect with the public to ensure a better Government. I have gained a following, waiting to see my next steps. I have received encouragement, with the caveat that I would face an uphill battle should I go further.

For all these reasons and more, I understood that my initial thought in April was correct. That while the NY-22 was finally a District no longer under the thumb of political gerrymandering, it was far from receiving effective leadership and representation. In fact, of those I spoke with I’d say some 1 in 10 thought that Rep. Hinchey was still in office. Almost 1 in 4 couldn’t name who represented them. Virtually half were unaware of anything that had been done by our Representative in Congress; and many of those that could were not pleased with what had been done.

I feel it is the obligation of those elected to the House of Representatives to be a reflection of the people that elected them. To present the issues facing the nation, the choice of action that the Representative feels is the best option, and to ultimately defend the position that constituents want – no matter what that position may be.

That isn’t what is happening in Congress today. Not in New York, nor in almost any other part of the nation. Some elected politicians have mastered the art of 30 second soundbites, and flip-flopping on the issues. They have become so secure in the chance of re-election, the bar to entry has been raised so high in terms of cash needed to compete, that many in Congress act as if they are the modern equivalent of nobility classes.

The disparity is too wide, the abuse of the good faith of the public to common. I can no longer sit idle, and my political commentary – like that of so many others – is not enough.

Therefore I am announcing that I will be running for the 2014 NY 22nd Congressional District seat, on the Republican ticket.

This is a grassroots effort. I am not independently wealthy, nor am I blessed with political connections built over decades for the purpose of seeking elected office. I am no politician.

I am a hard-working American home owner, who like the overwhelming majority believes that Congress is ineffective today not because of the laws in place, but the lack of conviction of many of those that have come to be elected. I am running for office, not because I desire the position, but because there is a need for a Representative that is connected to the reality average Americans face every day.

I invite everyone listening to this speech, or reading it, to seek out what I have said over the years. Learn about this candidate for Congress. Then come join me as I continue to speak across the NY-22, ask me your questions and hear my answers.

An effective Congress starts with effective Representatives that are connected to what constituents want and need. Together, I want to take our concerns to the floor of Congress. If you agree, then I hope I will earn your vote.

Thank you.

Twitter posts from August 2013 – @electvasquezny

The following can be found on my Twitter account (@electvasquezny – ask to be added to be up to date daily) from the month of June 2013:

There are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Twitter is an excellent format to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Twitter. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

1 Aug ‏@electvasquezny

If NSA XKeyscore program collects “large amount of information” that is “never reviewed” as the 2009 NSA report says, why keep it?

Would you allow FBI or NSA to stay in your house and record your activities? How is NSA programs any different?

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2 Aug @electvasquezny

Interesting that Rep Hanna (NY-22) says he supports limits on NSA, but is NOT cosponsor of http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.2399 …: – HR 2399

Amazing how 20,000 fewer jobs than expected for july and unemployment rate drops.

Did anyone else notice that long-term unemployed percentage dropped but short-term increased. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm …

@whitehouse @BarackObama as opposed to just repealing the inclusion of Congress and their aides? Double standard indeed.

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5 Aug @electvasquezny

Why didn’t press ask Rep. Hanna to explain his voting record to constituents today? How truely credible is his support for small biz?

AZ Dem Gubernatorial Candidate Darkens Skin for Commercials to Appear Hispanic http://shar.es/yqHQH via @BreitbartNews This is insulting!

politi.co/13fDRgs Some get it, others just want to discredit valid concerns they don’t want to address. Guess which is Rep Rangel.

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6 Aug @electvasquezny

@BarackObama missing key word in statement – “LEGAL”

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7 Aug @electvasquezny

@politico then why is the Government keeping all the data on tens of millions of Americans?

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9 Aug @electvasquezny

What are the Obamacare numbers for the NY-22? http://wp.me/p3tK3D-1O

What happens when Congress fails to read laws? Cities, Counties and employers scramble to the detriment of public. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130808/OPINION01/308080008/1008/OPINION01/Obamacare-leading-part-time-nation …

Just got voiceover artist Jimmyjohn McCabe on board for the commercials. With a few more donations, the ads will be up across the NY-22

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10 Aug @electvasquezny

@IngrahamAngle That does sound like Rep Richard Hanna NY-22 (R)

Pres. Obama talks NSA, Rep. Hanna visits Southern Tier, and the net result is? http://wp.me/p3tK3D-1Q

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12 Aug ‏@electvasquezny

I will be speaking on the Bob Joseph Show on WNBF on 8/19 @ 9:30am. Tune in and share the news.

