Congressional Candidate Forum: My opening remarks

Friends here are my remarks from the Congressional Candidate Forum last night, hosted by the Tompkins County Democratic Committee.

Good Evening!

As many of you know, I have lived in Ithaca for over 30 years.  I:

  • Taught at Ithaca College and Cornell University.   
  • Raised my two boys here who went through the ICSD.   
  • Practiced law both in a firm and as assigned counsel.  
  • Developed a career in internet policy and cybersecurity.

As a member of the community, I was

  • 10 years on the Town Planning Board
  • A Member of the Tompkins Co. Broadband Committee.
  • Trustee of the Public Library

In this campaign, I have engaged issues of

  • Tax reform for working and middle class – without a crushing deficit
  • Education improvement, economic development and jobs through internet deployment
  • Labor law reform: we need 21st century labor law to match a 21st century economy

But tonight, I would like to focus on two issues about which there has been misunderstanding of my positions: women’s reproductive health and the environment.

  • About Abortion: I support legal, medically safe, available and affordable abortion.  

Moreover, this issue must be connected to women’s health including domestic violence and sexual abuse, addiction, contraception, child rearing, and other social supports for women, children and families … not least to universal health care, preferably in a single payer system.

  • On the Environment: I support the Governor’s ban on fracking – I vehemently oppose fracking -- and I believe in the scientific method to understand climate change.

And there are connections among: immigration, climate change and the environment.  

Climate change prompts a lot of immigration – look at sub-Saharan Africa or closer to home Central America.  And yet, the very people who demonize immigrants – and deprive family farms of their labor force -- are also those who deny climate change, make their money off of fossil fuels, promote fracking and make money off of industrial agriculture.  The Koch’s, for example.  Furthermore, they poison the national debate on these issues.  To disguise their own greedy 1%, they sow division among the working and middle classes.  And let’s be clear: in their view, immigration is really about race, it is about class, and it is about their BIG MONEY dominating politics.  

The Democratic Party has to get its arms around these issues.  The 23rd District has to connect the dots.  We need comprehensive health care just as we need a comprehensive environmental policy.  We must address its economic, social and political effects – humanely, and within the progressive and liberal traditions of the United States.  

I have the education, experience and expertise to do just that for the people of the 23rd District.