Take Back Congress - New York

Friday, April 28, 2006

Les Roberts to Speak Tonight in Trumansburg

Tonight, at 7:00 PM at the Fire Hall on Main Street in Trumansburg, Democratic congressional candidate Les Roberts will be giving a talk about his experience working on the ground in Iraq. The title of the talk will be: Civilian Casualties: The Untold Story.

The event is a follow-up to Les Roberts' appearance on the Al Franken show this week. It is sponsored by the organization Back to Democracy and will include the opportunity to ask Les Roberts questions about his work in Iraq, his other work with the U.S. government and non-profits, and about his campaign for Congress.

The talk is free and open to the public, so anyone from within the 24th District or from elsewhere who is curious about the Les Roberts campaign is welcome to attend. That includes the people who read this blog, whether they're Roberts supporters or not.

Visit the Back to Democracy web site to find out more about the organization.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Funding our races, part II

Two entries down I wrote part I about how we can start to fund the races in New York that will help us win back the House. The moral of the story is that in the majority of our congressional districts in New York we have very safe Democratic seats, with incumbents collectively with millions of dollars in the bank and yet they are not contributing to the races we need to win to take back congress.

As noted in part I, only 8 of 20 Democratic members of Congress donated to Frank Barbaro's campaign, the nominee for NY-13, so I took a little spin around some FEC filings and see where PACs associated with New York members of congress sent their contributions in 2004. I have listed contributions to other Democrats running for Congress in New York state.

via Opensecrets.org; Leadership PACs
Carolyn Malloney NY-14 (Carolyn's PAC) - $1,000
Swett, Katrina (D-NH),

Swett ran for NH-02 on 2002 however does not appear to have run for office in 2004. Her donation is listed in parenthesis, which is not explained, so this may not be a donation. By the way do not look up Katrina at work, as her old campaign site appears to have since become a porn site.

Nita Lowey NY-18 (Cmte for Leadership and Progress) - $102,000 given
Barend, Samara (D-NY) $1,000
Bishop, Timothy (D-NY, incb) $7,000
Higgins, Brian (D-NY) $5,000

Joseph Crowley NY-07 (Jobs, Opportunity and Education PAC) - $39,000 given
Bishop, Timothy (D-NY, incb) $1,000
Higgins, Brian (D-NY) $2,000
Owens, Major (D-NY, incb) $1,000
Serrano, Jose (D-NY, incb) $1,000
Clinton, Hillary (D-NY, incb) $4,000

Charlie Rangel NY-15 (New Leadership PAC) - $364,000
Owens, Major R (D-NY, incb) $6,000

Hillary clinton (HillPAC) - $312,500
Schumer, Charles (D-NY, incb) $10,000

I have placed text in bold where these candidates contributed money to incumbents who did not even have competitive elections and direct need for financial contributions. Rep. Major Owens who garnered contributions won his election with 94% of the vote. Statistically I believe that is called a "safe" seat. Owens had a hard fought primary receiving 45% of the vote in a four way race. Regardless of the outcome this seat would not have flipped parties leading one to wonder if that financial contribution would not have better served it's purpose in a contested general election race.

Rep. Crowley donated to Rep. Serrano's re-election (NY-16) which he barely squeaked out with 95%, managing to do even better than Rep. Owens. Even more astounding he made his largest contribution to Sen. Clinton, who at the time was two years away from her 2006 re-election race. Finally, continuing on this thought of reckless and irrational contributions, Sen. Clinton gave $10,000 to Sen. Schumer's re-election. Meanwhile Clinton only managed to make half the legal maximum contribution to Higgins (51%), Barend (41%) and Barbaro (41%).

As we fight to take back the House and Senate I propose that;

• Sen. Clinton and Schumer shall release any Democrats from the assumed pressure that they pay their dues and line their coffers and in return that their past donors give instead to a contested Senate or House race. Since both Senate seats in New York are safe, that leaves many viable House races.

• Any elected Democrats from New York shall not make any financial contributions to incumbents that are not up for re-election in the upcoming year

• Any elected Democrats from New York shall not make any financial contributions to incumbents in a race where there will not be a competitive general election; meaning a safe Dem seat, until they have made contributions to Democratic challengers to Republican held seats. This essentially would means Higgins and Bishop should be the only incumbent recipients. Higgins currently does not have a Republican opponent and Bishop does not have a financed opponent (as of yet).

