In reading a Newsday article the other day in which two members of the GOP are backing Democrat, Steve Levy in his re-election bid as Suffolk County Executive, it reminded me of how he became our County Executive in the first place. During the 2003 Democratic primary which pitted Steve Levy against William Cunningham there were many Republicans coming to the polls to vote for Levy, but were told they could not. When it counted, they showed up in the General Election and delivered a blow-out victory for Steve Levy over his Republican challenger, Ed Romaine.
You are probably scratching your head as to why I am revisiting political history here in Suffolk County, NY and the reason is we are going to need a Democratic candidate running for president that can do the same. We will need one that can truly unite both Democrats and Republicans as we go forward. We will also need one with experience going forward.
In reading Governor Bill Richardson’s campaign web site, I saw a similarity between Steve Levy and Bill Richardson as one reads, “I just got re-elected with 69 percent of the vote-in a red state- and I got 40 percent of the Republican vote. I can bring people together to solve problems.” I find it remarkable that 40 percent of Republicans living in a red state would vote for a Democrat. It must mean that he is doing something right for the people of that western state.When he refers to New Mexico as a red state, another similarity comes to mind since Suffolk County, NY where I live, it is predominantly Republican. It used to be that no Democrat could win any election, but that changed a few years prior to Steve Levy’s election. It was done with the hard work of Richard Schaffer who is the Suffolk County chair for the Democratic Party and Marsha Laufer who is The Town of Brookhaven Democratic Committee chair. You may ask; how a town chair can affect any outcome of an election. I want to remind you that the Town of Brookhaven is larger than Rhode Island and for decades was controlled by the GOP. That changed in 2005.
Both of these men’s victories are evident of DNC Chair, Howard Dean’s fifty-state-strategy. It means going into states and precincts never before won by Democrats and changing that. It means offering them candidates in which the opposing party is willing to cross party lines. That is the key. It also means offering them candidates with impressive resumes and resumes which speaks to their experience prior to running for that particular office.
While I have not stated previously who I am willing to back, Governor Richardson is capturing my attention. While he does not have the sound bite down pat, I can look past that as he answered questions posed to him at the previous Democratic debate hosted by MSNBC. In candidates, I never look for polished answers, rehearsed answers, quick answers, but answers that are substantive. Answers that will have me searching and coax me into asking; what is this candidate made of?
As this Bush administration has isolated us from the rest of the world, I love the fact that Governor Richardson was once President Clinton’s Ambassador to the UN. What that tells me is that this man was picked in order to reach out to the rest of the world and represent our interests abroad. It also told me that he was able to work with others as he brokered many treaties.In this CNN article and as it relates to the three soldiers being held hostage somewhere in Iraq is that we need a man with Bill Richardson’s experience as one reads, “In 1994 he won the release of a U.S. helicopter pilot shot down by North Korea. A year later, he persuaded Saddam Hussein to turn over two American engineers who took a wrong turn out of Kuwait and ended up in Iraq. He also secured the release of an American missionary who wandered into North Korea from China.” I bet you anything that the family members of our three soldiers now being held somewhere in Iraq would appreciate the experience behind Gov. Richardson if he were president right now.
Governor Richardson also mentions in order to protect our national security that we need to “a firm commitment to building diplomatic alliances” That’s it in a nutshell and does lead us in a different direction as opposed to this unilateralism. It is a far cry from using taunting language.
When it comes to energy and our dependence on foreign oil, one must remember that Gov. Richardson was also our Energy Secretary. In fact on his web site he states, “As Energy Secretary I implemented tough efficiency standards that have saved consumers billions in energy costs. Everybody talks the talk on these issues -- I've done it.”
He almost sounds like President John F. Kennedy who challenged a nation to put a man on the moon as one reads, “I've done in New Mexico where we're requiring that 10 percent of all energy come from renewable sources and we're moving toward 20 percent, we've provided incentives for solar, wind, biofuels and other renewables,”
As a former congressman, he knows all too well how congress works and again that is a plus to me. He knows what tactics our congressional members use and again, through this experience hopefully he can get things done for the American people if elected.
In making America more competitive with other countries when it comes to good paying jobs, it was this passage that spoke to me, “In New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the nation, we've created 84,000 new jobs, many of them high tech jobs in industries like renewable energy, aerospace, and communications. We've done that with innovative approaches like a tax credit for companies who create good paying jobs, tax incentives for start up high tech businesses, and targeting job creation in rural areas.” These are the jobs we will need as we go forward. We have seen too many good jobs go overseas and I want a president that can keep them here.
Lastly, as President Bush turned his back on Katrina victims here is a video in which Governor Richardson visited the town of Clovis as a tornado destroyed that community. Notice he immediately frees up state money to help these victims as he signs the emergency declaration. He even asked the mayor of Clovis; “Is there anything else we can do?” The mayor answered “You are doing all that you can do, Governor” If I am going to back any candidate, they must have the experience behind them and right now the candidate of my choice is Governor Bill Richardson. In my opinion, he can truly be the uniter. He has already shown me he has the ability to win in a state no Democrat ever thought was within their grasp. Through this experience, he has proved to me that he has the right stuff.
Author’s note: My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org