Repost from November 18, 2013
Hello, my name is Michael Vasquez and I want to thank you for joining me today.
As some may be aware, for years I have maintained my small business as a political commentator of national news, and interviewing candidates and elected officials across Central NY and the Southern Tier. My efforts have led to 2 citations in scholarly works and hundreds of thousands of readers across the globe via the internet. Still as a homeowner and resident of Binghamton, NY, like far too many Americans, I have felt ever less satisfied with Congress and the convictions of my Representative.
Thus, a little more than 6 months ago I made an announcement that I was exploring a run for the New York 22nd Congressional District in 2014. Since that time I have traveled across the District, speaking to college students, retirees, various professionals, housewives and everyone else. I have engaged the public in discussions about how we are being represented in Congress, the job Congress is doing and the issues facing our nation. The results of these conversations have been enlightening.
When I first looked at a run for office, the approval rate for Congress was about 17%. Jobs were the primary focus of the public, and our President had just enacted more than 20 Executive Orders that affected our freedoms – without the consent of Congress, and the silence of may Representatives.
Now the approval rate of Congress is about 8.8%, and jobs remain the main concern of the average American. The nation has endured revelations of abuse of power by the NSA, a unilateral attempt to engage in hostilities against Syria, and a famously failed launch of Obamacare, among other events.
For the NY-22, in this time span, over and over people asked where was our Representative? Where was our voice in Congress? What was being done in our collective name to make these situations better?
Over the last 6 months I have also spoken to business owners, and political organizations of all sizes. Time and again I was grilled about who I am and what I intended. Rightfully so, as I am no politician. Yet, as a former political commentator, the issues that concern all Americans are issues that I have written and spoken about for years.
My views, which are well documented in my near-decade of political commentary and news coverage, have not changed, just because of my political interests. My answers to these leaders and small business owners remain the same as what I have written on every subject that has been in the public mindset, and more than a few that weren’t.
In each of these discussions, whether to an individual or to large groups, the result was the same. I have received acclaim for my passionate belief that Congress must reconnect with the public to ensure a better Government. I have gained a following, waiting to see my next steps. I have received encouragement, with the caveat that I would face an uphill battle should I go further.
For all these reasons and more, I understood that my initial thought in April was correct. That while the NY-22 was finally a District no longer under the thumb of political gerrymandering, it was far from receiving effective leadership and representation. In fact, of those I spoke with I’d say some 1 in 10 thought that Rep. Hinchey was still in office. Almost 1 in 4 couldn’t name who represented them. Virtually half were unaware of anything that had been done by our Representative in Congress; and many of those that could were not pleased with what had been done.
I feel it is the obligation of those elected to the House of Representatives to be a reflection of the people that elected them. To present the issues facing the nation, the choice of action that the Representative feels is the best option, and to ultimately defend the position that constituents want – no matter what that position may be.
That isn’t what is happening in Congress today. Not in New York, nor in almost any other part of the nation. Some elected politicians have mastered the art of 30 second soundbites, and flip-flopping on the issues. They have become so secure in the chance of re-election, the bar to entry has been raised so high in terms of cash needed to compete, that many in Congress act as if they are the modern equivalent of nobility classes.
The disparity is too wide, the abuse of the good faith of the public to common. I can no longer sit idle, and my political commentary – like that of so many others – is not enough.
Therefore I am announcing that I will be running for the 2014 NY 22nd Congressional District seat, on the Republican ticket.
This is a grassroots effort. I am not independently wealthy, nor am I blessed with political connections built over decades for the purpose of seeking elected office. I am no politician.
I am a hard-working American home owner, who like the overwhelming majority believes that Congress is ineffective today not because of the laws in place, but the lack of conviction of many of those that have come to be elected. I am running for office, not because I desire the position, but because there is a need for a Representative that is connected to the reality average Americans face every day.
I invite everyone listening to this speech, or reading it, to seek out what I have said over the years. Learn about this candidate for Congress. Then come join me as I continue to speak across the NY-22, ask me your questions and hear my answers.
An effective Congress starts with effective Representatives that are connected to what constituents want and need. Together, I want to take our concerns to the floor of Congress. If you agree, then I hope I will earn your vote.