I wonder if Pres. Obama would speak to the only person exploring a run for Congress in Broome County? Nah, I’m a black hispanic conservative

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20 Aug @electvasquezny

@JazzShaw of course, otherwise he might be asked to explain the failure to focus on jobs in an area with above national level unemployment.

@AP so at this point, now that media is focused elsewhere, one one being held accountable for what happened in Benghazi. Wag the dog indeed.

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21 Aug @electvasquezny

@JazzShaw he deserved to be shot. He violated his oath and damaged the nation during wartime. 35 years is not enough.

@CNN and Rep Hanna voted NOT to restrict NSA. Somehow I don’t think constituents would agree.

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22 Aug @electvasquezny

So is Pres. Obama proposing Govt will pick winners in college education like it picked “green” companies? Which college will be a Solyndra?

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23 Aug @electvasquezny

Former Maj Nidal Hasan, like prvt manning, deserves death penalty.

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28 Aug @electvasquezny

Pres Obama restricts our guns, mandates our purchase, violates immigration law, and bombs nations – all without Congress. But Bush is bad?

@electvasquezny Ok, obamacare was with a Dem supermajority that didn’t read the law. That was sort of with Congress. I stand corrected.

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29 Aug @electvasquezny

@WSJ interesting how much economy inproves without weight of stimulus as a drag

So why hasn’t Rep Hanna joined the call to have Pres Obama get authority from Congress for Syria along w 100 Repubs http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/08/28/more-than-100-lawmakers-ask-obama-to-seek-congressional-approval-on-syria-strikes/ …

Will Syria be another foreign policy flip-flop for Rep Hanna, like Libya? http://m.cnsnews.com/news/article/81-republicans-flip-flop-libya-opposition-votes …

Apparently the British can’t see a point in bombing Syria that benefits them, so why is President Obama pushing for it when America is same.

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30 Aug @electvasquezny

50% don’t want US involved w Syria (NBC poll), 80% want Congress approval, US intel still unsure of details, British are out. Time to pause

Can anyone recall the last time Britian didn’t support, even grudgingly, a military action by US?

In dictionaries, under examples of feckless you can see the following: ‘See Obama Syria bombing plan’

Pres. Obama talks NSA, Rep. Hanna visits Southern Tier, and the net result is?

For the week August 5 – August 10, there has been no end of talk from the Executive and Legislative Branches. President Obama held a press conference on 8/4, and Rep. Richard Hanna of the NY-22 was in the Southern Tier for part of the week. But what does that all mean? What is the real result of all the bluster?

NSA internet surveillence program known as PRISM
Looking at President Obama’s calls to make the NSA, and intelligence agencies in general, more transparent is a welcome sign. It has only taken 2 months of public outcry to get a response from the Obama Administration. During that time the public has become aware of the massive access that the Government has to private and personal information of virtually every American in the nation without cause. In this 2 month span, Congress discussed and voted to restrict the Patriot Act section 215 as well as programs like PRISM – the Amash Amendment (H Amend 413) was defeated in a bi-partisan vote [Rep. Hanna voted against Amash].

So President Obama, late to the issue, is now concerned about the privacy issues that he defended as “transparent” on June 17, 2013, in an interview with Charlie Rose – that was rated by the independent fact-checking source Politifact as a Pant’s On Fire lie.

Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, is quoted in that fact-check as stating
“The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s raison d’être is to prevent any information about surveillance from being made available – much less authoritative ones,” Harper said. “I don’t know of any plausible meaning of ‘transparent’ that encompasses the ‘oversight behind closed doors’ concept.”

