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Tonight's installment of the Fighting Dems features Eric Massa, running in the New York 29th Congressional District. The Fighting Dems series is meant to highlight men and women who worn the uniform and have chosen to run on the Democratic ticket. There's tons more on our side than theirs.

(Massa is the guy in the middle)

The 29th got a great deal of attention in 2004 as Samara Barend made a valiant fight against Randy "shotgun" Kuhl (Kuhl endded with 51 percent of the vote, and the Conservative Party candidate getting another 6 percent). Kuhl's divorce papers were leaked to the press, and the contents weren't pretty. In addition to your run-of-the-mill divorce stuff, Kuhl had taken out a shotgun and threatened to shoot his wife in front of dinner guests. Lovely man, that one. And while that may be in the past, the present doesn't show a congressman too interested in his district. I mean, besides voting for CAFTA, supporting social security privatization, and eliminating bankruptcy protections, he must work on his golf game:

Perhaps John R. "Randy" Kuhl is just too busy improving his golf game to worry about such a mundane thing as the 2006 mid-term Congressional elections.  The first term Republican Congressman who recently tied former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) as the 66th best golfer on Golf Digest's Washington's Top 200 list told the Corning Leader last week that he's not sure he's running for reelection next year.

"I haven't decided whether I'm going to run or not at this point, quite frankly," Kuhl told the Leader.  "I'm enjoying this experience.  It's a tremendous task.  It's a lot of work."  Kuhl represents the 29th District of New York, a largely rural, working class area in the western part of the state.

Interestingly enough, Massa was actually a top aide to Gen. Wesley Clark.

One deployment saw us for many months off the coast of Beirut in direct support of our Marines ashore.  During another cruise to the Middle East we were on station during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and throughout the opening of Desert Storm.   My capstone military assignment was Special Assistant to General Wes Clark, both in Panama and then when he became Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces.  I served with Wes in Washington DC, Panama, and in the European Theater of Operations.

The segment will run at around 9:20 p.m. ET, though your local Air America affiliates may have it at different times. Here's Massa's official campaign site.

Previous Fighting Dems:

Dave Harris (TX-06)
Andrew Duck (MD-06)
Patrick Murphy (PA-08)
Paul Hackett (OH-Sen)
Bryan Lentz (PA-07)
David Ashe (VA-02)

You can get streams of these segments on Air America's Fighting Dems site.

Update: There's a Fighting Dem ActBlue page, so show your support if you can.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 05:50 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Randy Kuhl needs a new nickname, I suggest (none)
    "Twelve Gauge."
  •  Funny... (none)
    I didn't know that voting for CAFTA innately made him a bad representative? Didn't there used to be a time when we stood for free trade? I'm still a little bit confused about why we don't any more, other than some vague notion that we're going to 'protect' a whole bunch of union jobs...
    •  A couple of reasons (none)
      For the first reason:  There are no environmental safeguards in the trade agreements being set up.  Secondly, the overwhelming majority of agreements are more about raising corporate profits as opposed to helping developing nations.  Thirdly, it can be argued (though I won't argue it) that there is not a single job in the world right now that can not be done cheaper in another country (right now only biotech is without cheaper foreign competition, and even then its only because sanctions prevent companies from exporting jobs to Cuba which has a thriving biotech community if Business Week is to be believed).

      "All Politics is Local" - former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil

      by Mister Gloom on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:01:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, (none)
        It's not just about jobs being done more cheaply, its about them being done more efficiently. Businesses aren't going to go over seas if they end up with a terrible product, it's not worth the loss. Our policy here can't be to try and build walls because I just don't think that that will work. Rather, we need to build up our infrastructure and 21st century resources(i.e. workforce education) so that there is no reason a Job should be sent away, because we can do it so much competently.

