As a New Yorker whose state is facing an economic meltdown similar to what is being felt in other states such as California and even our own federal government: Who we need right now as a United States senator is someone with immense economic experience and a tough as nails approach in delivering for New York State. As much as I love the Kennedy family and their contributions to this country, I do not support Caroline Kennedy in being named to fill the senate seat soon to be vacated by Senator Hillary Clinton.
Some within the media have opined that Kennedy is right for this position because she will be able to raise funds needed to run in 2010. At this point in time, politics needs to take a back seat and in its place is actual governing experience. Now is not the time to be mentored by anyone as some have said Senator Schumer will be hers.
One name I can think of is Tom Suozzi who is the county executive for Nassau County. He ran a true reform campaign and won. Before being elected to that seat, Nassau County, NY was awash in a sea of red thanks to the failed Republican leadership under Tom Gulotta.
In a March, 2000 op-ed piece, the Levittown Tribune reported, “Our county bond rating has been reduced to one notch above junk bond status. This act alone will cost us (the Nassau County taxpayer) millions more in interest payments on money borrowed by the county. It's truly scary to read that Tom Gulotta, county executive and CEO of Nassau County thinks we are in fine shape.” Does that sound familiar?
When elected as county executive back in 2001 and taking over the county in 2002, About.com wrote this of Suozzi’s success in turning things around, “During Tom Suozzi's first term as Nassau County Executive, Nassau County's bond rating was upgraded 10 times. Governing Magazine reports that prior to Suozzi taking office, Nassau County "had amassed nearly $3 billion in debt [and] its bonds were at junk status." They went onto write, “Nassau County has balanced its budget every year since Suozzi became County Executive.”
I ask, isn’t that the experience we need in filling that vacated seat? Being a county executive brings along with it executive experience.
I am assured that there are other qualified candidates to be named to this seat such as “Carolyn Maloney, who has been one of the great champions of women around the world on issues ranging from sex trafficking to reproductive health.” As reported by Nicholas Kristof in his piece,For senate, Caroline or Carolyn?
But, at this moment in time economics must come first and do need someone to assist our incoming President, Barack Obama. Who can then help Governor, David Paterson when it was reported in Newsday yesterday, “Paterson says years of Albany's notorious overspending, a national recession and Wall Street's collapse forces him to take drastic steps to eliminate what he projects will be $51.1 billion in deficits over the next four years. He warned for months there would be pain, and now he's trying to minimize it by spreading the cuts to all New Yorkers.” As a resident of New York State, I am concerned of any budget cuts and this is precisely the reason I cannot back Caroline Kennedy.
While the media hypes the Blagojevich story, it is the Madoff story that most concerns me as a New Yorker and specifically a Long Islander when Newsday reported of the Madoff scandal, “For the area's nonprofits, which often are the recipients of donations from these and other wealthy families, the fallout from the Madoff allegations simply adds another wrinkle to an already uncertain economic terrain.” Personally, he should NOT be out on bail being monitored by any electronic device, but sitting in a jail cell at Rikers Island for the damage he has caused.
Who we need filling that powerful senate seat given the fact that he/she will be deeply involved in the Wall Street crisis as its representative is someone who does have the economic knowledge and has practiced it, succeeded in it to help our struggling economies. Now is not the time for politics, but coming to the aid of our citizens with people who do have the economic experience to lead us out of this dark time in our history.
It is my sincere hope that Governor David Paterson seek out qualified candidates such as Tom Suozzi or others like him within our state and not give into party politics in naming Caroline Kennedy to this senate seat. We must remember quote heard round the world when former President Bill Clinton first ran for president when he said, “It’s the economy, stupid!”
Author’s email address is, email@example.com