Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kuhl Reports Best Fundraising Period Ever; Raises Over $333,000

First, I must apologize for not blogging recently. With the wedding planning (which was this weekend, and we had a very special surprise visit at the reception from none other than Congressman Kuhl), and starting my new job, I've just been swamped. In addition, while I will be blogging throughout the fall campaign season, I will be on another two week hiatus starting this weekend for my honeymoon in Italy.

Second, I have good news to report on Kuhl's fundraising figures. According to the FEC, Congressman Kuhl has outraised Massa by $43,000. While Massa has around $50K more cash on hand, he still has $75K in outstanding debt, meaning he actually only has $577K cash on hand compared to Kuhl's $610,000 cash on hand.

Below is the Kuhl campaign's statement on the latest figures:

Bath, NY – U.S. Representative John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr.'s campaign today announced Kuhl's best fundraising reporting period in his three campaigns for Congress. Kuhl will report raising over $333,000 during the second quarter. He announced his reelection plans just prior to the start of the quarter.

"I'm deeply humbled by the strong grassroots support my campaign is receiving throughout the 29th Congressional District," said Representative Kuhl. "I am proud to be an independent voice who has a record of delivering for my constituents. Western New Yorkers believe in lowering taxes, increasing the exploration of America's energy resources, finding affordable solutions to healthcare, and making our economy stronger so we can attract and retain competitive jobs. I look forward to continuing out on the campaign trail because I know we're on the right side of the important issues facing the families of my district."

Between April and June, Kuhl raised $333,201.43. Kuhl's previous best fundraising reporting period was three years ago – the second quarter of 2005.

Last week, Kuhl, a lifelong resident of Western New York, announced he will run on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines this November.
UPDATE: According to the Star Gazette, the Massa campaign owes most of its $75,170 debt to Massa's wife...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Endorses Kuhl for Congress

The Kuhl campaign just announced today that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Congressman Kuhl, citing his commitment to economic growth and job creation. Here is the press release:

Bath, NY – U.S. Representative John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr.’s campaign announced that the United States Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Kuhl for reelection to the United States House of Representatives. The Chamber cited Kuhl’s pro-business leadership and his support of legislation that advances economic growth, job creation and less government.

“A key to reviving our economy is to ensure that we do everything we can to support businesses, which will lead to the creation of more jobs. I firmly believe that the reason I'm here in Washington is to create more jobs,” said Representative Kuhl. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce shares this priority with me and plays a pivotal role in encouraging business growth around the nation. I thoroughly appreciate this endorsement and look forward to working with the Chamber in the future.”

“Randy Kuhl has been a champion for the people of Southern Tier, Finger Lakes region, and Rochester and an invaluable leader on important business issues,” said Bill Miller, Chamber senior vice president and political director. “On issues ranging from simplifying our tax code, containing our budget deficit, investing in our infrastructure, and improving education, New York's business community has no better friend than Randy Kuhl.”

The United States Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses. Last month, the Chamber awarded Kuhl the “Spirit of Enterprise” award for supporting pro-growth, pro-business legislation during the first session of the 110th Congress.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Houghton, Brooks To Serve As Honorary Campaign Co-Chairs for Kuhl Campaign

I just got this press release from the Kuhl campaign:

Bath, NY – U.S. Representative John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr.’s campaign announced that former U.S. Representative Amo Houghton and Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks have joined the campaign as Honorary Co-Chairs. Houghton represented Western New York in Congress from 1987 to 2005. Brooks is currently serving her second term as County Executive.

“I’m honored to have the support of Amo and Maggie,” said Representative Kuhl. “We have a strong team of supporters from around the district who will help me continue spreading my message of finding real solutions to keeping our taxes low, promoting a growth economy, giving families access to affordable healthcare and making sure every child receives a quality education.”

“Randy has asked me to be the Honorary Chairman of his campaign, and of course I’m delighted to accept,” said Houghton. “Randy is a good person and under a variety of trying circumstances in Washington has been an excellent Congressman.”

“Randy Kuhl is a great partner for our community and a strong voice for our region,” added Brooks. “Time and time again, he has delivered for the people of Monroe County by delivering important funds for public safety, education, and creating jobs. I am proud to support Congressman Randy Kuhl and am confident that he will continue to work hard for the residents of the 29th Congressional District."

Representative Kuhl, a lifelong resident of Western New York, has represented the 29th Congressional District since 2005. Prior to serving as a U.S. Congressman, Kuhl was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1980 and served there until being elected to the State Senate in 1986. In the Senate, he served as Assistant Majority Leader from 1995 to 2004.

About Amo Houghton:

Houghton served in the United States House of Representatives from 1987 to 2005. While in Congress, he was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the International Relations Committee. Houghton is the founder and chairman of the Republican Main Street Partnership and was responsible for the historic Bipartisan Congressional Retreat. In addition, he founded the John Quincy Adams Society, an issues forum that brings together moderate officeholders with top business leaders.

Houghton, the only former CEO of a Fortune 500 firm ever to serve in the House, is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Business School. He joined Corning Glass Works (now Corning, Incorporated) as an accountant in 1951 after serving as a Pfc. in the United States Marine Corps. He retired from Corning in 1986 after serving as president, board chairman and chief executive officer.

About Maggie Brooks:

Brooks, elected Monroe County’s fifth County Executive in 2003, is the first woman to hold the position. She was re-elected to a second term in 2007 by an historic 74 percent of the vote. In 2005, Brooks was appointed to the newly-created Federal Medicaid Commission, serving as the only public official from a local government to be appointed to the Commission.

Brooks previously served as Monroe County Clerk and as a Monroe County Legislator. She is well-known in the Greater Rochester area from her many years as a local television news anchor and radio reporter.

Congressman Kuhl Launches "Fix Washington" Project

Last week, Congressman Kuhl unveiled his "Fix Washington" project as a way for constituents to introduce legislative proposals to the Congressman. Constituents can send their ideas to the Congressman through July 18, at which time five will be chosen to be voted for on Kuhl's website. The proposal that gets the most votes will be introduced by Congressman Kuhl on the House floor. IMHO, this is the ultimate constituent outreach.

If you would like to submit your own proposal, click here!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kuhl Holds 20 Point Lead in Latest Poll

My apologizes for not posting in weeks. I got extremely bogged down with other obligations, but I'm back, and what better way to be back than to report such good news.

A poll conducted earlier this year by McLaughlin & Associates shows that Congressman Kuhl now has a sizeable lead (a 20 point advantage) over Massa. According to this poll, Congressman Kuhl continues to build confidence with the voters, while Massa's favorable/unfavorable ratings are almost even.

Here's a quote from the NRCC on the poll:
"Rep. Randy Kuhl has been working in Congress to improve the economy and to meet the needs of families in New York's 29th District. And, as the numbers in this polling memo illustrate, Randy Kuhl is well-positioned to win in November. Eric Massa is a re-run candidate that now will carry the weight of a Democrat Congress that has voted for new taxes and increased spending at every turn on his shoulders," NRCC Spokeswoman Julie Shutley said.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Congressman Kuhl Responds To Today's MPN Editorial

You know, because MPN has nothing else to complain about, they've decided to devote an entire editorial criticizing our congressman for sending out a mailer which informs constituents about the economic stimulus package. The editorial mentions that the IRS has already sent notices to us about the package details. I, for one, never received such a notice, though my fiancee did, even though we both qualify for the rebate. I'm sure many other constituents in our district also didn't receive this notice, and given that Kuhl's office has already received hundreds of calls on this matter, I think he's fully justified to send out a mailer to us about it.

Here is Congressman Kuhl's press release on the editorial:
WASHINGTON – March 25, 2008 - Today the Daily Messenger Post Newspaper published an editorial titled, “Campaigning on your nickel,” which criticized a recent district mailing Rep. Kuhl distributed to inform his constituents about the details of the economic stimulus package. To read the editorial click here.

