Sunday, November 29, 2009

Down in D.C.

Mary Lou and I consulted with the RNC in D.C. There was discussion about all aspects of campaign strategy, and we met some very smart and dedicated people, including Michael Steele, John Boehner, Mike Sessions, Dana Perino, and Eric Cantor. They are aghast at what damage the Democrats are doing to our economy, and are determined to win back the House in 2010.

Of the 40 candidates that were there, I was the only active candidate from New England. I believe that made me a novelty.

It was fascinating to sit in on a congressional morning briefing, while Mary Lou got to talk to a Congresswoman about the life style of a Congressional family....which is not easy.

Now, I'm stoked.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Very Good Day

Saturday October 17: Stumping through district 2 with Charlie Baker, Christy Mihos, and Scott Brown.

First, in Springfield. An excellent event put together by Paul Santaniello and Chanel Prunier for the benefit of the municipal candidates of Springfield. All of the candidates spoke to our core values of the advancement of individual liberty and fiscal responsibility. We all recognize the need to build up local candidates as the foundation of our future success in Massachusetts.

Mary Lou and I made a quick stop to talk to folks at the Harvest Festival on the commons of Sturbridge.

Lastly, a literal barnstormer in Sutton, put on by local committee members Ryan Fattman and Carl Copeland. A very large crowd was present. Besides the candidates for governor, Senate and U.S. Congress, again, a host of local candidates presented.

The Mass Pike got a workout by us that day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

On the Road

We are barnstorming the district. We started with a meeting of the Wilbraham town committee. As usual, it was rewarding to meet with a great group of people, and the conversation ranged from the construction of a new high school in Wilbraham, to health care reform and government deficits. Thanks for the support, Wibraham.

A new 9/12 group invited Mary Lou and I to Chicopee, and I was the guest speaker at a health care town hall meeting. Richard Neal won't come out in public to talk to the voters, but I will. We spent an hour and a half talking about the health care reform bills in Congress, and the discussion was enthusiastic. People are quite involved.

Next was Sturbridge. Mary Lou and I met with
members of the new town committee from Wales. State Reps. Jeff Perry and Paul Frost were there, as was the prior candidate for Lieut. Governor Reed Hillman. Again, the opportunity was there to meet good people, and a have discussions on important issues.

We then met in Longmeadow with the town committee chaired by Dean Rogeness. Present was his wife, prior State Rep Mary Rogeness. Two members were at the Tea party in Washington DC, and told of the huge number of people who actually attended, a fact not accurately reported in the press. I had the chance to answer questions on my positions on major issues. There were a number of familiar faces present.

Next up, Springfield, Sutton, and East Longmeadow.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Richard Neal, The Gift That Keeps Giving

ACORN! Richard Neal was one of the small group of Congressmen that voted to continue federal funding of Acorn.

Richard, what is it going to take for you to stop giving taxpayer dollars to this organization? They have members being indicted for voter fraud, they have been caught on film helping to create a business plan for importing teen age prostitutes from Central America, and that's not enough for you. How about bank robbery? Piracy on the open seas? What?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Campaign Fund Raising

Running a campaign of this dimension has given me a very different perspective on fund raising and politics. I'm sure I'm like everyone else; getting fund raising solicitations is a nuisance, and I'll usually contribute only when an election is getting close or a news event occurs which infuriates me and then I have to make some kind of statement.

There is a different quality to it on this side of the process. There is pressure early on to raise money . Resources are needed early to build an organization, and develop a workable structure (particularly professional fund raisers). The political world outside your campaign is looking to see if you can raise money as a marker of viability, so that you are worthy of the investment of further contributions and resources. In order to be able to raise money, you first have to raise money.

Later on in the campaign, if you don't have the money to hit the airwaves on television and radio, you are crippled.

I'm getting practice in fund raising, and I am getting much better at it. My experience has been that personal contact is important, and the contributor needs to know not just what you stand for, but also who you are.

I have been concentrating first on getting out through the district and meeting people. I'm very, very happy with how this is going. As people are getting to know me, the support has been growing. The public needs to know that all contributions, no matter how small, help push forward the effort. Large contributions are terrific, but many small contributions add up fast as well.

I can't speak for other candidates, but each time I get a contribution, it reminds me that I have to work as hard as I can and be as good at this as I can be in order to justify the faith that this person has shown in me and the political process. Receiving campaign contributions is encouraging, but it is also sobering.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Where's Richard????

Congress is planning a massive overhaul of a key element of our society, all of us may be affected, our ability to decide on our personal health care may be abrogated by a government grab of centralized power, and it will cost the taxpayer One Trillion Dollars. Citizens want to communicate with their representatives.

WHERE'S RICHARD???? (Neal, that is) No town meetings, what's that about? Where are you hiding?

You have to love the 9/12 group. They are performing an vital civic duty for all of us. They won't let these politicians run and hide. I'm talking to members of the group during a demonstration about health care reform outside of Richard Neal's office in Springfield.

