Posts about candidate endorsements.

Houghton Endorses Kuhl

Randy Kuhl's popular predecessor Amo Houghton, who retired after nine terms, has once again endorsed Kuhl for Congress, according to WETM-TV.  Hougton's take on Kuhl's tenure:  "outstanding".

Massa Recommends Sicko

Today's Massa press conference covered three topics: health care, the local economy, and Iraq.

Massa began with plug for Michael Moore's new movie, Sicko. Massa watched the movie and spoke at a special showing at Rochester's Little Theater. Massa recognized that people sometimes focus on Michael Moore's persona and tend to lose the message of the movie. Even so, Massa said:

I invite every voting American to go see this movie. It's something I've been talking about for two years: the moral, financial and ethical imperative of reforming our medical system.

Massa re-iterated his support of single-payer health insurance and addressed some of shortfalls of the current system. For-profit HMOs have "destroyed the doctor-patient relationship and corrupted the political system." Massa pointed to the $70,000 in HMO-related PAC money received by Randy Kuhl during the last cycle, and noted that "when that happens, you give up your credibility about speaking for the people."

Massa noted that Kuhl's charge that single-payer would raise taxes by $7,000 per person was not only too high, but also that it ignored the other burdens placed on business, which pays 50% of health care costs, as well as on the taxpayers. Massa noted that 25% of Medicaid is paid for by taxpayers. Even though the popular conception is that Medicaid only goes to the economically disadvantaged, Massa noted that roughly 70% of Medicaid money goes to elder care.

I asked Massa whether he thought that single-payer is a silver bullet solution to health care issues. He said that there's no single silver bullet, but single payer changes the health care model. He pointed out that the majority of health care money is spent in the last 1 to 1 1/2 years of life. One of the reasons for this is that most of the health care decisions are from the perspective of the bottom line of for-profit HMOs. Massa believes this is the wrong model, and that those decisions need to be made by the doctor, patient and family.

I also asked his take on the some of the criticisms of single-payer as implemented in Canada. For example, the formularies (list of authorized drugs) in one province differ from others, and often new, life-saving drugs are delayed. Massa responded by noting that the overall health statistics in Canada are better. Massa said that we can't use the Canadian examples to stop us from moving forward. Instead we need to look at what's wrong in Canada and say "let's not repeat it here". He noted that Medicare, which is functionally single-payer healthcare, is largely successful.

Massa also repeated one of the messages of his 2006 campaign: everyone should have the same medical plan that Congress has given itself: "If it's too expensive for the average US citizen, why is it not for every member of Congress?"

Massa then turned to jobs. He laid out two formulas for job creation in the 29th:

  1. "Bring home pork...a never-ending series of addictive Washington handouts." This is Massa's characterization of Randy Kuhl's plan, and he used as evidence Kuhl's recent $43,000 earmark that paid for a study to find barriers to economic development in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, as well as three counties in Pennsylvania. Massa's retort:
    I think it would have been better to give me the $43,000, because I know the two reasons: no jobs and no roads.
    Massa called this handout "exactly what the government should not be doing".
  2. "A new vision that marries education and industry." This is Massa's new economic plan, and he added a few details. He said that we need to "educate to the economy". He sees a plan where students sign up contractually for a certain job, and receive an education that is the product of industry and professors working together to create courses that address real industry needs. Massa sees the role of government as providing tax breaks to help pay for the infrastructure needed to enable this partnership.

Massa's third topic was Iraq. He mentioned the accusation that he's a one-issue candidate, and countered that Iraq is the "issue of my generation". He pointed to Randy Kuhl's multiple votes in support of the War and his multiple, incorrect predictions of when the war would end.

I asked him if he thought Kuhl was a "dead ender" or if he would change his position on Iraq. Massa said that he can't predict that, but "this election is about accountability". He noted that when Kuhl was asked whether he supported the war in Iraq during his first run for Congress, he said that he did.

In other Massa-related news, his campaign announced two more labor endorsements, from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

News Items

I've been off the net for a couple of days, but the news in the 29th keeps rolling in. Here's the roundup:

  • Randy Kuhl has joined the bi-partisan Congressional Human Rights Caucus.
  • Eric Massa has racked up another union endorsement - this one is from the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
  • Rochesterturning reports that Bob VanWicklin's assertion that turnout in the North was lower than in the South was rebutted, forcefully, in the Corning Leader. VanWicklin's statement is incorrect for the 29th, but it was made in the context of speculation about the fate of the 29th after redistricting, which might include all of Monroe County, including Rochester. Since most of Rochester is represented by safe-seat Louise Slaughter, my guess is overall Monroe turnout for Congressional races is lower than turnout in the Southern Tier. I still don't agree with VanWicklin, since a tight race in the "new" 29th might draw more Rochester voters to the polls. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he wasn't simply misstating well-known facts.

Massa Gets Brighton Endorsement, Nachbar Speaks Again

Stlo7 of Rochesterturning attended the Brighton Democratic Committee meeting last night and reports that Massa gained that committee's endorsement. David Nachbar appeared and made his case at this meeting. Rochesterturning will be posting video and commentary soon.

