Aug 15, 2012 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
Local business owners and other residents heard from federal, state and county candidates for November election at a political breakfast held Tuesday at the Cavalry Club in Manlius.
“This is an opportunity for the candidates to come up and basically do an early trial run,” Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce President Tim Buckles said in welcoming the guests to the chamber’s annual event.
County Legislator Kevin Holmquist (R-Manlius), who is not up for reelection this year, reminded the candidates to keep their speeches to “three earth minutes.”
“Not Albany minutes or Washington minutes,” he joked.
First up was former Congressman Dan Maffei, who is challenging Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle for the newly drawn 24th District seat. Maffei is endorsed by the Democratic Party.
He reflected on his experience in business — at his family’s small business on Burnet Avenue, in the local media, and at a local investment firm.
“It’s very difficult and challenging, particularly now, to run a small business in Central New York,” he said. “And that’s where I think we need to focus over the next several years.
“It’s very important that we get our economy in Central New York moving again.”
He stressed the need to balance the nation’s budget.
“It’s a key thing in Washington. Everybody knows that the budget is out of control,” he said. “But we need to do it in the right way, and that’s not on the backs of our seniors, and our middle class and our small businesses.”
The right way, Maffei said, would be to invest in local infrastructure — the bridges and roads — which are “not what they could be.”
“And eventually I do think we need high speed rail,” he said. “We need something transformative that’s going to bring people back to Central New York in the way that the Erie Canal once brought people to here in the first place.”
Investment will lead to job growth, he said.
“What we need to do is create jobs,” he said. “If everyone can have a job I truly believe that we will see a real renaissance here in Central New York.”
Buerkle followed, and turned the focus of the discussion to the veterans in attendance. She is endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties, and just received the endorsement of the Onondaga County Veterans Party.
“Let’s begin today by acknowledging the veterans in this room,” she said. “The United States of America is the greatest nation in the history of the world, and that’s because of the service and the sacrifice of the men and women who serve our nation.”
She spoke of this election cycle being about “two very different visions for the U.S.A.”
“There are those of us who believe that the greatness of this nation is not with the federal government, it is with the individual,” she said. “It is with the people in this room who had a dream, the courage and energy, and the willingness to work hard to grow that dream. And the best thing to do for this economy is to get the government out of the way.”
Like Maffei, she talked about the difficulty of running a small business in Central New York, but focused on uncertainties business owners face over new regulations, taxes and how the Affordable Care Act is going to affect them.
“So the best thing we can do as a federal government is to create certainty for our businesses. Send them a message that our small businesses are the backbone of our economy, they are the solution … and get the government out of your way,” she said. “And that’s how we’ll get the American people back to work. That’s how we’ll get Upstate New York back to work.”
Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum also discussed the need to create jobs.
“Too many people want to work, and want to work hard, but there just aren’t the jobs right now,” she said.
She said that while this is a position held by all of the candidates, “the major two parties are not giving us real solutions for how we’re going to create those jobs, and how we’re going to address the major crisis of our time, which is the climate crisis.”
Rozum proposed a “Green New Deal,” modeled on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Depression-era New Deal.
“We need to put people back to work, and we can do it right now with jobs that will develop sustainable energy systems to address the climate crisis,” she said.