NY13 Blog; Retaking NY-13 from Rep. Vito Fossella

Following the corruption, ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of Rep. Vito Fossella.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Harrison gets NY Times Endorsement

In major news tonight, the NY Times has just released its latest round of endorsements saying;

Mr. Fossella, the only Republican in the city’s Congressional delegation, possesses a well-known name on Staten Island. But his 10 years in Congress have defined him as anything but the independent fighter for constituents that he claims to be in this campaign. He has been a real water-carrier for the Bush administration and the Republican leadership, staunchly backing the war in Iraq while at the same time denying health benefits to National Guard and Reserve members who make up much of the American force there.

The congressman, who declined an interview with The Times editorial board, has been unsympathetic to environmental concerns and has opposed a woman’s right to choose. He does his constituents no favors by his support for privatizing Social Security. He has voted to protect gun makers and sellers. While Mr. Fossella has lately sought funding to deal with health problems related to to the attacks of Sept. 11, he has largely been missing on important local issues. His Democratic colleague, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who represents the Sixth District, has often been left to advocate Staten Island’s many transportation needs, including the North Shore rail.

Mr. Fossella has offered only lame excuses for improperly using his campaign funds for skiing holidays in Vail (including lessons and equipment), as well as vacations in Florida — transgressions first reported by the Daily News. He has received donations from a lobbying firm with ties to Jack Abramoff. Earlier this year, he was fined a reported $60,000 for misusing his taxpayer-funded official mailing privileges.

He has also gone negative in a nasty way against his underfinanced Democratic opponent, Stephen Harrison. Voters should beware of any politician who tries to scare them, as Mr. Fossella has done, by pasting his opponent’s photo alongside Osama bin Laden’s.

Mr. Harrison is a lawyer who has not previously held public office and who entered the race when other more experienced Democrats demurred, believing Mr. Fossella was unbeatable. He deserves credit for making the stand, and is an attractive alternative to Mr. Fossella in his own right. Mr. Harrison has a presence in both sides of the district; he resides in Brooklyn, while his mother and sister live on Staten Island.

As chair of Community Board 10 in Brooklyn, he demonstrated leadership as he oversaw one of the city’s largest efforts to contain overdevelopment through rezoning. He has a good command of the issues, and a feel for the concerns of the district. Mr. Harrison surprised many with his passion and keen intelligence in a series of debates with Mr. Fossella. The distinctions could not be clearer. We endorse Mr. Harrison for Congress.


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