Below is the Congressman’s response to their editorial:

In your March 25th editorial criticizing my mailing about the economic stimulus package you say, “Unless you’ve been conducting a census on polar bears north of the Arctic Circle, you’ve no doubt heard of the federal government’s economic stimulus package.” Well, it must have been a busy year for Arctic pollsters because nearly 200 residents of the 29th district called my office in early February with questions about their rebate check.

The purpose of my mailer was to inform my constituents about the details of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. Your editorial actually pointed out why I distributed the mailing when you inaccurately said, “Although specific guidelines affect the bottom line, as long as you file a federal income tax return, you’re getting something.” That is wrong and frankly if you had read my mailing then you would have known the truth.

The truth is that some individuals who file a federal income tax return and who have less than $3,000 of qualifying income will not be eligible for the stimulus payment. There are also maximum income limits that will preclude those making above those limits from receiving a rebate check. Another important detail is that individuals who are not typically required to file a return, such as senior citizens, will have to file a tax return to get their rebate checks.

I understand that the editorial board at the Messenger Post Newspaper has a thorough understanding of tax regulation and the tax code. But this mailing was for everyone else with questions about when and how they are going to get the money they will use to put gas in their car and pay off their debt. And if MPN wants to follow up with the correct information about the details of the stimulus feel free to contact my office with any questions, like many of my constituents did.


Rep. Randy Kuhl


Monday, March 17, 2008

Massa v. Dickert: Libel Case Settled

It appears that, at long last, Eric has settled with Sanford Dickert, his former campaign manager, on the latter's libel suit against Massa.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blogversation III: Blog Misinformation & "He Said, She Said"

Rottenchester has a great roundup on the lastest postings in the Blogversation, and I would like to thank Evan, Rottenchester, and Exile for allowing me to participate in this great conversation and apologize for not posting my remarks on the last topic until now. The last few days have been very focused on other issues. On Friday, I was covering the Kuhl announcement, and when I was prepared to write my Blogversation response on Monday, the Spitzer scandal broke, so all of my limited free time from work (which is the only time I have to blog) had to be focused on such a big story, since it's not everyday that your governor resigns.

So with that, I'll give a brief reply to the last questions which Evan asked. First, Evan asked if we agreed on whether we "would like to see more fact-based reporting -- instead of the 'He said, She said' style." I do agree that the media have an obligation to gather factual information and present it to the public, and naturally, a simple recap of what one politician says and then the adversary's response would not fall under that obligation. Sometimes these exchanges remind me of those hilarious "Point/Counterpoint" skits which SNL ran in the late '70s with Jane Curtain and Dan Aykroyd (you remember, "Jane, you ignorant slut..."). And yet this is what the media are accused of doing on numerous occasions. I wouldn't say it's a journalist being lazy, but rather the fear of bias which factors into a journalist's decision when reporting such matters. I understand the fear, and a journalist has to walk that fine line between "fact reporting" and an "opinion commentary," and in some cases, a vindictive "hit job" on a particular candidate or issue. Of course, as I've stated before, I'm not a fan of the "objective journalist" model, and would prefer reporters who wear their politics on their sleeves rather than claim their "bias free" when they're not, but as journalists continue to strive for "objectivity" when reporting on political affairs, these issues will only continue to grow.

As to the question about whether the rise of blogs will either increase misinformation or rise to a form of respected journalism, the answer is that both will occur, as it did in the initial rise in newspaper or TV reporting so many years ago. Just as we complain about bias in the media today, one must not forget that in the 19th century, many (if not most) newspapers had strong ties to (and sometimes fully backed by) one political party or candidate, which only added to the rise of yellow journalism. I mean, have you ever wondered why so many newspapers across the country have names with the word "Democrat" or "Republican" in them? The great thing about misinformation today is that it can be dissected and commented on in a matter of minutes. Look at how blogs played an active role in reporting on the CBS Memogate in '04. Within hours of Dan Rather's initial report, swarms of blogs were already posting the memo images and concluding that they were fakes. Naturally, blogs can also add to the spread of misinformation, but humans are a gossipy creature, so that will happen with or without the blogosphere.

So, with that, I'd like to thank all the participants again, especially 13WHAM for making this possible, and would enjoy the opportunity to do this again real soon!

Massa on Client 9

After a long afternoon away from the office, I just got around to reading Grievous Angel's coverage of today's Massa presser. Frankly, this type of response was Massa's only option given his close association with Spitzer in the last election. Plus after that wonderful ad the two did together started to float around again, continued silence would have only resulted in humorous YouTube remixes of the ad and Massa's association with Spitzer, like this one which was sent to me this morning.

So to combat that, we got lovely images of Massa standing in the cold yesterday "with a tea kettle of hot water" scraping off his Spitzer bumper sticker (what, was Spitzer's campaign so cheap it couldn't afford those easy to remove vinyl ones?). His remarks weren't gaffe free, though. After throwing Spitzer under the bus and praising David Paterson as "a man who listens," he analogized Paterson assuming the governorship "much like Lyndon Baines Johnson was able to get done what JFK couldn't get done." Of course, LBJ became president after JFK's assassination, while Paterson became governor after Spitzer's ejaculation, so I fail to see the connection.

And leave it to Massa to find a way to attack Congressman Kuhl. When asked about an innocuous article which mentioned that Kuhl is a good golfer (for shame!), Massa responded, "If you have enough time [as Congressman] to improve your golf game then there's something wrong." You know, because Heaven forbid that Congressman Kuhl is allowed play a round of golf once in a while. And it's this type of rhetoric which gets Rottenchester to state about St. Eric, "Watching him...I see a sense of honor and commitment that isn't always there in politicians." And I've been accused of being "over the top." Puhlease!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Massa Remains Mum on Client 9

According to Rottenchester, Massa has apparently donated the $2,000.00 he received from Spitzer this year to the Steuben County's Net Domestic Abuse Program. Good for him.

I'm still wondering, though, why Massa's remaining silent about Eliot "John" Spitzer, especially after today's reports that Spitzer has "used hookers for 6 years" and spent "perhaps as much as $80,000" for such services over the years. Congressman Kuhl issued a statement today stating that Spitzer should step down. Most of the major New York papers have called for Spitzer's resignation, along with the local ones. Democrat Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand also called on Spitzer to resign today, as did local Democrat politicians in Ontario County, so why the continued silence, Eric?

UPDATE: Rottenchester has the full press release from Massa today, which I would have gladly posted before, but it wasn't on his campaign website. Regardless, Massa says, "If in fact these accusations are true, I hope the Governor does the right thing." Now, we can try to assume that Massa is suggesting that Spitzer should resign, but unlike Gillibrand and the other Dems I mentioned above, he's not flat out saying that. This comment appears to be ambiguous on purpose. It could mean to some that he's saying that Spitzer should resign, or merely that he should just plead for his family's forgiveness. So Eric, for the record, answer me this, "Yes or no, should Spitzer resign?"

Kuhl on Spitzer

Congressman Kuhl issued the following statement today on the Spitzer scandal. We in the 29th are now waiting for Massa to come around and also call upon Spitzer to resign.
WASHINGTON – March 11 - U.S. Representative John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr. (RC-Hammondsport) issued the following statement today:

"Yesterday was a sad day for the residents of New York State. I like many of you were shocked at these allegations. My thoughts and prayers are with the Spitzer family as they cope with this difficult time.

As the Governor puts the pieces of his life back together it is important that he puts the constituents of New York State ahead of his own political prosperity. Due to the personal, legal, and political ramifications of his alleged activity, I do not believe that it is in the best interest for him to remain as governor of this great state."

NRCC: Will Eric Massa Return Spitzer's Sleazy Money?

