NY 23rd Congressional Democratic Candidates?

I have heard questions and read rumors about who might be running against Rep. Tom Reed in the November 2018 election. Even though it is a bit more than 18 months away, we currently have FIVE potential democratic challengers to Rep. Reed!

The Democratic County Chairs have all met four of the other five. The fifth one recently decided to get in the race and was able to meet with a  few Chairs last Sunday.

At least two challengers have said that they will officially announce their candidacy in May. I assume more will follow suit. The group has a wide range of experiences and varied backgrounds. I am not mentioned names, since that will take away from their announcement; this is what I feel I can tell you about them:

  • All five Challengers are male.
  • Two are from Tompkins County, one from Tioga, one from Steuben, and one from Chautauqua.
  • Two are practicing Attorneys; one more has a law degree but is not a presently working as an Attorney.  One is a small business owner and the other is a teacher.
  • One is very active in Union activities. Another is retired from the Air Force. One has been elected to his Town Board. One was a teacher before he became an attorney.
  • There are two “younger” candidates, one states that he is 28, the other turned 30 earlier this year.

If the 2018 political calendar is like the 2016 calendar, they will be passing petitions beginning in early March. If more than one candidate gets enough signatures on his petitions there will be a Primary Election in late June 2018.

We are now political science students. We will have about 13 months before the primary to learn about the people who might represent us in Washington. We need to decide which of these potential challengers to Rep. Reed  will have the best chance to defeat him. We need to determine who were are comfortable with representing us. They will be traveling to all 11 NY 23rd Counties, and often.  Contact your County Chair (Democratic County Chair contact information) and follow their social media feeds to find out when/where they will be your area.

Consider the following questions.

  • How does where the candidate lives affect electability?
  • How will having a Primary Election affect this election?
  • What about political philosophies? We know that Bernie drew supporters from both the left and the right–will that work here?
  • Can you support a candidate who opposes some traditionally Democratic views, i.e. Pro Gun Rights and/or Pro-Life?
  • What are one or two the traits a candidate must have before you support him?
  • How can local grass roots resistance groups do to support our candidate?
  • How can you convince a non-voter to vote?
  • What  concerns do you have?

We are an important part of the process. Get involved. This is what Democracy Looks Like!

Posted in 2018 | Tagged | 3 Comments

Science is not for Denial, it’s here to Embrace

The article was written by Cath Kestler, activist and resident of Silver Creek, NY


The Science March held on Earth Day provided us with an actual picture of the Renewable-Energy-300x297participating masses filled with an untiring enthusiasm in unity for the need to save our planet, for there is no planet B; we only have one chance and that time is now because time will run out for we are very close to that line in the sand.

Those who are passionate about science exude a quest to understand the universe and science; it is ever-changing and evolving as I type this column.  I remember watching Bill Nye the Science Guy in his lab coat and bowties with my daughters back in the 90’s thoroughly enjoying the looks on their faces filled with amazement as he explained science in a fun way that made them eager to learn more.

Today, Bill Nye is like a rock star to those kids that are passionate about science and he is always willing to engage in conversations with our younger generations and has never turned down an opportunity to pose for a “selfie” to satisfy his fans.

My mentor as I was growing up was my eighth grade science teacher, Mrs. Burch who ignited my passion for science and my thirst to drink up all the knowledge I could find at that age.  I drove my mother crazy with all of my questions and I was frequently at the library in search of the answers.  I hope some of you out there advocate our young generation to seek the answers and develop a deep love for science.

During the March on Saturday in DC as well as other marches happening in conjunction were filled with scientists, doctors, educators and activists all with science related goals in mind.  It was reported that some 500 to in the government 600 other satellite marches took place to put the focus on varying scientific concerns depending on where the march took place.

Some of the goals in which the spotlight needed to shine upon were for funding for science education; promoting open outreach to further promote education and supporting diversity in different scientific fields.  Though the scientists reached out to state and local politicians to participate, only the Democrats responded to the call.

According to Laurie Krug, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at SUNY Stoney Brook who marched Saturday in NYC stated in Live Science that “Scientists are going to be more active, we tend to be passive so that we are seen as non-partisan.  We need to keep STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field strong to keep young people interested in research.”

A website has been introduced that has advocacy news and tools to help scientists get connected to the political process.  There are mountains of information that scientists need to be better at opening up and communicating the information we need—not everyone is science minded.  Get some information: https://www.forceforscience.org/

This March was born and motivated by Trump who disparaged climate change as a hoax and voiced suspicions of the safety of vaccines.  Cabinet members were appointed to head up departments that are skeptical if not outright hostile to the sciences.  In an administration that relies on polls, a recent poll stated that the majority of the citizens trust and depend on scientists and their works.