        On the second reason, it's not so much, I don't think, the trade agreements that are about lining corporate pockets, it's domestic subsidy programs (i.e. the bizarre ag structure that pays huge corps like Riceland Farms hundreds of millions of dollars every year). Often trade agreements do little to directly help corporations as I understand, because they can sometimes be outcompeted by overseas companies with a new opportunity for markets.

        On your first reason, I'm always very conflicted about environmental agreements and restrictions for the 3rd world. There are, I think, trade offs that have to be made.

        For starters, it strikes me as somewhat hypocritical to talk about eliminating poverty and bringing the 3rd world into the first, while at the same time saying "This is how we got here, and how pretty much every successful first world economy has evolved, but now, you can't do that". Obviously, modern technology presents us with some advantages. Better and cleaner and more efficient systems, though not always in use. But, in the long run as these countries get more developed they'll be able to afford these better technologies and more environmentally friendly programs which will help alot. I'm entirely in favor of working to tailor development to environmental consciousness, but I don't think that any sort of blanket restrictions, as I think are generally sought would serve as an appropriate or effective tool.

        •  Re: Well (none)
          >>It's not just about jobs being done more cheaply, its about them being done more efficiently. Businesses aren't going to go over seas if they end up with a terrible product, it's not worth the loss. <<

          Actually the premium that people are willing to pay for quality is pretty darn low.  Generally what people want to do now is go to the lowest cost country you can find, get the work done there, and then kill your competition with the cost advantage.  I mean, there's a reason that Walmart is the biggest retailer and it sure as hell isn't the quality of their goods.

          >>On the second reason, it's not so much, I don't think, the trade agreements that are about lining corporate pockets, it's domestic subsidy programs (i.e. the bizarre ag structure that pays huge corps like Riceland Farms hundreds of millions of dollars every year). Often trade agreements do little to directly help corporations as I understand, because they can sometimes be outcompeted by overseas companies with a new opportunity for markets. <<

          Not all of them, which is why the World Trade Organization is generally a good thing.  However, NAFTA and CAFTA specifically actually did not really provide for anything but the exporting of jobs.  And, if I remember Senator Boxer's speech on CAFTA, it actually was a worse trade deal for the other countries involved than existing laws.  CAFTA wasn't about opening markets to US good or opening US markets to foreign competitors as the countries involved are not developed enough for either to truly be in effect.  So I don't think it is rude to ask what it was for then if not for sending out jobs?  Granted agriculture played a part but that isn't a big enough part of the economy for it to have been pushed so hard.

          "All Politics is Local" - former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil

          by Mister Gloom on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:24:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re: (none)
            Those low premium jobs have long since been lost in America, thats a given, and as a result, we've had much lower inflation over the past few years than we otherwise would have.

            As far as Walmart, it does alot more than drive prices down. Walmart's supply chain efficiency is basically the best the world has ever seen, and they save TONS of money that way. Being able to coordinate their products so effectively is probably the biggest part of their success. They would never have been able to reach the market share they have without it.

            •  Low Premium? (none)
              A goodly portion of engineering jobs are going to India (and Eastern Europe) primarily because of cost advantage.  A number of people say that these are call-center type of jobs but that isn't true as an increasing amount of development (particularly software deveolpment) is being done in India.  And engineer wrote a letter to Business Week last year saying he told his daughter not to go into engineering because there was no future in this country for it.  Is this "low premium".  And as soon as Republicans can find a way around the Florida issue expect to see those "gold collar" $70,000 a year biotech jobs go running to Cuba.  

              And the "lower inflation" we've experienced?  Is entirely due to Walmart driving down wages which is a bad thing.  If Paul Krugman is correct our median wages have declined over 5% in a recovery.  I don't even want to think about what will happen when we have a recession.

              "All Politics is Local" - former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil

              by Mister Gloom on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:35:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  True (none)
                But the outsourcing of creative and technology jobs isn't going to Honduras, which is what I was responding to. That is an entirely different issue, but it's something that has to be dealt with. It doesn't have anythign to do with the free trade agreements, but it does have alot to do with the domestic investments that we desperately need to make.