• All donations should be prioritized to top tier and second tier House races in New York

• Each Democratic Representative from New York shall be expected to make financial contributions to both top tier and second tier races. Should this not be possible for what ever reason they should be expected to use their donor network to raise an equivalent amount for those candidates.


2006 useless PAC contributions; Sen. Clinton (HILLPAC)

Carper, Tom (D-DE) $5,000
Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA) $5,000
Kennedy, Edward M (D-MA) $5,000
Lieberman, Joe (D-CT) $5,000

Having thrown around a bunch of numbers, let me address my basic take away from this information. Majority control of the House is within our grips, and as Chris Bowers shows flipping seats in the Northeast is key to our victory. (Yeah I just name dropped a big time blogger, sorry). While individual small contribution donors is the best way to juxtapose the Democratic strategy versus the Republican, our elected Democrats need to acknowledge these races with their support. Futhermore our elected Dems need to be involved in financing races with Democratic challengers. Rep. Rangel can no longer be the only member of congress from New York that knows how to use his PAC and support our bench of candidates.

Originially posted at NY13

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dr. Johnson speaks at large peace rally


Saturday in Plattsburgh, NY (in the North-East corner of NY), around 250 concerned patriots gathered with North Country Democracy for America to speak out for peace. We marched from Plattsburgh State University into downtown Plattsburgh where we had many eloquent speakers and music by Mike Pedersen.

Dr. Bob Johnson, Democrat running for Congress in New York's 23rd District to unseat the right-wing Republican John McHugh, gave a rousing speech about the need for change in our war obsessed foreign policy and against the Republican Culture of Corruption.

Plattsburgh City Councilor and North Country DFA member Bill Provost reminded us of Eisenhower's farewell address where he warned against the military-industrial complex. He noted that the current regime in Washington is virtually a direct representative of that military-industrial complex we warned against so many years ago. Bill recently sponsored a resolution in the Plattsburgh City Council in support of HR 635, calling for the investigation of the Bush Administration. The findings of this investigation could result in the Impeachment of the Bush/Cheney Administration. We are currently working to support similar resolutions around New York State and I encourage all New Yorkers to get in touch with us for more information.

We where proud to be joined by a number of Veterans who spoke out against the Bush reckless war policies. Dr. Bob Johnson himself served in the Army Medical Corps during the first Gulf War, and I was proud to serve in the Navy under the Clinton administration during peacetime. The most moving event came when a sign was displayed formed of the names of the first 2000 soldiers killed in Iraq into the word "WHY?" We observed a moment of silence in honor of the fallen, but we will never be silent in our opposition to the unjust and misguided Iraq war and Bush's plans for attacking Iran.

Many of the speakers noted that the only real way to stop the war in Iraq, and a future war in Iran, is by taking away the Bush rubber-stamp Congress and cleaning out the Republican Culture of Corruption infesting our government. North Country Democracy for America will continue organize and mobilize people here in New York's North Country to Democratic victory in November and beyond.

Check out the North Country DFA's Peace Rally page for more photos and a great article from the local press about the rally for more information.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Funding our races

Over at NY-13 I have been taking a look at fundraising numbers from the Democratic nominee, Frank Barbaro, in 2004 to get a better understanding of how we can fund a race in this district and win. I approached this from the perspective of the New York City political community, but most of these figures we can extrapolate out to the rest of the congressional seats that are in play.

There are 20 Democratic members of Congress from New York state, of those 12 are in New York City. In 2004, 8 of the 20 donated to Barbaro’s campaign, 6 from New York City. Of those twenty only two, Higgins NY-20 and Bishop NY-01 faced a competitive race winning with 51% and 56% respectively and had a dire need to keep their funds and fundraising efforts within their own district. No other members were re-relected with less than 63%. Excluding Higgins and Bishop, the 18 other members of Congress have a combined $7.21 million cash-on-hand.

Outside of NY-13, the next closest election in the city last time around was Rep. Weiner winning with 70%. That leaves NY-13 as the only New York City centric race for our elected candidates and donors to get behind. As opposed to 2004 however, this time they need to actually support our nominee.

In 2004 these members of Congress gave a combined $12,750 to Frank Barbaro’s campaign. $7,000 of that coming from Rep. Rangel's PAC.

