The NewNY23rd analyzed the questions in an article and found that some questions 1) were vague 2) many were loaded with biases 3) had limited choices. I asked “Does he really want our opinions? Or, does he want the data from this survey to justify what he is doing in Washington? Some newspapers also looked closely at the questions and called them “slanted” and “misleading”.
In February I realized that I had not seen any results of the 2015 U.S. Official Survey and since our taxes paid for their printing and mailing, I thought that we should know what our fellow constituents had said that would “help guide federal policy”. I contacted Rep. Reed’s office, was told to email a certain member of Rep. Reed’s staff, and was given her email address. After two email requests, and insurances that I would receive it from Rep. Reed himself at a Town Hall meeting, I received an email stating “We still have a few responses coming in and the data is being compiled.” It took six weeks, but I did receive some of the information I requested:
The total number of mailers was 102,882. They had 20,782 surveys returned, which was a 20.2% return rate.
The top four issues identified by the returnees were 1) Job creation 2) Second amendment rights 3) Education reform and 4) Trade Policy
(I have had comments wondering about the real results–the numbers for each response. All I received after 6 weeks was what I printed above. I communicated with Alison Hunt (Alison.Hunt@mail.house.gov), and Brandy Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rep. Reed’s Washington Office by phone ((202) 225-3161). I believe we might get more information if more people asked for it. I’m sure they would be happy to help.)
Jobs. The survey had one question dealing with jobs.
#21. Do you believe Congress should can do more to promote American manufacturing and better paying jobs?
[ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] Unsure
Would any person answering this survey think that Congress should NOT do more to promote “American manufacturing and higher paying jobs”? I think not. This question was written to remind us that more and higher paying jobs should remain the focus of the government. What it is really reminding us that the GOP has failed to find bipartisan ways to bring prosperity back to the NY 23rd. The CEOs and Stockholders are doing well, but not those who are laboring to produce the goods.
Second amendment rights. Reed’s bread and butter issue in the 2014 campaign. He hopes it is still a hot button issue in November.
#16 Do you support the 2nd Amendment?
[ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] Unsure
Like the jobs question, who doesn’t support the 2nd Amendment? A Federal Court, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, have both ruled that the NYS SAFE Act is constitutional. Both Courts city the Second Amendment in their decision.
The United States Supreme Court has refused to act on an Illinois suburb Assault weapons ban within its boundary, which makes the ban legal. That is similar to what New York State did in the SAFE Act.
Since this was identified as the second most important issue in the NY 23rd, Rep. Reed can (and will) assure his supporters that he protect our second amendment rights.
Education reform. Common Core?
#14. Should primary and secondary education fall under local control or should it be controlled by the federal government?
[ ] Responsibility of the states and localities
[ ] Responsibility of the federal government
[ ] Unsure
This is the only question on the survey that directly brings up education. I’m certain the first choice got the high number of responses. Parents are worried. They are frustrated that they can not keep up with the changing standards in NYS schools. Teachers and administrators are worried and frustrated, too. Children are our priority. This question falls right into the GOP’s big government/small government playbook. It will play well in his congressional campaign.
Trade policy. This is the only question in the survey that relates to trade.
4. Do you believe the President’s proposed trans-pacific partnership trade agreement will be good for upstate New York?
[ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] Unsure
TPP is complicated, technical, and long–there are 30 chapters, four annexes, and 56 related documents. Discussions on the properties began in January 2008, and there were 19 negation sessions. Needless to say that the general public may have a ‘gut’ feeling about if it will be good for upstate New York.
Reed, during many Town Hall meetings, discussed his “Make it here, sell it there” philosophy. He pointed out that TPP would open 90% of the world population to upstate businesses.
Please realize that:
Reed was the only Member of Congress from Western New York to support the TPP and its fast tracking. [Buffalo News, 2/19/15]
Reed Voted To Implement The Colombia Trade Agreement. [CQ Floor Votes, 10/12/11; USA Today, 10/13/11; HR 3078, Vote #781, 10/12/11]
Reed Voted To Implement The Panama Trade Agreement. [CQ Floor Votes, 10/12/11; USA Today, 10/13/11; HR 3079, Vote #782, 10/12/11]
Reed Voted To Implement The South Korea Trade Agreement. [CQ Floor Votes, 10/12/11; USA Today, 10/13/11; CQ Floor Votes, 10/12/11; HR 3080, Vote #783, 10/12/11]
John Plumb, Reed’s opponent for Congress, released his feelings opposing TPP in early October. Five weeks later, Rep. Reed surprised many when he explained the reasons he opposes it in a Press Release. His “Make it here, sell it there” catch-phrase wasn’t mentioned.
Look at the issues that were in Reed’s survey that weren’t in our top four concerns:
- Obamacare—Will Reed not stop trying to repeal, reform, and replace the Affordable Care Act? And what about the Supreme Court’s unconstitutional King v Burwell decision?
- Immigration—Will Reed tell Donald Trump not to build the Wall?
- Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—Will Reed stop trying to save them by defunding them?
- Defense of Property Rights Act—I guess not enough of his fellow Mineral Rights Owners Club buddies responded to the survey to male it a priority.
- Energy Independence–Maybe the lower gas prices changes our priorities
- A Nuclear Iran—Yipes, how could we have forgotten about that worst deal ever?
- Our country’s deficit— I guess enough constituents are seeing through the myth that our grandchildren are going to be saddled paying off the debt.?
- America’s Right Track/Wrong Track Direction—What would the answers to this question really tell Reed? Donald Trump’s whole campaign is based that our government is on the “Wrong Track”, and you know who is a co-chair of Trump’s Leadership Team.
The title of the survey that we took was “2015 Official U.S. Government Survey”. What does “official” mean in this context? I get many pieces of junk mail with “Official” on the envelope weekly.
If the purpose of the survey was to “to help guide federal policy”, why would they need to know your gender, your race, your age, and how you typically get your news–which were all questions near the end of the survey? That information would be used more in a campaign to gather support than to guide policy. What you tell a 60+ Hispanic female would be different than what you say to a 30-39 year old white male. Sounds political.
The on-line version of the survey will not accept your responses unless you provide your name, address, and email address. It is not difficult to figure out why, especially for those of us who have been barred from commenting on his Facebook pages.
This survey has nothing to do with guiding federal policy, and everything about getting information for his political ads for November.
BTW, the title of the on-line version of this survey is “Do you approve or disapprove of Congressman Tom Reed’s work as your representative?” A bit different from the one we got in the mail. You know, the 102,882 copies we paid for with our tax dollars.