The NRCC asks. And we in the district await the answer...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spitzer & Massa: Together Again!

I asked, and you responded. I present to you all, once again, that wonderful Massa/Spitzer ad, entitled "Day One":

NYT: Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring

The headline says it all. St. Eliot of New York "has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month."

I wonder if Massa will try to secure the good governor's endorsement again this year:

UPDATE: Here's Spitzer's apology. And here's a wonderful album of snapshots featuring the "venerable" Spitzer with his good buddy Eric Massa in Canandaigua. Enjoy!

UPDATE2: If the above video doesn't work, that's because the Massa campaign just took it off YouTube. No worries though, I'm sure people will remember how much Massa embraced Spitzer and vice versa. Btw, does anyone out there have another copy of the video?

UPDATE3: Psst, Eric, if you're going to take down the video, perhaps you should also take down this post from your website mentioning the wonderful Spitzer endorsement, which links to that great ad. Just trying to help!

UPDATE4: Eric, if your webmaster doesn't know which page from your website to take down, it looks like this:

Friday, March 7, 2008



You've officially heard it here first! After weeks of speculation and unsubstantiated rumors flying around, I am at the Monroe County Republican Committee's headquarters in Rochester where Randy Kuhl will be announcing any minute now that he will be seeking a third term in Congress.

Here's the text of Congressman Kuhl's prepared statement, which I obtained just moments ago:

WASHINGTON – March 7, 2008 - U.S. Representative John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr. (R,C-Hammondsport) issued the following statement today regarding his decision to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Congressional seat in the 29th District:

"Today, I stand before you to declare my intent to seek a third term as your representative in the United States Congress. When my constituents voted for me in 2004 and again in 2006 they chose to vote for a lifelong resident of the 29th District, who has the experience and convictions to represent their best interest. They know that I care about securing their jobs, protecting their families, and ensuring that they have a government that doesn't control their lives. They know that I represent them, not a political party or any interest group.

Three-quarters of Americans think that we are on the wrong track. From our faltering economy to the skyrocketing cost of oil, people are worried about keeping their jobs, paying for their healthcare and gasoline, and ensuring that their children grow up in a safe and happy home. Regardless of our political affiliation, we all want similar things. We want to know that when we work hard and follow the rules, we will be successful. We want solutions to our nation's problems, and these issues are not Republican problems or Democratic problems, but American problems.

In the good times and the bad, I have always been there to help my neighbors and fellow Americans. Whether I have helped you avoid the bureaucracy of the many government agencies or listened to you during one of my town meetings, I have maintained my devotion to you. I voted to cut taxes so you can keep more of your hard-earned money. I voted for the economic stimulus package that provides relief to cash-strapped Americans and business. I have voted against wasteful spending and abusive earmarks and demanded accountability and transparency from our government. I voted to bring jobs to the district because at the end of the day, the prosperity of our nation, our state, and our community relies on the ability of our citizens to earn a good income and be confident that their job is secure. But there is still a lot more to do. And there are people who want to raise taxes on your income, healthcare, capitol gains, gasoline, and reinstate the death and marriage tax penalty. There are people who are more concerned with making government larger and more expansive and taking your money to do it.

Two years ago, Democrats took the gavel and things have only gotten worse in Washington. We went from a Republican majority who lost its way to a Democratic majority with misguided priorities. And now, more than ever, we need to fight for the hard working men and women of Western New York. We need to make sure that we cut taxes, cut wasteful spending, and cut partisanship. We need to support our troops in Iraq, but we need to bring our men and women safely home as soon as possible, with the honor and dignity they deserve. We need to create energy policy that lessens our dependence on foreign oil and puts our nation on the way to energy independence immediately. We need to ensure that every man, woman and child has access to affordable healthcare.

My election to Congress provided me the opportunity to solve the problems that face our country. I believe in the American Dream. I believe that if you believe in your dream and you work for your dream, anything is possible. We must ensure that the people of New York have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. I am running for re-election because there are serious issues facing this country and I feel that it is my duty and privilege to work for New Yorkers to ensure that their dreams can be realized. This is not a time for partisanship or political games, but a time for progress, action, and solutions. I am running to ensure that this great community has the best representation."


UPDATE: I just came back from the press conference. One of the questions posed to Congressman Kuhl after he gave his statement was whether he expected a primary challenge. At the podium, he was flanked by Maggie Brooks (Monroe County Exec, who was rumored to be a candidate, but gave an absolutely wonderful introduction for Kuhl), Steve Minarik (MonroeGOP chairman), Jay Dutcher (OntarioGOP chairman), and Jack Clancy (YatesGOP chairman). As Congressman Kuhl was about to answer the question, Minarik assured everyone in the room with just one word, "No!" Congressman Kuhl followed suit and said that it was extremely unlikely, given all the support he has from the county committees, and stated that the remaining GOP committee chairmen from the Southern Tier will be joining him in Corning later today.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

OntarioGOP Exclusive

Check out my blog tomorrow morning for a web exclusive. Developing...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

13WHAM: Sources Say Kuhl's Running

I've been hoping. I've been praying. And Evan Dawson's colleague, Sean Carroll, is reporting on WHAM's blog that "at least four Republican sources" told him that Congressman Kuhl will announce his re-election bid on Friday. I hope they're right, but since Sean doesn't name any of his sources, I have no idea if they're reliable, so I guess we'll still have to wait until Friday to find out officially (I'm not knocking Sean's reporting here, I'm sure his sources are trustworthy, I guess I don't want to launch into premature celebration, so I'll remain cautiously optimistic for the next two days).

As for Sean's suggestion that there might be a GOP primary if Kuhl's running again, I highly doubt it. Granted, anything in politics is possible, but it's a bit too late in the season to challenge an incumbent congressman, especially when Republicans have to rally behind a candidate very early on in this swing district. The Republicans in Ontario County are all behind Congressman Kuhl, and frankly, to have a shot at winning in November, the victor must win, well, Victor and other swing townships in the second largest and fastest growing county in the district!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Blogversation II: How is the Media Evolving?

Rottenchester has a good roundup of our blogversation here, along with his response to the latest question Evan has posed to us: "Where do you guys see the traditional media (and more specifically, the traditional local media) evolving? And perhaps more importantly, where is the traditional media currently failing in its coverage, style, or presentation?"

One does not need to perform an endless Google search on the subject to discover that national newspaper circulation and network evening news viewership are dwindling to the point that these news sources can be classified as endangered species, while nontraditional media, be it online, radio, or cable nets, are all on the rise. Here's a great article by George Will from 2005 on the subject, where he concludes:
The future of the big media that the young have abandoned is not certain. But do you remember when an automobile manufacturer, desperately seeking young customers, plaintively promised that its cars were "not your father's Oldsmobile"? Do you remember Oldsmobiles?
When it comes to the national MSM, there's no question that the drop in its consumers will continue at a fast pace. With internet users continually on the rise, why would people continue to pay for stale national/global news and a handful of opinion columns in the New York Times when they merely need to type in a few words on Google to find a plethora of news items and thousands of political commentators offering their unique insights on the day's events? Plus, if they still want to read the Times, they can merely visit its website and keep their hands ink-stained free. And why would people want to continue to wait for the NBC Nightly News just to see the same news reported throughout the day on the cable nets and online?

However, when it comes to local news, the situation is much different. Rottenchester is right that there is a rise in alternative media in the area (our blogs included), but certainly not at the level of national media sources. For example, throughout the day, I mostly follow national news online through nontraditional sources (e.g., Drudge Report, RealClearPolitics, various blogs, and then later in the day, Rush Limbaugh's website as I can't listen to his program at work usually), but for my local news, I'll go to the D&C's and Daily Messenger's websites (though I'm sure most people in the area get the paper edition) and watch the local news at night. I also read Fighting 29th and Rochesterturning daily, but more to see what they're saying about the local stories rather than as my source for local news.

