The following is the transcript for the first segment of Episode 73 of the NO Soundbites Allowed podcast. A verbatim record of every word said in our discussion of local news from the week of May 20-26, 2018. We are providing this written version of the political commentary podcast for those that prefer to read or do not have access to the podcast found for free on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/no-soundbites-allowed/id1111780629?mt=2 or on Podbean at NO Soundbites Allowed.
The first segment of the political commentary broadcast covers the regional 2018 New York election for the 122nd Assembly seat. The incumbent is Republican Assemblyman Clifford Crouch. His challenger is Nicholas “Nick” Libous, the son of former State Senator Thomas Libous, in his first bid for elected office.
We have included the time stamp, for those that wish to refer to the podcast itself. Michael “Vass” Vasquez is the president of M V Consulting, Inc. Links to sources for the podcast can be seen at the Podbean site, and we have included links in this transcript.
Musical Intro: 00:00:00 [Music Intro]
Michael Vasquez: 00:00:25 Thank you for joining us at the ever improving. NO Soundbites Allowed podcast. My name is Michael Vasquez. We thank you for joining us in this adventure of describing the politics that go on on our nation, on a personal and local level as often as possible, giving you the audience more than just 30 seconds to understand what’s going on in our nation. We look forward to joining you as we go. Just sit back, enjoy the ride. Please remember if you liked the episodes like it, share it, let other people know, and if you can please donate even if it’s $2, even if it’s five, because it all makes a difference. We thank you. And here we go…
Music Break: 00:00:25 [Music Intro]
Michael Vasquez: 00:01:12 Hello everybody. It’s always good to have you here with me. This is Michael Vass, the dragon of the Southern Tier, your favorite host. I’m happy to be here with you today. We’re doing a midweek episode here just because there’s a few things that have happened. I think are of very much interest to all of the listeners out there and it affects the upcoming midterm elections. There’s a bit of news on a couple of different fronts and I want to go over that now. The first thing, of course is…
Sound Effect: 00:01:12 [News Flash Sound Effect]
Michael Vasquez: 00:01:52 Nice. I do like my sound effects there and the sound effect is because yesterday, which would be May 22nd, was the announcement by Nicholas Libous who is the son of Tom Libous, formerly of the State Senate for New York and he has just announced that he’s going to be running for the Assembly for the 122nd seat. Now this is actually big news in this region in the Southern Tier of New York because that seat is currently held by Clifford Crouch and Assemblyman Crouch has been in office for 23 years. So that’s a long time. And he’s gone at least from 2006 going forward, has never received any one who is challenged him. It has been an exceedingly long time since he ever ran into a challenger even though he’s a Republican, even though this is New York State. And even though part of the area that is the 122nd District includes the County of Broome and the City of Binghamton, which has Binghamton University and of course a very large liberal base.
Michael Vasquez: 00:03:06 So it’s a bit surprising when you look at this and say, okay, well Assemblyman Crouch, he’s a Republican, he’s been in for 23 years. That’s a long time. In fact he’s 73 right now. He was expected to actually retire. A lot of conversation was going on prior to his announcement in April that he was going to be retiring and there was a lot of question about who would be replacing him and whether there will be an election or if he had a successor. That was kind of up in the air. As it wound up, and I know you probably noticed, I said when he made the announcement in April, and that’s kind of big news because he actually made the announcement that he was going to seek reelection in April. Nobody cared. Nobody cared at all, that news came and went.
Michael Vasquez: 00:03:58 And absolutely everybody was just okay. And there was a couple of news reports, but nothing big, nothing important. No one was really paying attention to it. It wasn’t a big deal, but it became a big deal because then there was a lot of news and I heard the rumors myself and I had been checking on some of the information, and many people knew that there was going to be a challenger to Clifford Crouch for the 122nd seat. It was actually known before Mr. Crouch actually made the announcement in April. So for some time now people have been waiting to hear who is going to make the first announcement, where the announcements we’re going to come from? And so we did hear about this. That was the rumor mill that we’re the announcement of the things that were going on on the inside baseball, so to speak.