Down the political hierarchy, New York City is represented by 22 Democratic State Senators, yet only outgoing State Senator Seymour Lachman (seat currently held by Diane Savino) gave to Barbaro’s campaign. And finally there are 63 Democratic Assembly members in NYC, yet only 7 made a financial contribution to the race. In 2004 New York members of congress, state senators and assembly members combined for a total of $17,900 in donations to Barbaro's campaign.

Winning this seat starts with party discipline from the officials we put in office.

Funding the race, part I
Funding the race, part II

updated: fixed the links

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Oil Wrong

Here are a few things Jimbo voted against in last year's special interest give away, Energy Policy Act of 2005:

Whose side is Jimbo on, ours or big oil's?

Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Right Wing John McHugh Throws Money at Ray Meier

From Take Back the 24th

Congressman John McHugh is one of the meanest members of the U.S. House of Representatives. A genuine right wing radical, McHugh has voted to allow federally funded programs to fire workers just because they don't belong to the same religion as their boss. McHugh has voted to give the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to overrule American laws. McHugh has voted to hobble the Endangered Species Act. McHugh voted to kick American-born babies out of the country. The list of nasty right wing votes goes on and on.

John McHugh represents New York State's 23rd District, where he is facing a tough antiwar opponent, Dr. Bob Johnson. So what does McHugh have to do with us here in the 24th District?

John McHugh is the only member of Congress to give any money to Ray Meier's campaign - one thousand dollars. The hundreds of other members of the House and Senate won't have anything to do with Ray Meier. So, Ray Meier's one friend in Congress is a right wing extremist. That tells a lot about what we can expect from Ray Meier if he gets elected.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Republicans Were Pro-War. Was Mike Arcuri?

On his campaign web site, Michael Arcuri now declares that when George W. Bush started the Iraq War, "The President made a bad, unnecessary decision."

I agree. But then again, everyone this side of Jerry Falwell now agrees with that statement.

For the 2006 campaign, the relevant question is this: Where did our candidates stand in March 2003?

March 2003 is when this terrible war was started by George W. Bush, along with the approval of many politically established Democrats. Was Mike Arcuri one of those Democrats?

Michael Arcuri claims to be a leader. Well, leaders use their power to make a difference on the issues that they care about. Did Arcuri care enough in 2003?

In early 2003, did Michael Arcuri use his powerful voice in Oneida County to support those of us who were marching in the streets begging George W. Bush not to start a war with Iraq? Or, did Mr. Arcuri abdicate his leadership and support George W. Bush's war? Even worse, did Michael Arcuri say nothing either way, remaining safely silent while American soldiers were sent to their deaths?

To all these questions, the only answer I can honestly give now is I don't know.

I've searched what news I can find of the time, and I can't find a single instance of Michael Arcuri making any public statements either way. Of course, that doesn't mean that Arcuri did nothing against the war. It just means that there's nothing on the record.

This issue is not about Monday morning quarterbacking. It's about whether the candidates did the right thing when it counted - when America had the chance to choose not to go to war.

Any Democratic candidate who did not oppose the war before it began, but now criticizes the war as a mistake, has serious credibility problem. Voters are going to notice the discrepancy, or the silence about it, in the general election, so it's best that New York's 24th District Democrats hash out the issue now.

If Michael Arcuri did support the Iraq War in 2003, and he gets into the House of Representatives in 2006, how do we know he won't make the same mistake again, and vote to approve another bloody, costly, pointless war just because it is the politically easy thing to do?

We deserve to know where ALL the candidates stood on the Iraq War before it began.

We can be pretty sure that Ray Meier and Brad Jones supported starting the Iraq War in 2003. After all, they still support keeping the Iraq War going now.

Les Roberts opposed the Iraq War before it began.

Bruce Tytler isn't running any more, but before he dropped out, Tytler openly admitted that he supported the Iraq War in 2003. He admitted that was a mistake, but was open about it.

As far as I can tell, Michael Arcuri hasn't said where he stood on the war in 2003.

If I'm wrong on this, and Mike Arcuri has made any public statement about his pre-war position on invading and occupying Iraq, then let me know. If there are any old sources showing Arcuri's position, I'd like to know of those too.