So while I see national traditional media dying out, on the local level, Evan Dawson is safe with his day job for now.

As for ways in which the local media can improve, it's hard to say. Most of the major newspapers and networks have decent websites, and have been adding blogs to their online news coverage, WHAM especially. But some have committed a few unfortunate errors in their pursuits to move into the online community. The D&C's RocPets website comes to mind (I mean, really, did they have to create another forum for people to post mindless pictures of their pets?).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Blogversation I: Do I Consider Myself a Journalist?

As you will see from Rottenchester's latest post, 13WHAM's Evan Dawson has asked local bloggers to participate in a "blogversation," and the first topic we will cover is answering the following question: "Do you consider yourselves journalists?"

I decided to consult my copy of The American Heritage College Dictionary (Third Edition) to get a definition for the word "journalist," which is defined as follows: 1. One whose occupation is journalism. 2. One who keeps a journal. In trying to determine my status as a "journalist," my first concern was determining whether my writing this blog is my "occupation," given my assumption that Evan wasn't asking whether we consider our blogs a type of diary. So I looked up the word "occupation," and found this definition: 1.a. An activity that is one's regular source of livelihood; a vocation. b. An activity engaged in esp. as a pastime; an avocation. Clearly my blogging does not fall under the first part of the definition, i.e., I have a day job that actually makes me money and has nothing to do with my blog, but my blogging certainly falls under the second part in that a synonym for "avocation" is "hobby."

Now that I've proved that I can be "occupied" as a journalist, I now need to determine whether my writings on this blog can be considered "journalism," which is defined as follows: 1. The collecting, writing, editing, and presentation of news or news articles. 2. Material written for publication in a newspaper or magazine or for broadcast. 3. The style of writing characteristic of newspapers and magazines, marked by the direct presentation of facts. 4. Newspapers and magazines. 5. An academic course in journalism. 6. Written material of current interest or popular appeal. While it's debatable whether what I engage in here falls under the first three definitions (which is what most people think of when they hear the word "journalism"), and it's clear that it does not fall under the fourth and fifth definitions, there is no question that my blog posts fall under the last, looser definition. Therefore, because my blogger status falls under the definition of "journalist," and unlike some occupations, e.g., doctors or lawyers, one does not necessarily need to attend a special school or hold a license to call oneself a "journalist," then I would answer the above question in the affirmative.

UPDATE: In my haste to reply to Evan's initial question, I forgot to answer a followup question he had posed on whether I was impressed with the liberal Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo for winning this year's George Polk Award for Legal Reporting, the first time that a blogger has won this prestigious award. The conservative in me is not a fan of the award's advisory panel consistently honoring liberal journalists, but the blogger in me is proud to see a fellow blogger, regardless of his ideology, win such an award, so kudos to Mr. Marshall.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Those Retirement Rumors

On Monday, Rottenchester posted about the latest Randy Kuhl retirement rumor, this time involving the NRCC trying to convince Congressman Kuhl from seeking another term (you know, "We'll make him an offer he can't refuse..."). I agree with Rottenchester that this latest rumor sounds incredibly fishy, not only for the reasons he cites, but also because federal election laws forbid the NRCC from approaching any incumbent to have such a conversation anyway.

William F. Buckley Jr., 1925-2008

"A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'"
~William F. Buckley, Jr.

I'm very saddened by the passing of WFB today. Building a political movement is much like building a house: You need to start with a firm foundation. And I would argue that while Edmund Burke was the father of conservatism in general, Buckley laid the foundation for the modern American conservative movement. Conservatives should be thankful that a man like Buckley existed, and that he never gave up on yelling "Stop!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ontario County's Growth

13WHAM's Evan Dawson has a great story on Ontario County's growth compared to most of the region, along with a blog post about the Eastview Mall in Victor. It's great to read and watch stories like these about Ontario.

Dawson emailed me a few days ago to get my input on the story, and here was my response:

I think the Progressive Farmer put it best in 2006 by ranking Ontario County the "Best Place to Live" in the United States, because of its: "Great schools. Low crime. Excellent health care." I'm not originally from here, having grownup downstate and then living a few years in DC, but I fell in love with the area after meeting my then girlfriend (now fiancee) who's from the region. It's a beautiful county, right in the middle of the Finger Lakes region and New York State's wine country, and with its closeness to the third largest city in the state, Ontario County offers a unique opportunity to residents who commute to Rochester but want to live in either a rural or suburban setting. Besides, where else in America can one get a slice of delicious grape pie?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Congressman Kuhl's Statement on FISA

I missed posting this statement from Congressman Kuhl over the weekend. As to his comments about the Clemens hearing last week, while I'm no Yankees fan, I fully agree that last week's congressional hearing on whether or not Roger Clemens used steroids was a joke. If it turns out that Clemens did in fact use roids, he should be punished, not by Congress, but by Bud Selig. And if Henry Waxman is so concerned about the state of baseball, I propose that he do us all a favor and resign from Congress and try to become the MLB Commissioner.
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 15 – U.S. Representative John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr. (R-Hammondsport) today issued the following statement regarding the priorities of the Democratic Leadership:

"America is fighting a battle against a potential recession, job loss, ramifications of war and famine, outlandish spending, and a failing health care system, but the Democratic leadership would rather hold a full-day hearing to determine if Roger Clemens used steroids. By being more concerned about sensationalism of cheating in baseball, the Democratic majority is cheating Americans out of the security and prosperity that their government has promised to uphold.

This week was another example of what happens when Congressional leadership fails to get their priorities in order. I understand that Speaker Pelosi wanted to get home for a wedding this weekend, but she put the bride and groom ahead of protecting our nation. By not allowing the bipartisan, Senate-passed FISA vote to be brought up on the floor, she has rendered U.S. intelligence officials unable to certify new terrorist surveillance without needless, cumbersome bureaucratic hurdles. I sure hope that was some amazing wedding cake.

Unless Roger Clemens has a plan to revive our faltering economy or pass legislation that will protect American from a terrorist attack, he has no business testifying on the Hill when Congress has more imperative issues to discuss. Maybe next week American Idol will hold their audition on Capitol Hill so the Democratic majority can delay taking up legislation to fix our porous borders or create solutions to Social Security.

The Democratic majority is out of touch with the American people. The majority has forgotten that the reason that they were sent to Washington was not to get a photo op with a celebrity, but to solve America's problems. I hope we can do better in future weeks."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Who Does My Brain Want to Vote For?

So I took the Implicit Association Test from Harvard University today, which is designed to use your mental reflexes to rank the remaining presidential candidates in either a positive or negative light. Not surprisingly, in my results, Huckabee was ranked on top, followed by McCain, then Obama, and all the way at the bottom, Hillary. These results pretty much mirror my results from this online candidate selector, which had Huckabee at 68%, McCain at 55%, Obama at 18%, and Hillary at 10%. The interesting thing about the latter results is that it is generally viewed that Obama is more liberal than Hillary, and he was, in fact, rated as having the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate last year. But according to the quiz, there are a few (and I mean "few") issues that we do agree on: (1) we favor allowing churches to provide welfare services; (2) we favor a means in which illegal immigrants could earn citizenship (though I'm sure we disagree on the means); and (3) we agree that drug laws should be enforced. As for Hillary, we agree on the first two items, though supposedly not on the third issue concerning drugs. Granted, none of these issues are make-or-break issues for me, but still interesting that a hard-core conservative like me slightly agrees with Obama more than Hillary.