                My reference to 'lower inflation' was a reference to the consumer price index. I remember reading that Walmart shopping had reduced it by about 3% over all during the last few years, which if you tack that on to what we did have, means it cut inflation in half.  Low wages and low prices are two different things. They don't go hand in hand. Walmart is still making 5% profits, and the solution to wages and benefits would amount to 1% or 2% of that. I'm not apologizing for Walmart's workplace compensation, I'm just noting that the issue of Walmart isn't black and white. Not every poor person, or even anywhere near it, works at Walmart, so there are a number of people who's only interaction with it is direct, significant savings on their cost of living.

    •  When did we stand for that? (none)
      From what I know, the Republicans have supported the idea of those agreements. GHWB was one of the forces behind NAFTA.

      I don't see the need in CAFTA. If NAFTA had been a big success, then maybe I would for CAFTA, but I'm sorta skeptical about CAFTA too.

      After CAFTA, What's to stop businesses from building more factories in places like Honduras and paying their workers nothing?

      "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

      by RBH on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:13:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (none)
        Does the fact that Republicans stand for something mean that we can't too? Are our positions to be dictated simply as 'against what those guys are for'?

        Sure, GHWB was behind NAFTA but so was the last DEMOCRATIC president. Clinton took alot of union flack but he pushed for it.

        Whats to stop them is that pretty much everything that uneducated low skill workers in Honduras can do is already obsolete in the US economy, and for the margins on that sorta stuff these days, employers probably couldn't afford most American labor.

        Opening for trade is going to have some ramifcations, some of which are going to be real tough, no doubt about it, but we can also be really successful with it, while at the same time producing positive results around the world. We need to make sure our domestic policies make sense in that context though, and right now, they don't.  

        •  The charges of "Republican-lite" (none)
          stick harder on economic issues than social issues.

          I'm not a 'free' trade skeptic for partisan reasons. I'm skeptical as to the impacts of these policies on our economy.

          There may be a successful way to make the best of some of our agreements.

          I'm no economist, but i'm no fan of supply-side economics and in reality, free trade isn't free. It does cost something. The catch is, is it costing the least that is plausible, or are we getting screwed.

          "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

          by RBH on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:31:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Meh (none)
            If people call Dems 'republican lite' but still vote for them, I don't really care. In some ways, our positions should be Republican lite. It's not a matter of lacking new ideas. There are just some really basic simple policy issues that need to be addressed and both parties realize that. So solving those problems should still be on our agenda even if its on the GOP's too. What voters need to be shown is the positive and inclusive form our policies will take. They need to see the democrats embracing policies that look towards the future represent commonsense solutions.
  •  Actually on Kuhl... (none)
    I believe it was two shotguns--one in each hand--but who's counting?
  •  Donations. (none)
    Just in case anyone's interested, donations to Fighting Dems can be made here:

    Sagra has set up a page on Actblue.  Massa's not up yet, but I'm sure that he and future Fighting Dems will be added as soon as they jump into the fray.

  •  is he (none)
    is he a stronger candidate than Barend? b/c barend seemed like a good candidate, but faded towards the end if i remember correctly.  

    Whose seat was this before Kuhl?

    •  Amo Houghton (none)
      held this seat prior to Kuhl.
      •  Houghton was a moderate Republican. (none)
        He supported Kuhl, of course, but wonder if he is pleased how Kuhl has turned out as Kuhl and he have many opposite postions. In fact, Eric on social issues is closer to Houghton. Ha!
    •  The Barend (none)
      campaign shot itself in the foot with the divorce papers thing. They denied they had leaked them, then it was discovered that they did, in fact, leak them. It made them look terrible.
    •  Barend... (none)
      ...she was a bit of a looker, wasn't she?
    •  Massa '06 much stronger candidacy than Barend '04 (none)
      Barend is an admirable person with great potential and attactive policy positions.