Michael Vasquez: 00:04:52 So when he came out with this announcement and nothing happened and no one said anything, no one paid attention, it wasn’t a big deal. Then we started hearing news announcements. Well, we started hearing rumors that there was going to be a challenger. And suddenly on May 20, uh, it was last week, we saw that actually it was May 16th that Clifford Crouch came out and made the second reelection announcement. This time the announcement was actually made, pardon, pretty much pushed by the Chairman of the Broome County Republicans, which is a Mr Bijoy Datta and Mr. Datta came out and there was a big announcement by him, which in April there was no announcement. And then quite interestingly, Mr Datta announced and pushed out that there were 50 elected officials, 50 significant Republicans in the Southern Tier region that all endorsed Mr. Crouch. That is unusual. And when I say it’s unusual, I mean it doesn’t happen.
Michael Vasquez: 00:06:03 That never happens. To give you an example, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, a senior elected official with a far more bigger reach, far more important office. I mean the Congress is held by Republicans. It’s an important seat. Democrats have been saying for years that they are desperate to get this seat and to knock out the Republicans in Central New York, they’ve spent over $13 million dollars just in 2016 alone. To try and take over the seat and projections are they’re going to spend at least seven, eight, possibly up to $15,000,000 in 2018 to take the New York 22nd District seat from Congress, from Claudia Tenney, who is expected to win. So that’s a big contentious huge race. Didn’t get 50 Republicans from the Southern Tier to back her up. We see that New York State, Senator Fred Akshar for the 52nd District is wildly popular. He won his race by about 71 percent.
Michael Vasquez: 00:07:17 Uh, he is wildly popular at this time and is expected to win his reelection somewhere in the 60 percentile range if not more. He is out doing his job and well liked by all of the elected officials in the region, Democrats and Republicans alike. And uh, was even so popular as he was offered the Lieutenant Governor seat in the race by Marc Molinaro who is now running for Governor of New York. So that’s a big race. That’s a big deal. And that’s also someone who is very important for them. In fact, if you see SUNY Broome Republicans, you’ve heard we’ve had two exclusive interviews with him. He’s doing a lot of work to try and improve the economy and the quality of life here in New York; and he didn’t get 50 Republicans from the Southern Tier that were endorsing him. Not nearly. Matter of fact, there is no Republican I can think of that has gotten 50 Republicans, and when I say that, I mean the elected officials, the senior officials in the Southern Tier region.
Michael Vasquez: 00:08:27 I’m just can’t name a politician. Mayor David, who was well liked, won his reelection bid with a two to one versus his challenger is liked by Democrats and Republicans alike and is doing a solid and fantastic job. Didn’t get 50 of the Southern Tier elected officials to give him an endorsement. No one’s done it and suddenly Clifford crouch got it. When I something like that, that is so extreme and so outside the norm, I have to always ask, and I did at that time, ‘What does that mean?’ In fact, on the day that he came out and made his announcement and we got the emails and we saw the announcement by Chairman Datta that said 50 Republican elected officials all signed on to say, hey, they endorse him. I said, and I sent out a tweet stating that seems odd. I also asked Mr Crouch, who appeared on WNBF and that’ll be important a little bit later, ‘are you going to finish your term?’
Michael Vasquez: 00:09:34 Because we all expected him to retire. And so it made me wonder if …it brought up some questions for me. He said, he said he had every intention to do so. Well. As it turns out on the 22nd, we found that a little bit more because Mr. Nick Libous actually went forward and he announced that he is going to be challenging and that he is going to be running. He has gotten an immense amount of feedback, positive feedback. He has been covered by every news organization in the area. And it is big news, large, you know when you’re, when I say large news, big news, we’re talking about the front page of newspapers were talking about not just one column, not just two columns, three column coverage on the first page. That’s a big deal. Okay? That’s how newspapers rate the quality and the importance of story, especially on the front page.