I've Googled, and gone through old newspapers, and looked around everywhere that I could - but just because I can't find anything doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

Of course, Arcuri could just make a clear and simple statement to the public explaining his position, right?

Many people say that, as a District Attorney, Mike Arcuri simply couldn't take a public position on a political issue like the Iraq War. That position is clear and unadulterated BULL.

Michael Arcuri is District Attorney right now, and he's taking plenty of positions on plenty of issues, local, national and international.

So, if Arcuri can take these public positions now, as a part of his own self-promotion campaign to Congress, how come he didn't take a position back in 2003, when it really counted?

Get Out of Jail Free Card

A week ago today, Jimbo showed his true colors when it comes to the Republican Culture of Corruption.

A bill came to the floor that said:

That the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct shall immediately initiate an investigation of the misconduct by Members of Congress and their staff implicated in the scandals associated with Mr. Jack Abramoff's criminal activity.

Jimbo and his Republican comrades voted to kill the bill.

Jimbo proved again he is just more the same, just another foot soldier in the Republican Culture of Corruption.

Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

Republican Syndicate: Bush & McHugh

If you've been reading my blog you've probably noticed me write about the Republican Culture of Corruption, which refers to the Republican party's consistent national pattern of unethical behavior. The Republican party under the leadership of George W. Bush has been corrupted by the temptations caused by controlling all branches of the national government and in many ways now resembles some kind of crime family.

As head of the Republican Syndicate, George "Dubya" Bush has abused the office of President of the United States on countless occasions. Bush authorized the leak of classified information that lead eventually to the public revelation of an undercover CIA operative's identity. He mislead the nation about the reasons for entering the war in Iraq, which has cost thousands of American lives, and billions of dollars. Dubya and his allies have also been involved in numerous election irregularities, including voter suppression in Florida in 2000 & a phone scam during a Senate race in New Hampshire in 2002. Also, Bush has suspiciously close ties to notoriously unreliable electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold. He botched the response to the terrible Hurricane Katrina and lied to the public about his knowledge of the problem. George Bush has appointed unsavory individuals to his White House staff, and praised and rewarded incompetent Government officials. He demands the erosion of American civil liberties and may have been complacent in the torture of prisoners of war in Iraq. For all these reasons and more the vast majority of Americans have lost all faith in Bush, and many are calling for him to be Censured or investigated for possible Impeachment. The City of Plattsburgh passed a resolution recently in support of such an investigation.

Republican John McHugh is a hardcore Bush crony in the U.S. Congress that ensures Dubya's will can be imposed upon the people of America and New York. McHugh is a dedicated supporter of the failed Bush plans for war in Iraq. McHugh has also often expressed strong confidence in the leadership of ethically-challenged former House leader Tom "The Hammer" DeLay, who recently resigned in disgrace after being indicted by a grand jury in his home state of Texas. Scandalously, John McHugh has taken large amounts of money from associates of convicted criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Despite token votes for a few labor friendly bills when he knows they are doomed to failure in the Republican infested Congress, McHugh does not represent the values of upstate New York's working families. He is a radical Republican that votes in lock-step with Bush's whims. Unlike the draft dodger McHugh, Dr. Bob Johnson is a proud veteran who will bring honor and integrity to the NY-23 Congressional seat.

Cross posted with some additional information about my local NY Assembly race @ BOBAUBIN.com

Monday, April 10, 2006

Les Roberts on Health Care

Les Roberts, Democratic candidate for Congress in New York's 24th congressional district, recently made the following statement on solving the crisis in health benefits:

""I believe the most expedient way to ensure that uninsured Americans get coverage is to expand the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. This program already provides coverage to all federal government employees by providing a wide range of health plans to buy into. The risk pool created by opening these plans to a great number of people may eventually reduce costs to everyone in the plans.

This is, of course, not the end to our health care problems. There are gross inefficiencies in our health care system. We must strive to get our reimbursement and paper trail systems to be more compatible. We must push for a revisiting of our entire health care strategy. We are currently one of only three industrialized countries among the 30 largest economies in the world that does not guarantee health care to all of our citizens (Turkey and Mexico are the other two and both are working on plans to expand coverage to all citizens). Since 2000, the number of uninsured, non-seniors, in the United States has increased by 6 million people. We must reverse this trend."