      A major weakness of the Barend candidacy was her meager track record. Granted, it is impressive for  23-year old, but not for a congressional candidate. I don't think it is a serious challenge to put a 23-year old against a politician who has been in office since before she was born. The Democratic Party needs a bench filled with experienced players as well as new phenoms.

      Massa has been in leadership positions that give much more confidence. In this conservative district, his positions are more conventional than the progressive Barend. Also Barend's political experience has been connected to Hillary, who is not universally loved in these hills.  Barend returned to the district after getting a masters from Harvard. Impressive most places, but raising outsider concerns unless it is followed by a period of pubic service in the district.

      I think Massa is easily accepted in the district now. As I worte above, Barend has excellent potential and should absolutely be encouraged to run for office soon. (I wich I knew what she is doing this year to get closer to that goal.)

  •  Listening now (none)
    He sounds great!
  •  Wow (none)
    He was great in the interview. Incredibly eloquent.
  •  I'm in the NY 29th district and... (none)
    what I'm hoping will roundly defeat Kuhl is that he is a Bush rubber stamp.  While this is a traditionally Republican district, for the first time in many years, Democrats just won the mayoral seats in Elmira and Corning. This is more spectacular than it may sound, because no one could have predicted this only a year ago.  And Eric Massa campaigned vigorously for those two mayoral candidates.  

    We can win this one with Eric in '06. But he needs contributions today.      

  •  From there... (none)
    I'm originally from the 29th (moved away for a little schoolin'), and am thrilled to have Massa running for the seat.  That area is incredibly generous in the number of sons and daughters that it offers up to the military each year.  I'm glad we have fighting dem running against Kuhl. This is an area that  can really use a former military man representing it.  

    Additionally, the PA district that borders the NY 29th also has a fighting dem running, Chris Carney.  The border area where the 2 districts meet is locally known as the twin tiers, and often identifies itself as a "region" as opposed to two separate states (high school sports team often play cross-state rivals, etc.).  I think with Massa and Carney crafting a message together and representing the region as a whole from a strong military perspective could really seal the deal for both men.  

    Good by Randy Kuhl and Don Sherwood, hello Mass and Carney.

    •  From there as well (none)
      left for "a little schoolin" but watching it closely.  Barend wasn't seen as a serious candidate by those that I spoke to - too young, not enough experience, and said her biggest accomplishment was renaming Route 17 to Interstate 86, although she started a non-profit to help people like her brother (? can't remember that last part as well).
  •  Best pick-up opportunity in NY congress races (none)
    This is the best pick-up in the NY congressional races.  Sue Kelly is facing various competitors and John Sweeney has draw a solid challenge in Gillibrand.  However, their more established incumbency helps them more than Kuhl as Kuhl is only in his first term (which is the ideal time to defeat an incumbent).  Also, let's not forget Brian Higgins as Jack Quinn's son (Jack Quinn III, a State Rep.) is running against him and will benefit from his father's name.  Remember, Higgins didn't win by a lot in 2004 and we don't want to lose any incumbents.  Massa has raised a respectable $95,000 as of September 30 so his campaign does look somewhat solid.

    "All Politics is Local" - former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil

    by Mister Gloom on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:05:29 PM PST

    •  Would like to see DCCC lower its expectations! (none)
      It keeps demanding large donations by Dec 30th to qualify as a top targeted race.

      Depending solely on a monitary criterion in a poor district with a candidate who is not rich seems against the values we hold. He has a great shot, is a great candidate. Is that not what we want?

      Other fighting Dems face this same barrier. Beltway insider criteria suck.

    •  Gillibrand has raised (none)
      a little over $100G already, which gives her cred with future givers and the DCCC.

      And Sweeney, aka the Miami Mob Leader, is an arrogant asshole whose support is wide but thin in a district where Dems won some surprising races in November -- Rensselaer County Court judge and a sweep of the Saratoga Springs city council.