But the question remains, how transparent will this sudden change of heart be? In the press conference President Obama did not address what is to become of the records already collected and stored indefinitely by the NSA. President Obama did not comment on how those records are being used, or how abuse is being prevented. That is especially important as Sen. Ron Wyden stated on July 30th

“We had a big development last Friday when Gen. [James] Clapper, the head of the intelligence agencies, admitted that the community had violated these court orders on phone record collection, and I’ll tell your viewers that those violations are significantly more troubling than the government has stated.”

It seems apparent that the “transparency” promised will require more than just the eloquent words of a President that has a failed track record on transparency promises, like a determined effort by members of Congress to ensure legislation as well as oversight is enacted. But Congress is divided on that point.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)


Which brings up Rep. Richard Hanna. As previously noted above, and stated in a prior article I wrote on July 25th, Rep. Hanna has voted against restricting the NSA and other agencies from the blanket powers they currently have. That is at odds with his publicized statements that he is in favor of limiting that power. Rep. Hanna is also absent his support on other legislation to restrict the blanket power of the Government to spy on average citizens, as seen in his lack of support for H.R. 2399: LIBERT-E Act. Thus his stated position seems hollow compared to his actions in Congress.

Yet such flip-flops do not seem to trouble Rep. Hanna as he visited the Southern Tier – finally. Though he has been the representative of a district that covers the Southern Tier and Central NY, he has largely avoided the area until the current recess of Congress.

While this week Rep. Hanna has talked with firefighters and Binghamton University, stating a commitment to help small business and communities, there is no lack of question to his commitment on these issues. Since 2011, when he entered Congress, Rep Hanna has sponsored and/or co-sponsored 22 Bills. Of those he has succeeded in naming a Post Office, and getting 2 baseball commemorative coin legislation passed. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, and member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Joint Economic Committee, constituents might expect more but that is not what has been received.

Still, the bigger question may be where has Rep. Hanna been before the current recess of Congress and the announcement of a potential Republican challenger (myself). One might even question if Rep. Hanna would have bothered to address the Southern Tier were it not for the potential of a challenger, as his efforts in the 2012 re-election campaign seemed to display.

Like with President Obama, Rep. Hanna appears to be trailing the needs of constituents. In fact, based on his flip-flops of making statements to constituents and voting opposite on the floor of Congress, Rep. Hanna appears to be a mysterious force in Congress. He has attacked his Party, apparently abandoned his campaign positions, and sided against the Rights and best interests of his constituents (in my opinion) on multiple occasions. One would be hard pressed to define his positions on late-term abortion, immigration reform, drones and legislation restricting their abuse by Government, or several other issues.

None of which adds any credibility or confidence in his ability or desire to actually follow up on everything discussed and presented this week in the Southern Tier.

What has the political talk of August 5th – 10th provided the New York 22nd Congressional District and the nation? Not much when any deeper consideration of what has been said is looked at. While the soundbites sound great, this cursory attempt to maintain political power and placate the public ultimately provides no confidence that anything but the current status quo will be maintained.

YNN questions Michael “Vass” Vasquez

Mr. Vasquez has stated he will be launching an exploratory committee to evaluate a run for the 22nd Congressional District – currently held by fellow Republican Rep. Richard Hanna. The announcement was made on April 23, 2013 at 2pm in Downtown Binghamton, NY. After the announcement, YNN took the opportunity to ask questions on behalf of voters.

This video is unedited for content

Q & A with YNN

Further information about the exploratory committee and the efforts of Mr. Vasquez to pursue elected office can be found at http://exploratory.electmichaelvasquez.com

Video of NY 22nd Congressional District exploratory committee announcement

The following is video of the full speech given by Michael “Vass” Vasquez on April 23, 2013. The announcement was made next to the Broome County Courthouse, at 2pm. Mr. Vasquez has stated he will be launching an exploratory committee to evaluate a run for the 22nd Congressional District – currently held by fellow Republican Rep. Richard Hanna.

Video is unedited

Speech given outside of the Broome County Courthouse

Q & A with Peter Quinn of WBGH

The following video is the full questions and answers from WBGH, News 34, to Michael Vasquez on April 23, 2013 after the announcement of the launch of an exploratory committee with regard to the 2014 NY 22nd Congressional District race.

There has been no edit of content.

Q & A with Peter Quinn of WBGH

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