(Crossposted from the albany project)
I say "just might" because he isn't an announced candidate yet, but, should he officially throw his hat in the ring, I think he's got an excellent chance of ridding us of the child predator enabling, pedophile coddling Tom Reynolds, who just happens to be the most recent chair of the NRCC. The Buffalo News reports that Iraq War vet and founder of War Kids Relief, one Jonathan Powers is mulling a run at him for New York's 26th Congressional seat. I really like what I see.
So, just who is Jonathan Powers? Find out on the flip...
A 28- year-old Iraq War veteran who later started a charity to help that nation’s children is considering a campaign against Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, next year.
Jonathan Powers, a Clarence native, said this week that he has begun speaking with Democratic leaders in Western New York and Washington about a possible race.
Stressing that he is not close to making a decision about running, Powers said, "While Rep. Reynolds has been in there awhile, I think the best thing for Western New York would be a change."
While Reynolds has focused on Republican Party politics, the 26th District – which sprawls from suburban Buffalo to suburban Rochester – deserves a member of Congress "who addresses the issues important to the people back home," Powers added.
But Powers stressed that if he decides to run against Reynolds, the war won’t be his only issue. Most notably, he said, he would focus on economic issues.
"When I came home from the military, I realized that job opportunities for someone my age just weren’t there anymore," he said.
After a few months back home in 2005, Powers moved to Washington to form War Kids Relief, which recently opened a youth center in Baghdad and has plans for several more.
Powers said he has already met with Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan and Jack Davis, the Akron millionaire who ran against Reynolds in 2004 and 2006 and may run again.
Reynolds, a five-term House veteran, was considered among the most powerful members of the House until Republicans lost their majority in last November’s election.
Democrats consider him vulnerable.
Yeah, we consider him vulnerable. We also consider him utterly unfit to represent anyone.
As I mentioned above, Jonathan powers is an Iraq War vet, but he's also an extraordinary Iraq War vet. After his return form 14 months in Iraq, Jonathan Powers started up an extraordinary charity, War Kids Relief. War Kids Relief describes itself as such:
When we launched War Kids Relief a year ago very little attention had been given to the obstacles facing Iraqi youth. No one was briefing US military personnel about the impact of the war on the youth of Iraq or about the impact of a disengaged youth population on the future of Iraq. No forum existed allowing American soldiers to share their experiences of building relationships with kids in a war zone. Iraq’s children had no voice in the plans or reconstruction of their country.
War Kids Relief is dedicated to providing charitable and humanitarian services including direct services for victims of war, and services, educational materials and seminars to educate the public on issues of the causes, conduct and consequences of war.
The goal of War Kids Relief is to help the children of Iraq recover from the disruptive effects of war and give them hope for a better future than the one they would face otherwise. War Kids Relief has been focusing our efforts into four paths of involvement. Following these initiatives will allow War Kids Relief to spread its influence into the following, vital areas:
The NBC Nightly News highlighted Powers a couple of years ago as part of their "Making A Difference" series. This is what they had to say:
Iraq war vet determined to help Iraqi children
After a one-year tour, soldier starts program to build orphanages
(VIDEO at this link as well.)
Twenty-six-year-old Jonathan Powers always told his mom and dad he wanted to work with children, to be a teacher.
"Jon was always a natural leader," says his mom.
But he put those dreams on hold to serve his country in Iraq. For more than a year, Capt. Jonathan Powers saw it all, patrolling the mean streets of Baghdad. He even appears in the film "Gunner Palace," about the 1st Armored Division's experiences so far from home.
"The thing that affected me the most in Iraq, other than, of course, my friends dying," says Powers, "was dealing with the poverty level that the children had to live with."
When Powers returned to civilian life he could not forget what he had seen. Those children on the street were always on his mind.
"I realized there's a big difference that someone could make over there," he says.
Each soldier who comes home from Iraq is affected differently. Some don't recover, while others simply get on with their lives. But for Powers, the only way he can really complete his tour of duty is to return. Powers has now launched a program — War Kids Relief — to help the thousands of Iraqi orphans caught in the cross fire.
"They have to fight for their meal every day," says Powers. "You wonder what kind of life these kids will ever have."
War Kids Relief raises money to build orphanages. The Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation helps, and Powers’ father and friends also raise funds.
To those who know him, Powers' decision to return to Iraq is no surprise.
"Jon didn't approach his job, I think, as a soldier," says the superintendent of Clarence High School, which Powers attended. "He approached it as a citizen of the United States and wanting to do more than simply defeat an enemy."
In the war zone, Powers saw four friends killed. He now says his work with orphans is done in their memory. Anything else would be a disservice.
"If I can go back there and I can make a positive influence on the country that I helped partially destroy, then maybe I can sort of regain the whole reason I went," he says.
I don't know about you, but I'd be honored to have such a person represent me.
So, here we have a study of contrasts. On one hand we have a Bush loving sycophant who has served as an ever reliable rubberstamp for the war, who voted against ensuring that troops sent to Iraq were properly equipped, trained and rested, a man who protected and coddled a pedophile child sex predator to protect a GOP House seat and a reliable "yes" vote to tax cuts for the wealthiest of the wealthy and for waging economic warfare on the middle class. On the other hand, we have an Iraq War vet who served with honor, wants to end the war, founded a charity to help children affected by war, namely orphans, and who has a distinct interest in economic issues as he is from an economically depressed region of western New York long represented by Republicans who, quite frankly, couldn't possibly care less.
Who would you vote for?
I, for one, am hoping that Jonathan Powers throws that hat in the ring.