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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.

Preview of 100.7FM WUTQ interview on “Talk of the Town” with Mark Piersma

Today I was on the radio with Mark Piersma, host of “Talk of the Town” on 100.7FM station WUTQ, at 7:20am. It was a good conversation that delved into the reasons why I am running for elected office. A copy of that conversation will be available later today.

Of course there is no way to fully cover all the reasons for my run in the New York 2014 Congressional race and issues facing this nation in just 18 minutes. The issues are too diverse, and need far more discussion. In fact that is one of the things that I take issue with; the fact that politicians today count on people only getting 30 second soundbites about the issues – one of the reasons that there was some interest in Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) though we have learned that there were many lies and hidden truths to that law that were never disclosed to the public.

That of course is not the fault of Mark Piersma, or Bob Joseph of WNBF (whom I was on air with on Nov 19th), or many others in the media. There is only so much time for each candidate/elected official, and the onus is on the person running for office to impart what is at issue and where they stand. Which is why I am writing this article.

The first question was who I am. As I have provided, I am 45 years old; a former Marine reservist; a homeowner in Binghamton, NY; the owner of M V Consulting, Inc.; a licensed auto insurance agent; a former stockbroker; and a political commentator. I like to think that you can sum that up as just a regular American. I work a full-time job, pay bills, have debt, and struggle just like every constituent in the NY-22 if not the nation. Which means I understand directly the concerns and issues we all face, everyday. Something that I feel Congress is far too detached from.

The reason I am running, as you have read, is because effective connections to the people leads to better representation in Congress and better laws that actually deal with the issues facing us today, and the generations to come. I believe that currently we are not seeing that representation in the NY-22. We cannot count on our views being presented or defended if for no other reason than our current representative, Rep. Richard Hanna, has a history of taking multiple sides of issues and ultimately voting often in contradiction to what he has publicly said.

I mention in the interview that this is a common facet of Rep. Hanna. I confirmed that with the article from October 5, 2010 by Time Magazine, where Rep. Hanna is noted for back-pedaling on the Islamic temple issue of the time. Further it delved into the nature of the then-candidate.

“Hanna then walked back his seeming support for the project, saying that while its proponents have a constitutional right to proceed, to do so would be “insensitive.”… Hanna, a businessman who almost beat Arcuri in 2008, isn’t afraid to say he’s a moderate…When a local television news station suggested that House minority leader John Boehner…is more conservative than Hanna, the candidate replied, “Most of them are. I am not in the mainstream with most Republicans.”

In that one article we learn, and Rep. Hanna confirms, he is not a Conservative – though he ran on the Conservative ticket. This was later confirmed in the WKTV News interview – 4/8/11, published on Youtube 8/27/13 – Congressman Hanna on looming government shutdown – http://youtu.be/vnzeuqlv-2M – minute 2:42 – 2:52 – Rep. Hanna describes himself as “…one of the more independent people down here…”

This is further confirmed by the conservative rating of Rep. Hanna by Ballotpedia – in 2011 he was rated 198th most conservative member of the House of Representatives (out of 435 members). In 2012 he was rated 211th.

More recently there was his vote with the Amash Amendment (H Amendment 413) which would have placed limitation on the power of the NSA to abuse their power as they have been proven to be doing. Rep Hanna voted against this bill. But on his description of the vote Rep. Hanna said (which he has since pulled from http://hanna.house.gov/vote-explanations1/showallitems/)

“Finally, I supported an amendment that ensures the National Security Agency (NSA) may not target a U.S. person or acquire and store the content of a U.S. person’s communications, including phone calls and e-mails. I will continue to support Constitutionally-protected civil liberties and the right to privacy for all American citizens.” – as written on 7/25/13 at 8:30AM and has since been pulled down from Rep. Hanna’s Congressional site

It is up to you to decide if his decision to pull his stated comments or his flip flop on the votes are the more troubling aspect.

There is far more that could be confirmed on what I said of Rep. Hanna, like his effort to turn women away from the Republican Party (5/22/12), or his actions in making “ceremonial” votes in the face of Republican alternatives he feels are “not viable” (Youtube, 2/10/11, posted by theplumlinegs – http://youtu.be/g-dxefhCfg4 minutes 1:21 – 1:49).

I will simply say that my opinion has been formed after due diligence and research. My decision has been based on discussion with the constituents of the New York 22nd Congressional district. All I ask is for the public to hear me out, and weigh what I offer against that of Rep. Hanna, and voters can choose whom they think is the best option.

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