As for the Harvard test, it measures likeability more than one's preference on the issues, and in that contest between Obama and Hillary, Obama wins in a landslide. And while I like McCain, there's no question that Huckabee is the more affable of the two, IMHO.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

House Republicans Protest Democrats’ Partisan Games at the Expense of America’s National Security

CNN : "What they're doing here is that they're trying to bring awareness to what's going on. They're ratcheting up pressure on House Democrats on the FISA act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. We heard from President Bush just a short time ago as well, so this is a full-court press that Republicans and President Bush are staging against House Democrats. This is a showdown over the legislation that governs how U.S. intelligence agencies oversee some communications between suspected terrorists." (Watch the full segment here.)

FOX: "There is some outrage on the Republican side. … The President and a number of Democrats and many Republicans in both the Senate and House are saying 'you have to pass a law, we cannot let the old law expire because there are problems in it.' The Leadership instead decided to pursue different matters and recess for a week without even taking up another effort." (Watch the full segment here.)

MSNBC: "A day when the President and these Republicans and a vast majority of the Senate feel as though the law governing the electronic surveillance of terrorists in this country should be taken up. That bill right now in limbo because the Senate has passed a bill that House Democrats are vehemently against … Congress due to go out on a week-long recess after they leave this week … Nancy Pelosi at this moment holding a press conference saying they will hold firm, they will not put the Senate bill on the floor…" (Watch the full segment here.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Congressman Kuhl: We Owe Our Deceased Veterans, Not the Other Way Around

Congressman Kuhl wrote the following post on The Hill's blog today, in which he announces that he's cosponsored H.R. 5148, a bill that would relieve families of paying certain debts if a veteran dies "as a result of an injury incurred or aggravated on active duty in a combat zone."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Criticism of DNC's "Superdelegates"

With the prospect of a brokered Dem Convention seeming increasingly likely this year (especially after Obama went three for three yesterday in states as different as Louisiana, Washington, and Nebraska), Chris Bowers, an Obama supporter, indicates that he would quit the Dem party if the "superdelegates" don't vote for whom "the majority (or plurality) of its participants in primaries and caucuses want it to nominate" at the convention. Out of fairness to the Clinton campaign, he also advocates that the delegates from Florida and Michigan should be allowed to vote at the convention, which would give her a few more delegates.

I can understand Bowers' frustration with the process, but this is not an argument to put forward now if you're an Obama fan. According to the latest CNN vote totals, Hillary has received just over 420,000 more votes than Obama when the vote tallies from Florida and Michigan are included. RealClearPolitics currently has Hillary having 3 more delegates than Obama, though that's without Florida and Michigan given that they won't have delegates seated at the convention at this time (though the DNC could change its minds on that decision), and the RCP polling national polling average has her beating Obama by 2.9%. However, Obama now has the momentum in this race and should continue to do well this month in states like ME (which is today, though this is the only race that I think is still "up in the air" left this month, given no current polls and New England having gone for Hillary thus far despite the Kennedy's), the VA-MD-DC trifecta on 2/12, WI (which usually votes similar to IA), and HI (where he grewup).

Yet, despite all this, what if Obama can't close the 400K voter gap, or there remains a razor thin delegate margin in June? Even though there is a lot of criticism against superdelegates, the fact is that we do not hold a national primary in this country. Instead, we have primary voters going to the polls during a six month period, during which they learn more about the candidates and make a decision at the time that they vote. And even when they vote, they're not voting for a particular candidate, but for the delegates to represent them at the convention, which is held more than eight months after the first caucus/primary contest. Because of this, I think it's very premature for an Obama supporter to say that he'd "quit the party" if the superdelegates don't support the "will of the people," because it's hard to claim a "will of the people" in the primary process. How many people who've already voted in the primary now regret their decision? What if something new transpires, or a scandal is revealed, against the "favored candidate" before the convention? Should the superdelegates vote for the candidate who received a plurality of the vote, or has a slight lead in delegates, then? And let's say that Hillary still has a slight lead in the vote total and delegate count then, but polls still show that the more liberal senator from Illinois has a better shot against McCain than Hillary, and the superdelegates decide that it's better for the party to nominate Obama in such circumstances? I'm sure under the latter scenario, Mr. Bowers would be singing a much different tune...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

WHAM Followup

Evan Dawson replied to my comments on Rottenchester's blog here (just scroll down through the comments), and I replied to his. Perhaps my use of the word "bias" was too strong in this matter, and I appreciate Evan for taking the time to reply. As I stated in my reply to him, "In the past, when I have criticized other media outfits in their reporting of stories (particularly the local papers), I never received a single response from them, so I'm glad you took the time to reply."

While I may still disagree about how this story was portrayed, having the reporter in question follow up with the bloggers on this was very helpful, and even though I normally watch WROC 8 for my local news, Evan, through his thoughtful followup, has given me reasons to watch his network instead.

Brazil Truth

Rottenchester just posted a lengthly retort to my comments on his blog from last night, questioning how I could accused WHAM of media bias and providing a hypothetical if a Dem was investigated by the media for doing the same thing.

Yet, the proof of bias (see post above) is right on WHAM's website. Here's a link to the PDF on the channel's website with the expenditures. Notice something there? Right on the first page, the document is stamped January 31, 2008. Why is this relevant? Because Kuhl's office could NOT have provided the report to the reporter on the 2nd, since the report is not required to published until 60 days after the trip.

Here are excerpts from the Congressional Rules for "Official Travel" that apply to CODELS: "Additionally, the Speaker of the House may approve official foreign travel for a group rather than an individual. Group official foreign travel is called a 'congressional delegation' (CODEL). In the case of a CODEL, the committee chairman, ranking member, or senior employee must write the report for the entire group and submit the report to the Chair of the Committee on International Relations before the end of the session. The report should cover the per diem expenditures, transportation expenditures, and miscellaneous expenditures, as well as the reasons for the expenditures. Within 60 days of the beginning of the next regular session of Congress, the Chair of the Committee on International Relations must file a consolidated report of all committees' official foreign travel expenses with the Committee on House Administration. Changes may be made by submitting an amended report to the Clerk of the House (Emphasis added)." So as you can see the official foreign travel report should have been filed by "the committee chairman, ranking member, or senior employee" who "must write the report for the entire group" and it must be submitted before the end of the congressional session. Not in 30 days and certainly NOT by Congressman Kuhl! Even if Congressman Kuhl was traveling alone the rules state that "members must submit an expense report to the committee chairman within 60 days of the conclusion of the trip," not in 30 days. The 30 day rule applies only to officially connected travel, i.e., official travel paid by a private source, which this trip wasn't!

Super Tuesday Results

As expected, McCain cleaned up tonight and is clearly the frontrunner on the GOP side. And given that Romney said earlier tonight that he's in this race for the long haul, one has to wonder how that's even possible after tonight. As for Huckabee, he had a decent night, and may have increased his chances of being McCain's runningmate.

On the Dem side, Hillary had a much better night than I anticipated, particularly in California. Yet, Obama did very well tonight, winning many states and delegates, kept his campaign alive, with some speculation that he may have received more delegates than Hillary tonight, though I don't know if that will hold given the margin in CA right now (55%-33% for Hillary with 17% of precincts reporting right now). But we'll just have to wait and see how the delegates are apportioned tomorrow. Whatever the outcome, I don't think the Dem race will be decided for quite a while.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Price of Kuhl's Brazil Trip: $0.00671 Per Constituent

Congressman Kuhl just posted the total amount of his portion of the bipartisan Brazil delegation on energy independence: $4,028.93, or $0.00671 per constituent. Rottenchester found the post "snotty". But, when WHAM-13 has expended countless hours trying to do a hit job on Congressman Kuhl "getting to the truth", such a response is warranted. Now they're attacking the figure which Congressman Kuhl released since it may not include the cost of the military air transport. Of course, this expense would have been incurred anyway even if Congressman Kuhl didn't go, as his non-participation would not have cancelled the trip. Frankly, given that this trip helped in gathering information on energy independence, is encouraged by the State Department to foster diplomatic relations, and our congressman was invited by the Democratic organizer of the delegation, I would think that this should be a positive for Kuhl. It shows that he takes energy independence seriously, he's willing to help this country foster diplomatic ties, and it shows his bipartisan spirit by being invited to attend and represent our interests over there.