Les Roberts Is the Favorite on Foreign Policy

In a recent poll of readers of the Take Back the 24th blog, a solid majority of readers said that, of all the candidates running for the Democratic Party nomination in New York's 24th congressional district, Les Roberts has the most credibility on foreign policy.

  • 57 percent of readers so far indicated that Les Roberts is the best choice for Congress on foreign policy issues.
  • Only 33 percent of readers were willing to say the same thing about Michael Arcuri.
  • Leon Koziol was even further behind, with just 10 percent of readers saying that they believe Koziol has the most credibility on foreign policy.

  • NY13: An interview with Stephen Harrison

    I have been invited to join the blog covering the 13th congressional district (Staten Island/Brooklyn). This is often considered the most conservative seat in New York City. It is currently held by Rep. Vito Fossella, a four term incumbent. Currently Stephen Harrison is the only declared Democratic candidate running for this seat. You can read more about the race at ny13.blogspot.com, where this interview is also cross posted:

    NY13: Can you give us a brief introduction about yourself and what motivated you to run for Congress?
    SH: A Check out the bio section of harrison06.com for background info on Steve. Although the site is still very much a work in progress, it is much improved from when you initially visited it. Also the quote you lifted from the solicitation letter Steve wrote posted in the donate section no longer exists. He changed the wording a little a bit.

    NY13: In 2005 Frank Barbaro won 41% against Fossella, the best a Democratic challenger has ever done. How do you plan on building off of those results and what do you need to do to win in November?
    SH: A From my earlier comment on your blog, “ Barbaro lost in 2004 by 33,000 votes in a district with roughly 500,000 people old enough to vote. There was 40 percent greater turnout in 2004 than in typical years because of the presidential election.

    Although I think the Democrats would lose less votes because of dissatisfaction with Bush policies, for arguments sake lets assume both parties lose votes proportionately if turnout returns to normal levels. Fossella's margin is now 20,000.

    If 5000 white voters over 25 years of age who didn't vote in 2004 vote this time because of Bush, Iraq, gas prices, whatever, Vito's lead shrinks to 15,000.

    Persuading 5000 Fossella supporters to see the light results in a 10,000 vote swing because Vito loses 5000 and we would gain 5000. This cuts the deficit to only 5000 votes.

    Between 18-25 year olds of all ethnicities and black and Hispanic adults, there are about 88,000 US citizens who belong to Democratic affinity groups who didn't vote last election to get the remaining 5000 votes.

    We plan on accomplishing this by being the most visible opponents Vito has ever had. In 2004, Voters who didn't read the Advance or live in the few neighborhoods with grassroots efforts didn't know who the Democratic candidate was until Election Day. We will be different.

    Our campaign will generate media coverage in most of New York's print and broadcast media. Our paid advertising strategy will not be limited to local insertions on news programming on Staten Island cable like other Staten Island Dems. We will purchase a broader range of programming and media aimed at groups we need to target to win. We're also the first Staten Island Democratic congressional campaign to have an Internet marketing strategy.

    NY13: This district has been represented by Republicans for many years. Why do they need to elect a Democrat this November?
    SH: You know probably as much as anyone why this needs to be done.

    Republican fiscal policy that cuts needed programs for the poor and middle class and yet mortgages the next generation with debt because it starves the government of revenue by cutting the taxes of the extremely wealthy.

    Energy dependence
    Social Security
    Steve’s plan to use laws already on the books to eliminate the Verrazano toll (A copy of the press release is already on the site)

    We will be posting detailed policy and issue stances on the site very soon.

    NY13: There are a few other congressional races in New York State this year, where Democrats have a good chance to flip a Republican seat; Eric Massa running for NY-29 and Kristen Gillibrand running for NY-20. These races have received a lot of coverage and could be exciting races for Democrats trying to retake the House. Why should Democrats outside of the 13th district watch your race? Why is picking up this seat more important than some of the others?
    SH: Because we can win if properly funded.

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    Bob Johnson (NY23) and the City of Plattsburgh support HR 635 (Impeachment investigation)!

    I was very excited to attend the Plattsburgh City Council meeting last night at 6PM. The chamber was packed with people, many of whom spoke in favor of Congress investigating George Bush over a host of alleged violations of law. Only two individuals spoke against the measure, and they seemed to have a personal issue with the Councilor who proposed the resolution, Bill Provost.