Recent budget cuts hit the sciences straight to the bone.  The National Institutes of Health which is already cut to the quick will be further cut by 18 percent.  We are on the verge of life-saving breakthroughs in a lot of areas in medicine and diseases.

The Environmental Protection Agency headed up by Scott Pruitt (who is an open science denier) and has sued this agency 20 times will see a 31% cut to funding and a quarter (25%) of the EPA’s 15,000 employees will lose their jobs.  Bringing back polluted rivers, streams and lakes, not to mention rolling back regulations on dumping toxic waste and breathing in smog…I remember the 70’s and don’t want to go back there.

According to Denis Hayes an organizer from the first Earth Day in the 1970 stated in the NY Times, “You have a clear enemy,” he said.  “You’ve got a president who along with his vice president, his cabinet and his party leadership in both houses of Congress have a strong anti-environment agenda.  He’s basically trying to roll back everything we’ve tried to do in the last half-century.”

Let’s be clear, we can no longer afford a government that dismisses or denies science.  The People’s March for Science is scheduled for April 29th in DC and I’m sure there will be sister marches to coincide with this march as well—if you missed the march on Earth Day, consider making a sign and letting your voices be heard this Saturday.  Hope to see some of you there.

Science is vitally important.  Where would we be without science?  It is used in absolutely every aspect in the lives we live…

Posted in Environmental | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Taxes, Part 2


The goal is for tax reform is to be revenue-neutral–Tom Reed

Economic growth will pay for a majority of President Trump’s tax reform plan, …..–Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin

If tax reform is to be revenue-neutral, and business taxes are cut, individual taxes must increase to compensate. How would Tom explain that away, one wonders. I think the answer is obfuscation and voodoo.

  • What’s important is how much we owe. Tom may explain that marginal tax rates will be cut implying taxes owed will be less. But wait! If deductions are eliminated taxable income will increase so that any rate cut may not lead to a lower tax due. By muddling tax owed with tax rate, Tom may make an argument that will fool many.
  • If revenue is lost due to rate cuts, Tom might want to compensate by cutting SS and Medicaid benefits, a long-term goal of his.
  • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says lower tax rates will be more than offset by increases in personal income. That’s voodoo economics. It is false, it has been tried, it doesn’t work. Those concerned with budget deficits had better not buy this argument.

Watch out for a move to eliminate estate tax. Few owe that, but elimination would greatly benefit the Trump family. Similarly, elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax would greatly benefit wealthy individuals.







Posted in Economics, Reed's Views, Taxes | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Ought we all register as Republicans?

talking-peopleI’m going to register as a Republican and tell all my friends to do so too. For people living in the 23rd district who read my blog, I recommend that we all register as Republicans. Why not register as Democrats if that’s the party that we prefer? Frankly, because our district is not likely to elect a Democrat. I know we came a little close for your comfort this fall, Tom, but you still won with a fairly safe margin. The people of this district generally prefer Republicans. My best bet for getting a centrist candidate as my representative in Washington is to get a centrist Republican. And I’m okay with that.–Susan Bruxvoort Lipscomb

Why not register as a Republican to vote in a Republican primary? Here are my reasons:

  • I would be ashamed to sail under false colors.
  • While Tom Reed is mostly a moderate Republican, that isn’t good enough for me. If Republicans wish to nominate a more extreme candidate, I accept the risk that such a Republican might win.
  • As a Democrat, I want Democrats to choose our candidates. I suppose the same is true for Republicans.
  • Many Republicans registering as Democrats and vice versa might responsibly work for a moderate candidate, but others might favor what they hope is a weak candidate–dirty politics, which we have enough of already.
  • There is no telling which parties will have primaries. Tom Reed has faced no primary challenges as his Democratic challengers have. Democrats registering as Republicans lose their right to vote in a Democratic Party primary.

Professor Lipscomb writes: “One reason we don’t have moderates in congress (from either party) is that moderate voters don’t often vote in the primaries.” I wonder:

  • Is it true that there are no moderates in Congress? How would “moderate” be defined so that would be true?
  • Is it true that moderates don’t vote in primaries; what is the evidence for that?

I enjoy Professor Lipscomb’s writing, but I can’t accept her premise that Tom Reed is the best that we can hope for, that he is responsive to his constituents’ needs, that somewhere between left and right there is a happy bipartisan median into which Tom might be gently nudged.

Note: Changes in party registration don’t take immediate effect–you must change well before the primary. Check the political calendar at https://www.elections.ny.gov/ElectionLaw.html or even better check with your local Board of Elections.