Michael Vasquez: 00:10:33 If you’ve got the full page, it’s a big announcement. If you’ve got half the page is a big enough, if you make it to the first page, it’s a big announcement. The more columns in the more space they’re dedicating on that front page to sell that newspaper, the more important they believe that story is. And he was on several of the front pages. Mind you, Clifford Crouch, Assemblyman, good man. Done a great job. That’s why it’s been around for 23 years. I have no question about that. I don’t question his character. Please don’t. I hope it doesn’t come across that way. That’s not what I’m saying. But I am saying that this looks to be like quite the race. It looks to be quite interesting. And there seems to be a lot going on just beneath the water here and I expect that we’re going to hear a lot more about it.
Michael Vasquez: 00:11:21 And with that said, I will make the announcement that I request from Assemblyman Clifford Crouch and from his challenger, Nick Libous, both Republicans to come onto this program and to tell us about themselves and why they should be reelected, in the case of Mr. Crouch to be reelected, in the case of Mr Libous to be elected in the first place and learn more about them and learn who are these individuals. Then you listener, will be able to make a choice. Whatever you think is best, and there is no Democrat. And once again, if it seems that if Mr Libous had not stepped forward, he would have… Mr. Crouch would have wound up being unchallenged once again. So it makes it interesting. I always personally believe that it’s a positive to see a challenge within any Party or to any candidate. No candidate should go unchallenged.
Michael Vasquez: 00:12:19 There should always be a challenge. We should always have a choice to see who’s the best of the choices we have available and that’s something I think is very positive. Of course I am a proponent of term limits as Mr Libous has mentioned and obviously Mr. Crouch is not. So it makes it a very interesting race looking at the different views that are there, although they’re all under the same Republican umbrella and there is no real question about the quality of service. It’s about what would be the best thing going forward. So it’s quite interesting and I do want to find out more about it. I think you’ll find it quite interesting. So I wanted to bring that up just so you know a little bit more about it and hopefully we’ll hear back from either Nick Libous or we’ll be hearing from Assemblyman Crouch and you’ll be able to know more about them and we’ll see what comes from that.
Michael Vasquez: 00:13:10 So with that, that’s the first thing I wanted to talk about, but that’s not the only thing that’s happened because on Monday there was a huge thing with an Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi who happened to come to Binghamton, New York, and he was speaking here. He’s running for the New York 22nd District, challenging, as I mentioned before, incumbent Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. It’s quite interesting to hear what he has to say and what I’m going to do once we come back in the next couple of segments. I’m not just going to say what happened because he was at the event, it was in Binghamton, New York at the VFW Post 1645. I’m not just going to say what happened. I’m actually going to play for you audio tape that we were able, that I was able to receive because it was not allowed. No recordings were allowed in the event.
Michael Vasquez: 00:14:12 I literally had Ellen Foster of the Brindisi campaign come over and directly request on behalf of Mr Brindisi that my recording device, my camera would be turned off, and I was not allowed to record there on threat of being kicked out of the event. So when I, but I was able to receive another individual, other individuals in the location seems we’re actually taking recordings and they were able to provide me one and I won’t mention their name because I don’t want them to get in trouble or banned or anything like that. But I did receive it and I do have audio of his event. I do want to play that for you so that you’ll have full context and you’ll hear for yourself what was going on. I’ll talk about it a little bit as we play it as well as the reaction from WNBF, which happened also on that was the meeting with Mr. Brindisi was on the 21st. The WNBF incident was on the 22nd. I think you’ll find that interesting as well. So you’re going to hear about all of this and it’s actual live recordings, so you’ll have that info contexts and then you’ll be able to make your own decision about all of that. So if you’ll bear with me, I will be right back in just a moment and we’ll have a little musical interlude.