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I have been following my Congressman's website closely and couldn't take the fence-sitting anymore.  I called today to get a clear unequivocal answer to a simple question.  Will you stand with House Progressives in support of including a public option in any legislation?  Follow me over the fold for the contents of my conversation with his aides.

I first got through in John Hall's Goshen, NY office (our district includes Orange County NY home of the "Choppers" about 1 hour outside NYC) to a young woman who while very nice, could not answer for me this simple question:  "Does Congressman Hall support the public option?"  She told me that she couldn't speak on behalf of the Congressman.  I pressed her saying that his website was noticeably ambiguous on his stance.  It has lots of platitudes about the need for reform and how costs need to come down and more people need access.  BUt I wanted to know whether or not the public option was a line in the sand for him?  Unable to stand up to my withering cross examination (snark) she deferred and put me on hold while she went to find someone who could, "better answer my concerns".

After a moment, a young fellow picked up the line and identified himself as Evan.  I instantly recognized the voice.  Evan was a bright, young volunteer-organizer that I met while working on GOTV during the Obama '08 campaign.  I refered to him by his last name and he seemed a bit stunned.  But it seems he had remembered me too. SO at least I felt like I may get some straight answers to my questions.

I explained that I was feeling like John Hall was avoiding staking out a strong position.  And that while I feel like they are a waste of time, no townhall meetings were scheduled in our district during the recess.  I told him that this fact, coupled with the lack of any clearly enunciated position on what is critical to healthcare reform on John's website, led me to question whether John was avoiding the wrath of the rabid rightwing asshat constituency or telling the truth to the progressive community who helped him win his last election.  Evan tried to placate me by explaining that the Congressman was not inclined to provide positions on a bill that was not yet complete and still in committee.  "Not good enough", i told him.  I said, "Evan its really simple.  To me and my milieu, the public option IS the compromise between single payer which was never even considered and no reform at all.  Either John stands with the 60 progressive congressman who signed the letter to HHS Sec Sebelius laying down the gauntlet, or he doesn't."  Even just would not characterize the Congressman's position.  He did say that John was in favor of the cost cutting benefits of the public option but he would not say whether or not it was critical in his view.  I asked him whether John would sign a bill that offered reform without the public option and got similarly mushy, equivocating responses.

Finally, Evan, knowing what he knows of my politics (which incidentally, I think he shares)told me in a plaintive voice that he really wants to be able to tell me what John Hall's position is on the public option.  I kind of got the impression that he wanted to tell me that John DOES support it, but for whatever reason he could not.  But just to be sure, I told him to make it clear to John that we are watching and that if he does not make the PO his line in the sand, and that if he does vote for some watered down bluedog, co-op, "compromise" that we will consider that equal to voting like a republican and that all the goodwill he has enjoyed from us in terms of support and campaign volunteerism and campaign donations would all dry up faster than he could imagine and that I woudl be working for his primary opponent in the next election.

Please call John Hall if you live in NY-19.  

Washington D.C. Office
1217 Longworth House Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5441
Fax: (202) 225-3289

Goshen Office
Orange County Gov't Center
255 Main St.
Room 3232G
Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: (845) 291-4100
Fax: (845) 291-4164

Carmel Office
40 Gleneida Avenue
3rd Floor
Carmel, New York 10512
Phone: (845) 225-3641 x49371
Fax: (845) 228-1480

"The definition of the upper crust: a bunch of crumbs held together by some dough"

Originally posted to antonrobb on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:45 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for posting this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    casperr, KingofSpades

    I live in NY-19 and I've always been rather meh about Hall - he's been kind of mushy about this type of stuff over the years. He should be getting out in front now; he's not going to lose anything by it (unless it turns out that for some reason Kiryas Joel opposes a public option).

    Looks like I need to make a phone call.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:50:49 AM PDT

  •  Great Diary !!!! (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

    There is a God, but he got an MBA. How else can you explain our world?

    by Aeolus on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 10:58:09 AM PDT

  •  I am in this district now too (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    casperr, TiaRachel, hegemony57

    I say we put together a group Kossack NY-19 project to get Hall on board with this.

    Do I have an Aye in favor?

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

    by MinistryOfTruth on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:01:43 AM PDT

    •  Count Me In (0+ / 0-)

      The Warwick Dems meet first tuesday of each month at the Tuscan Cafe on South Street.  You dig?

    •  I'm in. Also in NY-19. BTW, Hall's opponent (0+ / 0-)

      on the R side has been holding psuedo town hall meetings where he revs up the wingnut base.  He is going to Cornwall tomorrow night and I will be there to confront the lunacy.  Others are of course welcome.