Update: A Rochesterturning reader also reports that the Ontario County committee endorsed Massa last night.

Massa News

Eric Massa's Wednesday press conference bore fruit in the form of a story in today's Olean Times-Herald.

Yesterday, the Massa campaign also announced that it received the endorsement of the Town of Henrietta (Monroe County) Democratic Committee. According to Massa's site, the Town of Brighton and Ontario County Democratic Committees are meeting next Monday. I'll wager that two more endorsements are coming.

Update: The Massa campaign has also announced that the Town of Canandaigua (Ontario County) committee endorsed Massa yesterday.

Massa's Wednesday Press Conference

The main topic of this morning's Massa press conference was Iraq, driven by the Batiste endorsement and his appearance at a Massa fundraiser this weekend in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County. The fundraiser also coincides with the endorsement Massa received yesterday from the CattCo Democratic Committee.

Rick Miller of the Olean Times-Herald (which covers Ellicottville) was on the call, and asked a number of questions. The first was whether Iraq would be an issue in 17 months. Massa responded that it is an issue today, and as long as the President continues with his "failed strategy", we will need leadership on the issue. "Leadership is not flying over Iraq and announcing all is well," Massa said, referring to Kuhl's Iraq trip last summer. Massa said he believed that Iraq will "absolutely" be an issue in 2008.

Miller then mention the September re-evaluation of Iraq policy, and wondered what Massa thought about it. Massa said that it's "obvious that Iraq is not more secure now because of the new troops." He re-iterated his partition strategy: "We need to learn the lessons of Bosnia" by separating the warring factions and then leaving.

As for the war on terrorism, Massa says that "no one is more committed to hunting down terrorists than me" and referenced his combat experience in Lebanon in the early 80's on the USS New Jersey. Massa called the partition strategy the "only strategic shift that will enable us to rapidly depart Iraq and do what we can do" to ensure some stability. He pointed out that partion is already happening, since the country is dividing itself, but it's happening in "the bloodiest way possible".

In response to a follow-up about the kind of planning that's required for an end-game in Iraq, Massa noted that "those plans are already in place." He said that there's ample unclassified evidence of planning, and that he believes that Pentagon planners have also made extensive studies on an exit strategy. The issue, Massa believes, isn't the exit plan, it's the unwillingness of the President to shift to a new strategy.

I asked a more general question about General Batiste's future role in the Massa campaign. Massa said that Batiste is "acting as a trusted advisor and counselor." Batiste understands the "ground game and the lay of the land tactically" because of his experience in Iraq. Massa said he also considered himself fortunate to have Batiste as an advisor because of Batiste's business experience. Massa will look to Batiste to provide advice and counsel on how to bring economic growth to the area.

Batiste's input on economic growth dovetails with Massa's desire to make the issue of a new jobs base in the 29th front-and-center for his 2008 campaign. At the top of the press conference, Massa announced that he is developing a plan similar to one that was successful in the Raleigh-Durham area. This plan brings together business, education and local government, leveraging the strengths of each group to help build an economy that will employ young people in the area. Currently, those young people receive an education at local colleges but must leave the area due to a lack of jobs.

As for the employment of Eric Massa, which was another question asked by Mr. Miller, Massa noted that he curtailed all other activities in April when he becam an active candidate. Massa's noted that he can't take a salary from his campaign, so he's making personal sacrifies, "as do all candidates who aren't beholden to corporate PAC money."

Batiste Endorses Massa

Maj Gen (Ret) John Batiste has officially endorsed Eric Massa. During the last election cycle, Batiste's anti-Kuhl statements were featured in Massa campaign ads, but there was no official endorsement. During this cycle, Batiste has already made anti-Kuhl ads for the VoteVets.org organization.

Batiste contributed to a "live blog" on the Daily Kos yesterday. In one of his responses in that discussion, it was clear that Batiste is still a Republican:

It's important to remember that VoteVets.org is not antiwar. This great organization is focused on doing what's right for America and our incredible military. When I joined the organization, it became bi-partisan as well.

Massa News Roundup

Eric Massa has received the endorsement of the Town of Gates (Monroe County) Democratic Committee. He's also announced that he's retaining the Rochester firm of Novak Media to do consulting for his campaign (check out the story and comments at Rochesterturning for more information on Novak).

Finally, perhaps the most interesting piece of news: Eric Massa will host Maj General (Ret) John Batiste for a liveblogging session at the Daily Kos on Monday from 11:30 to 12:30. This is interesting if it signals that Batiste will take a more active role in the 2008 Massa campaign.

Two More Massa Endorsements

The Massa Campaign has announced two more endorsements: the town of Rush (Monroe County) and Yates County.

Two More Massa Endorsements

In the past few days, Eric Massa has been endorsed by the Democratic Committees in the Monroe County towns of Chili and Mendon. All of the town of Mendon, and all but a little slice of Chili lie in the 29th district. With these two endorsements, five of the nine Monroe County towns in the 29th have endorsed Massa.

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