If only WHAM-13 cared so much about every other dollar that the feds waste rather than do a full "investigative report" on the legitimate spending of four grand...

Pre-Super Tuesday Results Analysis

Given that the polls didn't open in New York until noon today, I haven't voted yet but will do so as soon as I get off from work. I don't anticipate any surprises on the GOP side. Even with CA appearing to be close (which allots its delegates proportionally), other mega-states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Arizona, are all solidly polling for McCain and they're all winner-take-all. In the South, McCain is leading in most of the states, with Huckabee chipping votes away from Romney, as what happened in the West Virginia convention, which Huckabee won by having McCain supporters go for him in the second ballot today.

Of course, there are some on the Right who are vehemently opposed to McCain, like Rush Limbaugh, who has indicated before that he may not vote in the general election if McCain is the GOP nominee. Others, like Ann Coulter, have expressly stated that they would prefer Hillary over McCain. Frankly, I understand their frustration with McCain but I do not comprehend why they are sooo negative about him. Here's a good article about the situation. There are clearly issues where I disagree with McCain, particularly McCain-Feingold (you know, that glorious bill that was supposed to "take money out of politics," but ended up making the system worse, empowering 527s, curtailing our First Amendment rights, and producing election after election where more money has been donated and spent each year). When it came to McCain's immigration bill, I had mixed feelings. While I understand the need to come up with a solution to the problem we face involving the 12-13 million illegal aliens in this country, I also recognize the need to secure the border. That's why Rudy had the best plan of all, IMHO, which was later adopted by McCain: Secure the border first, deport the criminals, and then deal with the other illegal immigrants later. To me, that's the best way to reach a consensus on this issue. And while I first cringed at the Gang of 14 idea, it ultimately produced good results in getting conservative justices on to the Supreme Court. So, in essence, my major issue with McCain is mostly over Campaign Finance Reform, which frankly, is not a "life or death" issue for me to preclude voting for him, and with an American Conservative Union lifetime rating of 82.3%, and the best chance the GOP has in keeping the White House, it seems to me that this vehement anti-McCain sentiment by some on the Right is extremely counterproductive. Fine, your guy Romney isn't going to be the nominee. My guy, Rudy, isn't either, but do what I did: Get over it! The only other major concern I have with McCain is his age and non-eloquent speaking style. Yet, for a man who spent more than five years in the hellish Hanoi Hotel and survived, he can most certainly survive being president and gets off from having to sound "eloquent."

On the Dem side, we just might have a horse race on our hands tonight. I still think Hillary will ultimately be their nominee, and the Dems will only have themselves to blame for the outcome of that decision. When you have a young, dynamic candidate who is the most liberal senator getting praise from Republicans, building a phenomenal grassroots coalition based on change, character, and honesty, and poll numbers showing that he has the best chance to beat John McCain in the fall, and you choose the other candidate, who along with her husband, has a scandal rap sheet that runs around the block and is viewed as one of the most polarizing figures in American politics, don't complain about the results in November. In fact, let's just think hypothetically that she actually pulls it off this year and wins the presidency. Does anyone actually believe that she will help the Dems on the Hill in 2010? For me, I see a clear pathway for the GOP to make huge gains in both houses of Congress (if not take both back) in such a scenario, a la 1994. And do you reasonably believe that she could get herself reelected? Oh sure, she might, but by a slim margin, further polarizing the Clinton image and this country.

Just some thoughts to chew over before the results come in later tonight.

Super Tuesday!

Remember that today is Super Tuesday, so please go out to vote! Polls are open from 12pm to 9pm at your regular polling site.

Also, if you haven't already read my interview with Congressman Kuhl, click here!

Monday, February 4, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with U.S. Rep. John "Randy" Kuhl (R-NY)

OntarioGOP: Congressman Kuhl, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me today. Before we begin, I wanted to ask you about the presidential election since much of the news of late has been focused on the primaries, with all of the changes in the polls and the candidate field winnowing down. As you know from reading my blog, I was a huge supporter of Rudy Giuliani in his presidential bid, but with his exit from the race last week, I've decided to vote for John McCain tomorrow. You also announced last week that you were endorsing John McCain. How did you arrive at that decision?

Kuhl: With the announcement last week of New York's favorite son withdrawing his name from the race, my decision got a lot easier. I have a trust in Senator John McCain and I am confident in his experience, judgment, and ability to unite this country. Although, we have some ideological differences, John McCain stands by his beliefs and I know that he will work with Congress to find solutions to America's problems.

OntarioGOP: Now on to issues involving our district and the upcoming congressional campaign. In 2006, you ran a successful campaign in a year that many Republican incumbents did not win their reelection bids. What do you think made the difference for you in 2006?

Kuhl: I have held public office in the 29th District for over 27 years. When my constituents voted for me in 2006 they chose to vote for a lifelong resident of Upstate New York, who has the experience and convictions to represent their best interest. They know that I care about securing their jobs, protecting their families, and ensuring that they have a government that doesn't control their lives. They know that I represent them, not a political party or any interest group. In 2006, my constituents voted for me because they trust that I will find solutions to their problems and I am privileged and honored to have their trust.

OntarioGOP: As you know, about 45% of the registered voters in our district are either Republicans or Conservatives, while about 30% are members of left-of-center parties, i.e., Democrats, Working Families, and Green. The remaining 25% are either non-affiliated or members of another party, such as the Independence Party. Knowing these data, do you think that your views reflect the views and values of most of your constituents?

Kuhl: Regardless of your political affiliation, we all want similar things. We want to know that when we work hard and follow the rules, that we get rewarded in the end. We want solutions to our nation's problems, and these issues are not Republican concerns or Democratic concerns, but American concerns.

Over the past three years, I have held a town hall meeting in all 145 towns in our district. The issues and questions people have are concerns that are shared across party lines: "How much is gas going to go up?; How am I going to pay for my children's education?; Is this country safer than we were seven years ago?" My job as a Congressman is to provide answers and solutions to our nation's problems.

OntarioGOP: Over the past several months, Eric Massa has criticized you for your votes on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), going as far as saying that he was making SCHIP his number one priority. What are the major issues involved with SCHIP, and why do you oppose the Democrats' proposed expansion of the program?

Kuhl: For over a decade, SCHIP has successfully provided health insurance to New York State's low-income children. SCHIP was designed by Republicans to cover children who did not have private health insurance and were not covered by Medicaid. However, the Democratic extension focused on enrolling higher-income kids who already are covered by private health insurance, instead of low-income, uninsured kids. Their plan also enables illegal aliens to fraudulently enroll in Medicaid and SCHIP by weakening the proof of citizenship. Also, their bill is the most regressive tax increase in American history and taxes the poor to benefit the rich. SCHIP was also designed for children, but the Democratic extension increases the number of adults on SCHIP, which allows even more resources to be taken away from low-income kids. And finally and most importantly, SCHIP was designed for low-income, poor children. The majority forgot that when they designed their extension, because there are still poor children not covered. We must ensure that we cover the low-income children first before considering expanding the program.

SCHIP is a vital program and I am pleased that Congress extended the program for 18-months which ensures that over 6 million children will continue to receive the medical care they need.

OntarioGOP: A few weeks ago, Massa attacked you for a trip you took to Brazil, in which you joined a bipartisan congressional delegation to examine Brazil's efforts in energy independence. What did you and the delegation learn from the trip, and why do you think the trip was important to take?