    One of those present to speak in favor of the resolution was future Congressman Dr. Bob Johnson. Bob explained that the City council was most certainly the best venue for bringing up the issue, since George Bush's actions have put a heavy burden on our local area by taking away funds that would otherwise belong to the City. Bob spoke strongly in favor of the Council passing the resolution.

    The Council vote was 4 in favor and 2 opposed. The Council's two Republicans claimed that it was not in fact the proper venue for the people's concerns to be discussed, but the Republican Mayor Dan Stuart, who does not have a vote unless there is a tie, disagreed. He noted that Plattsburgh City citizens should have this venue to speak on all issues - local, national, or global. Mayor Stuart did not express support or opposition to the resolution itself.

    I am very proud of my friend, and fellow North Country Democracy for America member, Councilor Bill Provost for making this vote possible.

    Visit BOBAUBIN.com for the full story!

    Ray Meier Won't Listen to The Troops

    From Take Back New York's 24th District:

    Republican congressional candidate Ray Meier has a growing problem with his lack of respect for Americans serving in the military. Meier says he'll listen to American soldiers fighting in Iraq, but when those soldiers disagree with Meier's political agenda, he just puts his fingers in his ears and pretends he hasn't heard anything.

    The troops have spoken. They want out of Iraq fast.

    Polling shows by the reputable company Zogby International indicates that about 70 percent of soldiers believe that the USA should get out of Iraq before another year is done. In fact, a majority of American military men and women in Iraq want America to pull out before six months from now.

    Someone ought to tell Ray Meier that you can't say that you support the troops and then tell them to go to hell when they don't tell you what you want to hear.

    Support the troops, Ray. Stop supporting George W. Bush's plan for the Iraq War to continue for years on end.

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    Fibbin' Jim

    Jimbo seems to be a little bit of a fibbin' streak this week.

    He did first in the Op-Ed in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, saying:

    The bill aims to re-establish respect for immigration laws and crack down on employers who hire illegal workers and smugglers trafficking in human beings.

    When in fact Jimbo voted for an amendment to that very bill that limited the amount an employer would be sanctioned for using illegal workers, to a mere $7,500. Quite a disincentive Jimbo.

    Then as a commenter pointed out the other day, Jimbo was doing a little fibbin' on the Jim Reith show when it came to his good buddy, Republican Culture of Corruption Kingpin Tom DeLay. And while I missed it, The Maffei campaign managed to catch him in the act:

    Reith: "Do you consider him (DeLay) an ally of yours? Or are you an ally of his?"

    Walsh: "Well, not really…He is not a guy that I would want to bring up to Syracuse because he is a lighting rod….He is very conservative. Far more conservative than I am."

    Wow, now that's a whopper Jimbo!

    Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Campaign update from New York's North Country

    First of all, I want to thank "24 Democrat" for inviting me to become a contributor to the Take Back New York blog and hope you all find my posts informative and helpful.

    On Monday April 3 the Plattsburgh State University Democrats and Progressives held a meet the candidate night with Dr. Bob Johnson, our next North Country US Congressman, and Andrew Brockway, our next North Country NYS Assemblyman. The candidates presented themselves and their platforms and opened the floor to public questions. It was a very informative night with excellent free food and drink!

    Andy spoke first, describing how he returned to the area after working in Albany in civil service and studying for a graduate degree when he heard about the immanent exit of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Andy has decided to devote himself full time to ensuring we get what we need from Albany. We aren't getting the representation we deserve in the North Country and Andy plans to change that. When it comes to job loss, cuts to education aid, and the heavy burden of property tax the incumbent simply has not done enough to stop the Republican efforts to short-change the North Country. Andy's website is now set up to receive online donations.

    Dr. Bob Johnson spoke on the Republican culture of corruption and how its influence has tainted Congress. After a long history of service to his country, both in the armed services and as a local surgeon, Dr. Johnson feels he still needs to do even more to help the nation. Huge multi-national corporations have far too much negative influence over Washington and Bob wants to change that. Just like many of us in the North Country, Dr. Johnson was inspired by the Dean for America campaign and Howard's message of people empowerment. Dr. Johnson knows that the only way we will restore our American democracy is if people like you and me stand up for America and donate our time and money to campaigns that support real American values. In Congress Bob Johnson will work to stop the unfunded mandates breaking the back of local economies. He will fight for us against the radical Republicans' agenda of permanent war. He will be an outspoken advocate for fulfilling the Democratic Party's pledge, made in the era of Harry Truman, to give health insurance to ALL Americans.

