I’ve attended five events in the past few days – three for Eric Massa, one for Silda Spitzer, and the debate last night with Joe Giglio, Linda Witte, and surrogates for Eric Massa and Rep. Randy Kuhl. All are energized and are running “full steam ahead” in anticipation of the election that is now less than two weeks away.
This post will cover the three Massa events. I’m writing separate posts regarding Mrs. Spitzer’s event and last night’s debate.
The Massa events were held in Cattaraugus County. Two labor rallies, (AFL-CIO and CSEA), and a stop at the local headquarters in Allegany were on tap for the local visit. Linda Witte, candidate for 149th Assembly, and Charlie Hebdon, candidate for Cattaraugus Co. Legislature, also attended the AFL-CIO rally.
Mr. Massa’s messages at the rallies included the points that “labor unions are the last line of defense” and that there has been an “assault on working families”. NY state receives only $.74 for each federal tax dollar that we pay into the system, and that “its about time that we get our fair share in New York”. He spoke of the charge that Rep. Kuhl has issued that “Eric Massa is another liberal” and stated that if liberal means, “balancing the budget”, wanting the concept “that every American could go to the doctor”, wanting for you “what Congress has taken from us”, well then…
He stated that to make healthcare change happen, maybe we should have “every member of congress (participate) in Medicaid, and then see who is complaining”. Massa is in favor of a “single payer” system, and spoke of the administrative costs and trouble some of us may have when trying to sort out problems with billing procedures. “$1 out of every $3 pays for overhead.”
We need experienced people that knows how to get us out of Iraq. The Disabled Veterans Organization gave Randy Kuhl a zero rating. On environment issues, he spoke of Lakes Erie and Ontario; our environment is a national treasure, but it is also under assault under the current Bush Administration. We need to preserve it for future generations.
He stated that he is not a politician and told that he was asked what would happen to him if he went to Washington DC. He credits his wife, Beverly, with keeping him rooted and anchored. Consultants told him not to run on labor issues, that labor issues were part “of the problem”, but he is vowing to stand up for labor issues – 40 hour work week, training, financial security. He has 100% endorsements from every union in the district.
Massa with CSEA Attendees
Randy Kuhl raised taxes every year (while serving in) the State Assembly. All that we can do is to improve the situation.
If we fail, they will say that no candidate who stands with labor (will win), and that no other candidate will go down that road. The American labor voice should be heard first – not last. The “break-room voice”, not the “boardroom voice”, must rise to the top.
14.7% of the district’s population are veterans. “I know their needs.” “Many tell me I am too passionate. Do you want to elect someone who is boring? I don’t know how to lie”. “I was told, ‘You cannot get elected, you are not a politician’. There were no politicians in 1776.”
“We have elected a government who will do everything possible to diminish or destroy labor.” “They haven’t taken our free will. They are trying.” He talked about the recent law passed by Congress and signed by the president that addresses habeas corpus. “This is the very first time I was shamed by what this president has signed into law. I disagreed, but was not ashamed.” He spoke of the connection of both the Bible and the Constitution; having the right to not be charged with a crime unless you can come face-to-face with the accuser. “This president desecrated both documents.” “The law goes beyond Arab terrorists.”
“It is no longer good enough to go quitely into the night; it is time to stand with a backbone and defend what was given to us for our parents, children and grandchildren. If we don’t stop them now, we won’t be able to stop them.”
He spoke about the recent development at the Canandaigua Veterans Center.
Massa and AFL-CIO Attendees
Randy Kuhl is saying, “This guy Massa” is pandering to labor. “If you say I am pandering to the citizens of the United States of America, there is no higher compliment.” He refuses corporate PAC money, and that this CSEA audience was his 328th audience. His campaign is the only one to pass the $1 million mark without accepting corporate PAC contributions. Mr. Massa said that this campaign is not about him; that is is about changing the course of American history. “Is it in the values of America…that you cannot raise a family on $5.25/hour? Congress members earn $168,000/year. They have raised their salaries $32,000 in the past 10 years, but refuse to raise the minimum wage.
Massa spoke of his experience eight years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer and was told that he had four months to live. “They were wrong. ” 17,000 Desert Storm veterans have the same illness with a 50/50 survival rate. He had access to the best healthcare in the world. Why are members of Congress not fighting for health care for all Americans? HMO’s have done damage to the healthcare system.
His guide for the future is rooted in his past. He cited his military oath – “I will not lie, cheat, or steal, and will not tolerate those who do” as words that he continues to live by.
There were quite a number of supporters who stopped by the campaign office in Allegany to meet and talk with Mr. Massa. The office space was filled to capacity with some overflow of participants milling outside on the sidewalk. Attendees of all ages, from the very, very young to those who have many years of “experience and wisdom” under their belts, were in force. A speech was given by Mr. Massa, and the event afforded the participants the chance for a level of personal conversation.
Mr. Massa had a busy afternoon in Cattaraugus County, and he had two more events scheduled for the day outside of the local area. (If I only had half of his energy!…)