Posted in 2018, Congress, Political, Reed's Views | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Is Rep. Reed Tiptoeing Away From Trump?

Friday night (April 21) our Congressman, Rep. Tom Reed was on the MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” program. Hayes asked Rep. Reed questions about Funding the Wall, Shutting Down the Government, and Trump’s newest edition of the Bill to Repeal the ACA. Hayes especially was interested if Reed would support the bill if it did away with the Pre-existing Conditions guaranteed in the ACA.  Reed told Hayes,

“I care about making sure they have access to Health Care.”

Here is the complete program. Reed’s interview begins at 5:30 and ends at 10:00.  You may want to watch the next five minutes to hear two Democratic House Members critique Reed. One of them said that it looked liked the Republicans are “tiptoeing backwards” away from Trump.

Is Reed beginning to tiptoe away from the President he once said, “… is a Disruptive Force and I Support that”?

Posted in Reed's Views, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Tax Reform Soon? GOP needs to repeal ACA first.

April 18, 2017  “Our tax reform and our tax plan is coming along very well. It will out very soon. We are working on Health Care. We are getting that done, too,” reported President Trump at the Snap-On Tools factory in Wisconsin. (about 3:30 into the video).

President Trump often tells us that something great is going to happen soon. What does he mean by soon?

It has been reported  that Trump had planned to get the Tax Reform through Congress and on his desk to sign in August. That timetable seemed to disintegrated when the Republicans couldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act. They need the money they save from not funding the health benefits of the needy to give tax breaks for wealthy.

Trump realizes that he has to repeal the ACA, so they are going to try to pass another version of the American Health Care Act–and he wants to go it quickly–so he can then work on Tax Reform. Near the end of the Snap-On Speech our President returned to the Tax Reform and Health spiel.

We are also working with Congress on Tax Reform and simplification. We are on time if we can get that Health Care approval, so press everyone of your congressman, press everyone to get that approval. It just makes the tax reform easier and it makes it better, it makes it steeper, it’s going make it bigger, and that’s what we want to do. So we are on very good shape on Tax Reform, we have the concept of the plan. We are going to announce it really soon, but Health Care, we’ll have to get the Health Care done quickly.

Two days later, at a news conference with the Prime Minister of Italy, our President brought up Health Care again:

April 20, 2017–“We are doing very well on Health Care. This is a great bill, it is a great plan and it is great health care. It’s evolving. The plan gets better, and better and better and it is gotten really, really good. A lot of people are liking it a lot. We have a good chance of getting it soon. I would like to think next week.”

I would feel a bit better about the new proposal if the President had given us some facts about it, instead of telling us that it is “really, really good.  Reports are it just an outline. Chuck Todd of the MSNBC program MTP Daily on Thursday (April 20) told the audience that the  new proposal was framed to entice radical conservative Freedom Caucus to support it. That would mean more moderate Republicans  (the Tuesday Group) will probably oppose it. Then of course it needs to go the Senate process for approval.  The new Health Care proposal would have a very little chance  of becoming law.

On-line articles about the new proposal have headline like these:

Trump is trying to repeal Obamacare again, but he still doesn’t have the votes

White House pressures GOP leaders on Obamacare showdown next week

The Growing Gap Between the House and the White House on Health Care

(You can follow the links for more details.)

President Trump needs to have a repealed ACA in order to have a Tax Reform Plan. That will not be easy. We’ll see if it happens “soon”.


Posted in Health Care, Legislation | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Tom Reed at Glenora

Tom ReedThanks to Glenora Wine Cellars for having me out today to talk about tax reform and trade.–Tom Reed

Tom wanted to talk taxes, but the business people assembled at Glenora had other concerns. Nevertheless, he persisted:

John Christensen, writing in The Chronicle-Express, lists Tom’s proposals for “reform.”

  • Lowering the tax rate for corporations and capital gains
  • Full cost deduction for business machinery and equipment, rather than taking depreciation
  • Eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax
  • Separating small business income from wage income for individuals
  • Exempting companies from paying taxes on money earned from selling goods overseas.

I note that:

  • Many giant corporations (Google, GE) avoid income taxes entirely.
  • Capital gains are taxed at a low rate today. How is this fair?
  • The proposed deduction for machinery is a stealth tax cut for business.
  • The Alternative Minimum Tax supposedly insures that wealthy taxpayers must pay at least a minimum income tax. Repeal would be a gift to the rich and super rich.
  • How is it fair to tax wages and business profits differently?
  • How is if fair to exclude profits earned overseas from taxable income?

Surprisingly, the business people assembled had more pressing concerns than taxes. How Reed addressed these concerns wasn’t reported.


Posted in Reed's Views, Taxes | Tagged , | 3 Comments