Kuhl: When I was approached by my colleague Eliot Engel to go on this bipartisan trip, I wanted to learn how Brazil reached energy independence and I wanted to increase my understanding of how alternative energy can succeed. Brazil saw the same signs the U.S. did in the 1970's and instead of sitting by and waiting for the energy crisis to occur, they began investing in a self-sustaining energy solution and now over 90% of Brazilian cars run off their home-grown ethanol supply. Upstate New York can learn from the Brazilian model without using sugarcane, the most prevalent natural resource available in Brazil. New York can learn to develop its natural resources, such as switch grass and other cellulosic feed stocks, in a similar fashion.

But the United States works closely with Brazil on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues. During my trip I met with border enforcement and discussed keeping narcotics, money laundering, and terrorism out of both of our countries. We had a meeting about the Amazon Rainforest and protecting the "Lung of our Planet."

This trip was enlightening and desperately needed. And for those people that want to belittle it for political gain, do not understand that as a country you can not hide your head in the sand and think that everything will be fine. This is a global economy and we must learn from one another to benefit from the successes and failures that we have experienced.

OntarioGOP: I understand that you have decided to wait until March or April to officially announce if you are running for reelection. If you do decide to run again, what issues do you think are the most important to the voters of our district this year?

Kuhl: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and our economy. Upstate New York has not fully recovered from the early 1990's when a significant amount of jobs left our area. To combat this we must invest in business, both small and large, to ensure that there are incentives to employees in New York. Everything from providing a better infrastructure to support moving and building in the district to easing the tax burden for entrepreneurs.

Our economy is faltering and Americans are beginning 2008 with a deep concern over a potential recession. The bipartisan stimulus plan passed by the House will provide relief to cash strapped Americans and encourage business to invest in their future and their employees. By targeting both consumers and employers, this plan will provide both an immediate boost to the economy and a launching pad for growing small businesses.

It is important to note that this plan is only a short-term solution. We can not rely on this temporary relief to be the cure for our economy. We need to develop a long-term strategic plan to encourage sustainable growth in our economy.

OntarioGOP: I now want to ask you a question about constituent services. A few weeks ago, the Congressional Management Foundation gave your congressional website a "Silver Mouse Award" in its "Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill" category, an indication that your website is both user-friendly and holds a wealth of information for constituents. In addition, as you stated earlier, since being elected to Congress, you have held a public town hall meeting each year in all 145 cities and townships in the district. What other constituent services do you offer, and what services set you apart from other congressmen?

Kuhl: One of my jobs as a Congressman is to keep my constituents current on what is going on in the federal government and avoiding the bureaucracy and red tape of government agencies. Since we are living in an internet age, my website is a key source for conveying information. The links can be found on my website (under constituent services) connect you to important federal government links, federal grant notifications, internship opportunities, and important information that influence you and your family.

But offline, I can help you navigate the federal agencies or obtain a federal document, i.e. a passport. By calling my DC office, we can schedule tours of the White House or the Capitol and request to have a flag flown over the Capitol in honor or celebration of a loved one.

OntarioGOP: Finally, you have been in public service for many years, beginning your political career in the State Assembly, where you served for six years, then serving in the State Senate for 18 years, and now starting your fourth year in the U.S. House of Representatives. And before you became an elected official, you had been an attorney for 10 years. You definitely have a long and impressive resume, and have been involved in many decisions of historical significance, but I must ask, what do you think is your single most important accomplishment?

Kuhl: Besides raising three terrific sons, my biggest career achievement has been being accessible to the people I represent and help them fight the red tape and bureaucracies that our federal government can present. From holding telephone town halls to helping seniors understand Medicare to hosting a blog to communicate with the youth of my district, I always try to represent the people by listening to what they want and communicating my beliefs. Over the last four years, and the many years I was a State Senator and Assemblyman, I have held meetings with people that agreed and disagreed with my positions. It is important to me that I remain
accessible to my constituents and make them feel like they have a true representation in Washington.

OntarioGOP: Congressman Kuhl, thank you very much.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

NH Trip Makes the Paper

As you know, the weekend before the New Hampshire primary, a group of us from Ontario and Cayuga counties went up there to volunteer on Rudy's campaign. Here's the story from the Daily Messenger, which came out yesterday.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Breaking News: Kuhl Endorses McCain

And with that, I'll also report that I, too, have decided to vote for John McCain next Tuesday. As Drudge would say, developing...
UPDATE: More on the endorsement from the Star-Gazette.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Well That Was Quick

So I was about to go to bed, when I saw I had a new email message in my inbox. It was from somebody high up in the McCain campaign, expressing his condolences and saying, "Rudy is a class act (and tremendous on taxes). Very good speech (though Mitt was incredibly rude to interrupt)." It's personal communications like these that will certainly help in making my decision on who I'm going to support now, hint, hint.

Florida Results

Fox News and AP have just called the race in Florida for McCain, with McCain beating Romney by about 5 points with 62% of precincts reporting. In addition, Mark Halperin of Time Magazine is reporting that Rudy may endorse McCain as early as tomorrow.

Naturally, I'm very disappointed with the results, as anyone would be sad that their chosen candidate, who you've campaigned for, blogged for, and donated money to, didn't win. Rudy inspired me like no other candidate. I looked past his views on social issues because of his marvelous record in NYC and his leadership on 9/11. Once he promised that he would appoint conservative judges, he sealed my support. Rudy will always have my admiration and support in his future endeavours. And who knows where the road leads him. In just two short years, a fairly unpopular governor from New York will be up for reelection, so who knows...

Yet, tomorrow's another day, and there's still several Republican candidates to choose from, all with strong records and resumes. If, as reported, Rudy does drop out tomorrow, I will have to go through the process of selecting another candidate to vote for next Tuesday. Just for fun, I took one of those online presidential candidate selectors tonight, and here are my results for the top four candidates still left in the GOP field:

68% - Mike Huckabee
58% - Mitt Romney
55% - John McCain
33% - Ron Paul

Of course, other factors will also play a large role in my decision making, such as electability and endorsements. Right now, the polls show that McCain is the best candidate to beat either Hillary or Obama. Plus, if he receives Rudy's endorsement tomorrow, on top of his endorsement from Sam Brownback (who is actually the closest to me ideologically), that will increase points in McCain's column for me. However, I'm still in the process of making my decision. Ironically, for someone who has never understood the "undecided voter" (I always know who I'm voting for weeks, if not months, in advance), I'm now an undecided voter with less than one week to make up my mind. Certainly an election year like no other!

SOTU, Earmark Reform, and Florida

Last night, President Bush gave his State of the Union address, and it was nice to see a familiar face like Congressman Kuhl in the gallery. Here are Congressman Kuhl's thoughts on the SOTU and Bush's legacy.

Prior to the speech, Congressman Kuhl wrote a post on his blog about earmark reform, an issue mentioned a bit in the SOTU, asking Democrats to join Republicans in this effort.

Finally, I thought I'd give my thoughts on the Florida primary before the results come in later tonight. It goes without saying that the polls aren't looking too favorably for Rudy right now, with each day showing that either McCain or Romney has the edge for first place. The results are going to be close, so I'm prepared for a long night. A lot of early votes were cast in this race, which certainly helps Rudy, and I would love for him to pull it off tonight, though I've prepared myself for a defeat. We shall see (and keep cross our fingers)...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Congressman Kuhl's Press Release on SCHIP

About an hour ago, I linked to a story which appeared in the Daily Messenger over the weekend, which "reported" that Massa had accepted Congressman Kuhl's challenge to a debate on SCHIP, and included a statement from the Massa campaign that the debate "details were being worked out." I did find it odd that such a forum was being hosted this early in the campaign, especially since Congressman Kuhl has indicated that he would make a formal announcement on whether he's running for reelection around the time that the Massa people claimed the debate would be hosted. But I linked to it anyway since I couldn't believe that the Daily Messenger would be this wrong in its reporting.

