By DAN GUZEWICH Staff writer
CAMPAIGN KICK-OFF — In a swing through the newly-defined 22nd District, Democrat Dan Lamb announced the opening of his campaign against incumbent Republican Richard L. Hanna. Lamb served on the staff of Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey, who has decided not to run for another term. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)
The Democratic candidate for Congress in the new 22nd District brought his campaign to Oneida County Monday and painted a contrast between himself and Republican incumbent Richard L. Hanna.
"Whether it’s your daughter or my son, the Washington Republicans’ plan to cut education, cut investments in jobs, cut access to a secure retirement for seniors, and cut benefits for veterans is just not who we are as a nation, and not what I believe in. Especially when Congressman Hanna is voting to give new tax breaks to multi-millionaires, " said Dan Lamb, 48, of Freeville in Tompkins County.
He talked about "changing the way government works." He said if elected his priorities would be creating jobs and strengthening the economy.
During remarks before a group of supporters — many holding "Dan Lamb for Congress" signs — in the Liberty Bell Corner park, Lamb said he stood for an alternative.
An energetic Lamb outlined at least five areas, Medicare, veterans, the Import-Export Bank, infrastructure and education, where he says he differs with Hanna’s positions.
"They’re banking on amnesia, hoping that you’ll only remember to forget, and that’s why we’re going to win this campaign. Because I still remember, and you will never forget what they are trying to do to this country," he said of Hanna and his fellow Republicans.
Lamb said he knows what it takes to be a congressman and the issues that arise because of his time working for Democratic Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey, who represents New York’s current 22nd and is not seeking re-election.
"For the past 15 years, I’ve worked to cut through the bureaucracy and make Washington work for families, farmers and small businesses throughout this region," Lamb said of his tenure with Hinchey. He added that, "I’m my own man."
Congressional districts across the country have been redrawn for this year’s elections based on the 2010 Census. Lamb said told reporters after his speech the new 22nd is roughly made up of half of the territory now represented by Hanna and Hinchey has about the same amount. Overall, the district is comprised of all of Oneida, Madison, Chenango and Cortland counties, and parts of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego and Tioga counties.
Hanna, 61, of Barneveld is in his first term. He defeated a Democratic incumbent two years ago. "Richard Hanna went to Washington to be part of the solution and that’s what his record shows," said spokeswoman Renee Gamela.
"He has helped numerous upstate New Yorkers navigate federal agencies like Veterans, Social Security and Medicare. He has increased transparency and explains his votes publicly on social media sites. "Richard has spent his life in the private sector working for the betterment of this community and he will continue to do so as our representative in Congress."
Meanwhile, it is game on for a GOP primary June 26 to pick the Republican candidate in the 22nd. Hanna is being opposed for the GOP nod by Michael J. Kicinski Sr., 53, of Earlville, which is split between Madison and Chenango counties. He is an unemployed electrical engineer and founding member of the Norwich Tea Party Patriots. Hanna also has the Independence Party spot on the ballot.
Lamb has secured only the Democratic line on the ballot, but has the endorsement of the Working Families party, said campaign official Mike Morosi. He failed to get the Working Families’ ballot line because of a technicality, according to Morosi.
"This election is about choice," he said. "If you agree with me, that’s the choice." Republicans hold the majority in the House of Representatives.
When asked about his campaign, Lamb said it could cost $1 million or maybe more. As of March 31, Hanna enjoyed a substantial money edge over Lamb. Lamb had $44,990 cash on hand and Hanna had $353,070, according to the Federal Election Commission.
There are nearly 405,000 enrolled voters in the district, including 165,909 Republicans and 132,074 Democrats, in the district, according to the state Board of Elections. Oneida County has the most registered voters of any county in the district, 129,322, followed by Broome’s 111,257. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats in each of the counties.