    Dr. Johnson will be back in Plattsburgh on April 6 to speak at the City of Plattsburgh Common Council meeting (5:30PM) where they will be discussing a resolution to encourage the Congressional investigation of George W. Bush over Iraq pre-war intelligence. The Johnson for Congress campaign has not released the content of the remarks Dr. Johnson will make. Later that evening (8PM) Dr. Johnson will attend the North Country Democracy for America monthly Linkup where he will receive the North Country DFA's official endorsement and take questions from the public.

    Andy will be traveling all around the North country in the month of April seeking support and listening to the concerns of voters.

    Both Andy Brockway and Dr. Bob Johnson will be at the Plattsburgh Peace March / Rally on April 22. They will be joined by: PSU Students for Direct Democracy, PSU Environmental Action Committee, PSU Campus Democrats & Progressives, PSU Amnesty International, North Country chapter of Veterans for Peace (out of Canton/Potsdam), Green Mountain chapter of Veterans for Peace (Vermont), Gold Star Families for Peace (Nancy Shipes, husband killed in Vietnam), Plattsburgh City Councilor Bill Provost, Susan Ledges (Plattsburgh Peace), Colin Wells (Diogenes), Alternatives to War (from Canton/Potsdam), Burlington Vermont Peace & Justice Center, Echec a la guerre (Montreal Stop War Coalition), Rev. Glen Michaels, Chris Fells (Air America Radio, Burlington VT) among others. Starting with speakers at Amity Court on the PSU Campus, we will march downtown to Trinity Square where we will have music, and more speakers. If you plan to attend please RSVP at DFA Link.

    Also, please consider registering with DFA link and signing up with Dr. Johnson's DFA link site and Andy Brockway's DFA link site. The more support they have on these sites, the more likely it is they will receive the national Democracy For America endorsement which will give them access to tons of new supporters and campaign funds.

    If you live in the North Country region of NY please also consider signing up with North Country DFA on DFA link, we are continuing Howard Dean's vision of grassroots politics in the North Country and we can always use more help.

    For the latest on these candidates and events keep your browser tuned to BOBAUBIN.com, I am committed to ensuring a Democratic victory over the Republican culture of corruption in November; a victory for real American values, and a victory for the American people.

    Remember, YOU HAVE THE POWER!

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    A couple weeks ago, I wrote a quick article discussing the fact that, in spite of prideful claims by Oneida County Democrats that nobody can win the 24th District Democratic nomination without winning Oneida County, Oneida County actually contains a minority of the Democrats in the 24th District.

    The article clearly upset many Oneida Democrats, but facts are facts. In order for a Democrat to win the 24th District Democratic nomination, the best bet for a Democrat is to reach out beyond the borders of Oneida County. A Democrat like Michael Arcuri or Leon Koziol could easily win the nomination contest in Oneida County and lose the district.

    A lot of people seem to forget that there is no electoral college for this primary race. A Democrat who gets the majority of votes in a county does NOT seize all the votes for that county. If Les Roberts, for example, got just 20 percent of the votes in Oneida County, all those votes would remain with him, even if Mike Arcuri got over 50 percent of the Oneida County vote. Then, by getting a majority of the vote in most of the rest of the counties in the 24th District, Les Roberts could coast to an easy primary victory over Arcuri, in spite of the loyalty of Oneida County Democrats to their local guy.

    As I've pointed out at the local blog Finding Ulysses, high turnout in counties other than Oneida can easily counter for the Oneida Democrats' raw weight. Typically, less than ten percent of voters actually turn out for a primary election, so organized turnout efforts can turn presumptions inside out. It's a matter of simple math, but some Oneida County Democrats seem unable to grasp it. Let me provide the information about distribution of Democrats in New York's 24th District, then, in text and graphic form, to make it plain.