Turns out that there is no debate, and that Massa's campaign misread Congressman Kuhl's press release. Rather than being an invitation to debate, it was a challenge to Massa to get his facts straight on SCHIP. In addition, it seems very clear to me that the Daily Messenger didn't even bother to contact Congressman Kuhl's office about this supposed debate (as doing so would have immediately put any rumors to rest on this), which doesn't surprise me at all for a paper that continues to show its bias for Massa. I can only imagine what went through their heads on this one: "Well, Eric's people say there's a debate, so it must be true, let's not even bother contacting Randy's office."

Here's the press release in its entirety, issued last Wednesday:

WASHINGTON – Jan. 23 - U.S. Representative John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr. (R-Hammondsport) issued the following statement today:

"Mr. Massa continues to regurgitate the same ill-informed and incorrect statements about a deeply flawed SCHIP bill. From the levels of expansion to who can access this program, Mr. Massa needs to consult with his friends in the Democratic Party before spewing falsities about this particular bill. I am astonished at the amount of inaccuracies in Mr. Massa's position since prior to this bill he had simply repeated what Speaker Pelosi had told him to say. A puppet is only as smart as its master, and unfortunately this time the puppet decided to speak for itself and got the facts wrong.

I invite Mr. Massa to actually examine the flawed SCHIP bill and then take a stance. I refuse to vote for any SCHIP legislation that includes the most regressive tax increase in American history, enables coverage for illegal aliens, higher-income children, and adults, and spends billions of dollars to substitute private health insurance coverage with government-run healthcare coverage. Since Congress has already reauthorized and fully funded SCHIP for 18-months, we should not be rehashing last year’s battles, but instead working in a bipartisan manner to develop a longer-term reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program."

Here are the facts about the H.R. 3963:

1. H.R. 3963 enables illegal aliens to fraudulently enroll in Medicaid and SCHIP.

· H.R. 3963 severely weakens the current law by removing the documentation requests under the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), specifically the burden that citizens and nationals provide documentation proving their citizenship in order to be covered under Medicaid and SCHIP. Instead, the bill would require that a name and Social Security number be provided as documentation of legal status to acquire coverage and that those names and Social Security numbers be submitted to the Secretary to be checked for validity.

· In addition, this provision does not require that the individual presenting the name and Social Security Number (SSN) to document in any way that he or she is actually the person he or she is claiming to be. This is an open door to fraud and

2. H.R. 3963 taxes the poor to benefit the rich. The bill uses the funding gained from taxing the poor to pay for expanding SCHIP eligibility to higher-income families.

· In their official analysis of the H.R. 3963, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that 1.1 million new enrollees will be added to SCHIP as a result of an "expansion of SCHIP and Medicaid eligibility to new populations." This means that these children live in families whose incomes are too high in order to qualify for the SCHIP program today. H.R. 3963 will also allow New Jersey to receive full SCHIP reimbursements for families with incomes up to 350% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is $72,275 for a family of four this year and $84,455 for a family of five.

3. H.R. 3963 spends billions of dollars to substitute private health insurance coverage with government-run healthcare coverage.

· CBO projects that 50% of the 1.1 million new enrollees in the "expansion of SCHIP and Medicaid eligibility to new populations" category already have private health insurance coverage. This means that the taxpayers will simply be paying for the government to buy out the health insurance premiums of these children who already have quality private health insurance coverage instead of focusing on actually enrolling low-income, uninsured kids.

4. H.R. 3963 focuses on enrolling higher-income kids instead of low-income, uninsured kids.

· While CBO projects that H.R. 3963 will enroll 1.1 million kids who are in families with incomes too high to qualify for SCHIP now, only 800,000 currently SCHIP eligible kids will be enrolled as a result of H.R. 3963. This means that almost 50% more higher-income kids will be enrolled than current SCHIP eligible kids. Shouldn't SCHIP be focused on insuring low-income kids, not families who can already afford to purchase health insurance?

5. H.R. 3963 creates the most regressive tax increase in American history.

· In order to pay for 5 years of SCHIP and increased spending in Medicaid, H.R. 3963 will increase tobacco taxes by over $70 billion over the next 10 years. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) calls tobacco taxes "the most regressive of the federal taxes," meaning that the vast majority of any increases will be on the backs of low-income American families

6. H.R. 3963 increases the number of adults on SCHIP, allowing even more resources to be taken away from low-income, uninsured kids.

· According to official CBO projections, there could actually be over 500,000 more adults on SCHIP in 2012 than there are today. There were 700,596 adults enrolled in SCHIP at some point in FY2006, and CBO projects that up to 1,258,000 adults could be enrolled on SCHIP at some point during FY2012.

Kuhl in the News

On Saturday, I was at a Randy Kuhl fundraiser at All Things Art in Canandaigua, where a great time was had by all, so with that I give you the latest items on Congressman Kuhl in the news:

Congressman Kuhl discussed his thoughts on the economic stimulus package with the Jamestown Post-Journal, reiterating his position that this plan is a short-term solution and that the government should not forget to give incentives to small businesses, as they provide jobs, which is the "best economic stimulus."

Congressman Kuhl also joined with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter in telling the Bush administration to backoff on its new border requirements, stating that the new regs would cause "more delays in passport backlogs and cost an already strapped American family more of their income."

Last, but not least, Eric Massa has accepted Congressman Kuhl's offer to debate the facts of SCHIP, which will most likely occur in March. Money quote: "A puppet [Eric Massa] is only as smart as its master [Nancy Pelosi], and unfortunately, this time the puppet decided to speak for itself and got the facts wrong. I invite Mr. Massa to actually examine the flawed SCHIP bill and then take a stance."

Friday, January 25, 2008

In Case You Missed It: Congressman Kuhl's Statement on the SCHIP Veto Override Vote

I was very busy at work yesterday, so I didn't have time to post this statement from Congressman Kuhl on the SCHIP veto override vote. IMHO, he hit the nail on the head:
Today I maintained my support for the original purpose of the State Children's Health Insurance Program – to provide health insurance to low-income children. The effort made to override this veto is needless political maneuvering and achieves nothing more than continued gridlock in Congress. In December, Congress, in bi-partisan effort, passed a bill extending SCHIP for 18 months and increased funding and resources to cover current enrollment levels without raising taxes.

This veto override vote is especially disheartening in light of last week's attempt by both parties to work together on a plan for America's faltering economy. I was optimistic that we could work together to fix our nation's problems during the remaining months of the 110th Congress. However, by choosing to delay this vote from mid-December to just days before the State of the Union Address, it is the majority who has once again shown their vested interest in political pandering at the cost of America's children.

SCHIP is a pivotal program and I am pleased that we extended the program for 18 months. There are still half a million children eligible for the SCHIP program, but not enrolled. Before we begin expanding this program to cover adults, illegal immigrants, wealthier families, and kids who already have private insurance, we must ensure that the 500,000 children who go to bed tonight without healthcare get the priority status that they deserve. No parent should have to wonder what will happen to the son or daughter if they become ill. By continuing to push for a flawed bill, the majority refuses to serve the children that the program is intended for and continue to jeopardize the health of our most vulnerable citizens.

Those who call for me to support the veto override continue to turn a blind eye to the realities of bloated and bureaucratic programs. We must create a program that actually provides underprivileged children with healthcare, and does not put them in line behind adults, wealthy children, and illegal immigrants. If those who want this bloated program feel so compelled to aid these groups, they should offer separate bills on the floor of the House of Representatives for a yes or no vote. The reality is that no member of congress would ever offer such a bill, not because they are afraid, but because they know that it is not the will of the American people to cover these individuals. Congress needs to be focusing on protecting our borders, stimulating our economy, and serving America's children, not rehashing last year's fights.