      I like Massa too, but Sweeney is next door, a 2000 election theft thug and a DeLay gang member. He's worse than Kuhl, Kelly, Fossella and King combined.

      The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

      by devtob on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:54:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Quick question (none)
    Are these only military "fighting" Dems or could a first responder qualify?  We have a fire fighting Dem, Peter Gutzmer, running for a generationally held GOP Illinois senate seat here in the Northwest Chicago Suburbs (IL 27).  He has a damn good chance to take back a seat that hasn't seen a Dem in many, many years.

    Pray for my Beloved Country

    by lubarsh on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:07:41 PM PST

    •  Some have Security Dems (none)
      like who adds whistleblowers and intelligence folks who were not military but in defence. Others favor including candidates who are motivated by a son or daughter in Iraqi or other family member.

      Maybe we need more than one block and not too large a crowd in one group. First responders are a large group and would be great.

      It is still developing and criteria are open. There are also some issues:

      One is that some vets are opposed by non-vets in the Dem primary. Do we waitit out, support the vet no matter what, or choose the best candidate vet or not.

      Fortunately, Eric is unopposed and supported by the districts County Dem committees, the new mayors of Corning and Elmira, and a labor union. He also has had official backing from Gen. Clark, Hackett and Max Cleland and strong support from the now gov-elect of VA Tim Kaine, who attended Eric's inaugural fundraiser.

      Eric is also taking a leadership role in getting a United Front of vets across the country so that as he puts it those who were on the Front lines can now serve on the home front.

    •  This project (none)
      is for military vets. The idea is that those most affected by war and veterans issues are lining up on our side. It gives lie to the notion that Republicans support the troops better than Democrats.
  •  We can win this one! (none)
    Eric just needs to meet the DCCC's requirement to raise enough funds by the end of the year to show he's a good investment.

    I already know he's a good investment!  Now lots of you have heard him talk, so you know it too.  He's just exactly what we need.  He really makes you feel confident that he's got the right ideas and the right motivation.

  •  Eric is very down to earth (none)
    and he is committed to keeping in touch with the grassroots.  He tries to set aside time every Sunday afternoon to blog live here and at several other sites simultaneously, usually on multiple topics at the same time.

    The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

    by mikepridmore on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:28:41 PM PST

  •  I can't see the photos (none)
    when I use the Mozilla Firefox browser.  There is just a blank area where the photos are supposed to be.  If I click on the blank spot it turns into a blue square.  But if I use Bill Gate's browser I CAN see the photos.  Don't make me do that.  Please.  

    "Investigative reporting is not stenography", Maureen Dowd, Oct. 22, 2005

    by Jackson on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 07:41:32 PM PST

  •  I've lived in Rochester for decades and (none)
    this is the first time in memory that I've heard Republicans complaining about Republicans. (Unfortunately, I know a lot of them, mostly lawyers because my husband is one.)  Eric Massa is a candidate these people could vote for if only as a protest against Bush.  I suspect that will happen in many places if a good Democratic candidate is running. And Eric Massa is a VERY good candidate.    
  •  Is it just me.... (none)
    or will African Americans have a tough time "pulling the lever" for a Massa?

    LOL - I kill myself sometimes.

  •  F***ing Majority Report (none)
    They copied my ActBlue page, the bastards.  And I get no credit for the idea or anything.
  •  Here is the 29th District. (none)
    Hope this doesn't break the page.

    As you can see, this covers the western Finger Lakes and most of the Southern Tier.  It's a lot of ground to cover, but so are most of the Upstate districts.  It butts up against Buffalo and Rochester without including either of them.  It's probably pretty red, like the other Republican-held districts in New York State.

  •  You can donate to Eric on his website (none)
    or on the ElectVets ActBlue account. Eric is the only vet on it so far.

    A warning, apparently Eric is not on the Fighting Dems linked here. So donate here:

    It goes directly into Eric's account. You can see the blurb on him there.


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