    24th district democrats new york

    Broome County: 6.7 percent of district Democrats
    Cayuga County: 12.3 percent of district Democrats
    Chenango County: 6.5 percent of district Democrats
    Cortland County: 7.5 percent of district Democrats
    Herkimer County: 8.9 percent of district Democrats
    Oneida County: 30.9 percent of district Democrats
    Ontario County: 3.7 percent of district Democrats
    Otsego County: 6.8 percent of district Democrats
    Seneca County: 5.2 percent of district Democrats
    Tioga County: 2.4 percent of district Democrats
    Tompkins County: 9 percent of district Democrats

    Qualifications of Michael Arcuri And Les Roberts

    Thoughts on the relevant professional experience of the two remaining serious Democratic candidates in New York State's 24th congressional district from Take Back New York's 24th District blog:

    Les Roberts has relevant professional experience in the following areas: International relations, health care, disaster relief, science, and education.

    Michael Arcuri has relevant professional experience in the law, law enforcement and politics.

    So, which one of these candidates would do a better job for us in Congress? Well, that depends on what you think members of Congress ought to be concerned about.

    If you care about education, international issues, health care, disaster relief, and science, then you'll judge Les Roberts to be better qualified. There's some good reason to value these issues in the 24th District in particular. International affairs are on everybody's mind these days, with the war in Iraq draining resources from every community in the USA, and Les Roberts has a long history of dealing with top level officials in the American government, foreign governments and the United Nations. Health care is an essential issue for the 24th District too, with health care costs quickly becoming the number one burden for local governments. If you're upset about property taxes, you ought to be thinking about a national health care plan of the sort that Les Roberts has proposed. Education and science are, as Sherwood Boehlert's career demonstrated, essential for a US Representative for the 24th District to address with skill. Our colleges and universities are our district's most reliable source of bread and butter.

    If you care about legal issues and law enforcement, then Michael Arcuri is your man. Crime is not a big issue in the 24th District, but matters of constitutional law have never been more important. We have too many members of Congress right now allowing President Bush and the Executive Branch to play fast and loose with the law, and having someone with legal skills to take a strong stand for the rule of law would be refreshing. Mike Arcuri's professional background with the law would also enable him to be an intelligent reader and creator of legislation. Given the fact that most members of Congress passed the Patriot Act without even bothering to read it, that skill is nothing to sniff at. Arcuri's status as a career politician may be regarded by some as a liability, but the truth of the matter is that, for a member of Congress, politics does not end on Election Day. Members of Congress need to be able to maneuver amongst their colleagues in order to get business done.

    Now is the time that we grassroots Democratic voters in New York's 24th District need to start discussing the relative merits of the different kinds of experience Les Roberts and Michael Arcuri would bring to the job. Arguments about who can win the race are all well and good, but in order for those arguments to be well informed, they need to be based upon an understanding of the areas of professional expertise that Les Roberts and Michael Arcuri promise to use on our behalf in the House of Representatives.

    Top Issues of the 24th District Race: Poll

    Commenting on the new issues poll found on the Take Back New York's 24th, a reader writes,

    "As a soon to be graduating student I must say that all of those issues are important, but there are two that truly stand out for me: one is jobs/the economy, the other is democrats taking back Congress. The first is an obvious one, I want a job (hopefully in the upstate 24th area)that I can support a family with. The second issue is important to me because I feel that the future of this country, of this district, my future, ultimately my future rests in the hands of the democratic party and them taking back the Congress.

    That does not mean that none of those other issues aren't important to me becuase I deeply care about education, health care and the rest, but I feel that the democratic party taking control can hopefully fix all of those other issues."

    This comment brings to me the thought that perhaps the selection of giving the Democratic Party the majority control of Congress is a kind of "all of the above" selection. But, what, I wonder, are our expectations of new Democratic majority? How would we, as Democrats, judge whether a new Democratic majority in Congress is successful? What specific actions would we want them to take in their first year in charge of the House and Senate.

    A second development related to the new poll has to do with the land claims issue, which I've already discussed a bit this morning. I see that two votes have been cast in favor of the idea that the land claims dispute is the number one most important issue in New York's 24th congressional district race this year.

    How can those votes be justified? That's not a rhetorical question. I'd really like to hear a justification from the people who voted in the poll this way. What is it about the land claims issue that makes it more important than the state of the economy, or the war in Iraq?

    Also, how is the land claims issue a congressional issue? What do voters expect the United States House of Representatives to do about the issue? Most importantly, how do voters believe that Les Roberts, Michael Arcuri and Leon Koziol would handle the land claims issue differently?

    Once again, the poll can be found at Take Back New York's 24th.