      No quarter. No surrender.

      by hegemony57 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:12:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The did this in G'wood Lake Already (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hegemony57, W T F

        And wouldn't you know it the Times Herald Record ran it front page news to illustrate that "Locals don't support healthcare reform".  Of course they never mentioned that this was a campaign meeeting for Republitards involving an election that won't happen for another 17 months.  So why would non-republican supporters show up to this meeting?  But now that we're wise, I think it behooves us to show up at these events and vociferously advocate in favor of reform.  I think a LTE to the THR is in order here.  They have always been a right leaning rag.

        •  Two Events Tonight and Tomorrow (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anabelle, W T F

          Greg Ball and Town Supervisor Oan Pagonez
          Wednesday August 19th 7 PM, (doors open 6:30)
          (Note new location)
          Hotel Sierra Suites Conference Room
          100 Westage Business Center Dr, Fishkill, NY 12524

          Greg Ball and Cornwall Town Supervisor Kevin Quigley
          Friday, August 21st 7 PM (doors open 6:30)
          Munger Cottage - Cornwall Community Center
          183 Main St.
          Cornwall, NY 12518

          I will try to make at least one of them/ anyone else care to go?

        •  Two simple questions for Rep John Hall (0+ / 0-)

          Perfect questions for a town hall meeing.

          It's time for our elected Federal officials to stand up and be counted.

  •  Greg Ball is going a be a tough opponent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Hall has no reason not to keep his cards close, moving further left doesn't help him much in NY-19.

    •  What makes you think so? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know that Greg Ball has any kind of name recognition and a slim record of public service to run on.  Can you characterize just what makes him such a formidable opponent to John who, despite his squishiness in some areas, has mostly done good by his constituents?

      •  Ball is a young, well-funded vet (0+ / 0-)

        He hasn't been around very long but dude was in the Air Force and if he's known for anything in the NYS Assembly, it's speaking out.  I'd wager he'd get pretty decent backing from the NRCC, too.  There's a reason Hall has the VA subcommittee chairship, the military is very important to the district with West Point and all.

        I despise Ball, but Hall would be right to fear him electorally.

    •  Further left? Is that what caring for my son who (0+ / 0-)

      works full time and has no health insurance is?  Methinks you have been fully propogandized by the deathers.

      No quarter. No surrender.

      by hegemony57 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:10:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Insult me if you want (0+ / 0-)

        But acknowledging the political realities of competitive districts is important.  Hall has no real reason to come out in support of the public option right now.  Even if he were to purely ideologically, why should he buck the administration when he has a tough race ahead and will need all the DCCC and DNC support he can?

        •  Because independents respect strength. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hegemony57, milkbone

          Wishy-washy Dems who are afraid to announce their position do not earn anyone's respect, left.. right.. or center.

          They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin, Feb 17, 1755.

          by Wayward Son on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:29:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's true (0+ / 0-)

            But independents aren't the ones badgering congressional interns about policy positions, we are.  Coming out for the public option I don't think helps Hall with anyone but us (his party).  I could be dead wrong and independents and moderates are just waiting for a member of Congress from upstate New York to announce his support to get into the fray but the only ones making a big deal over the plan are the organized right and left.  The center, from what I've seen, has been relatively apathetic in this fight.  If that's true (again, I'm not sure) then clearly stating a position doesn't get him any votes next year.

        •  Hall won the district with 58% of the vote in '08 (0+ / 0-)

          He needs to buck up and stop playing to his right.  I think he has been getting very bad advice.

          No quarter. No surrender.

          by hegemony57 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 12:29:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I am passing this along to people inside the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    congressman's office.  They should be worried.

    No quarter. No surrender.

    by hegemony57 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:08:39 AM PDT

  •  Is John Hall's stance on the public (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    option classified information?  Will he be tried for treason if he tells us?

    I'm really sick of the bs.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 11:26:54 AM PDT

  •  I don't see any carrots in your statement. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    if he does vote for some watered down bluedog, co-op, "compromise" that we will consider that equal to voting like a republican and that all the goodwill he has enjoyed from us in terms of support and campaign volunteerism and campaign donations would all dry up faster than he could imagine and that I woudl be working for his primary opponent in the next election

    •  Implicit in my statement is (0+ / 0-)

      that he would recieve my continued support, financially and with my boots on the ground, as long as he votes in line with the majority of his constituents.  My vote IS the carrot.  Fer Crhissakes, I worked with his top aide to get him elected.  How much more carrot do you think I need to provide to my elected officials to get them to deliver the promises they ran on?

  •  Well now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I kind of got the impression that he wanted to tell me that John DOES support it, but for whatever reason he could not.

    Jesus. Perhaps you should have asked him to cough once for Yes and twice for No.

    (Thanks for doing this)

    They don't win until we give up.

    by irmaly on Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 12:16:06 PM PDT

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