Jay and the Giant Peach

This blog is mostly an excuse to post this photo. The Wilbraham Peach Festival, home of the excellent peach pancake and sausage breakfast. This is me with the chief economic strategist of the state Democratic Party (he's the one in the hat).

Mary Lou and I visited both days, and had the chance to talk politics with folks from Wilbraham, Springfield, and Ludlow. Health care reform is the topic, and just as it is everywhere else we've gone, people are not happy with the government's plan to take over 15% of the economy and really screw up our system. Fix what needs to be fixed, and then stay away: nobody wants the government involved in their decision making around our private health care choices.

It doesn't surprise me anymore how very well informed the voting public is.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Are They For Real

Richard Neal and Rep. James McGovern were about to get on talk radio out of Worcester to sell this health care reform bill. I had to pull off the side of the road to listen, as I would soon lose the station. What remarkable spin, deception, and nonsense was coming out of them as they were trying to persuade the voters that the dismantling of the health care system in favor of a government run plan was good for them. I have to wonder if Neal and McGovern really believe what they're saying, or if it is all a cynical political sales pitch with these Dems hoping that the voters just won't notice. As I sat there for the full hour, I tried to call in to the show to counter some of this craziness, but I couldn't get past the busy signal.

You can keep your insurance if you don't want the public plan? Not if your employer drops his/her employees when the costs get too high after ERISA is abolished (large businesses) or when the taxes are raised (small businesses). All that's left...the government plan.

The public plan will compete with the insurance industry to keep it honest? Insurers are already in serious competition with each other. Can they compete with a government plan that doesn't have to make a profit, and doesn't have to worry about losing money because it's tax payer supported?

It's budget neutral? If you believe that 500 billion out of medicare that would have paid for hospital and physician services is budget neutral. What are we going to do in the future when more hospitals disappear and doctors are less accessible, particularly to the elderly?

No rationing? They have clearly indicated that this is the only cost control measure they have considered. Bureaucrats, not you and your doctor, will decide what you get.

People are angry. 85% of Americans like what they have in health care, and these politicians will tear it up because they want government control. You can fix what needs to be fixed a piece at a time, rather than screw up the whole thing for everybody.

Why can't Neal, McGovern, and their buddies get it? The voters do.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Streets of Northampton

The first foray into a public venue that is not already political, and the sidewalk sale in Northampton does just fine. A warm, sunny day, the sidewalks are full. It seemed like it would be a good idea to find out who is from my district, so I approached folks by asking if they were from Northampton or Hadley. It shouldn't have surprised my that 9 in 10 were not. There were a large percentage from Connecticut, and NY, with a smattering from Florida as well as a Hawaiian.

I expected to get assaulted by the locals, as Northampton is a very Democratic town, but only one of the natives absolutely refused to even look at a Republican. He needs a sense of humor.

People were very interested in hearing ideas about health care reform: the Congressional process appears very chaotic to them (which, of course, it actually is), and though they know that what we now have has got to change, they are very worried that something quite bad is going to come out of Washington (which is certainly possible). They were very willing to listen and mix it up about healthcare, and were quite pleasant to meet. Yes, it was an enjoyable afternoon.

Having one of their local physicians running for congress is clearly a curiosity.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

California Dreaming

We've just returned from a family event in LA. As with many families, we've been close for my entire life, and they are very curious about my running for Congress, yet it makes so much sense. My parents, the patriarch and matriarch of this clan are both gone, but were old time Roosevelt Democrats. Almost all of their offspring turned out to be small government Republicans. My nephew's wife at age 8 immigrated with her parents from the Soviet Union to escape the oppression of the Communists, and they are very attuned to government intrusion on liberties. They are aghast at what they see coming from Washington.

Our cab driver back to the airport immigrated from Ghana twenty years ago, and is proud of being a citizen. He has a B.A. in business, but is happy to be an American cabbie. He is very angry about illegal immigration, as he came legally. He can't understand how the U.S. tolerates immigrants who refuse to speak English, and is convinced that California's budget crisis is caused by taxpayer support of services to illegal immigrants.

I don't engage in an argument with him, but we can't forget that just over 100 years ago there was a wave of immigration into the US that brought odd looking people with their foreign languages and behaviors from countries like Italy, Ireland, Poland and Greece. In their neighborhoods, few of the signs were in English and neither were the spoken words. They weren't welcomed then, but their descendants are now our teachers, politicians, and scientists.

It is our nation's right and duty to secure our borders, but we must remember our history. We have no need to be afraid of immigrants. These newcomers are intensely dedicated to and very protective of their freedom and self determination. That's why so many came here.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

From Out Of Nowhere

July 4, 2009: Tea Party Demonstration in Boston.

I'm here to work the crowd. My task is to get known, get the word out that there is some one who will speak differently to the common assumptions of Massachusetts politics. This is a disorienting time, as so much has seemed to go wrong so quickly, and it appears so obvious that what is happening at the federal level is compounding the damage with a severity that is scary.

There are only a few familiar faces in the crowd, but I have to get by any hesitation and jump in as I'm here to do a job. I have a responsibility to my country to do what ever I can to stop the catastrophe unfolding in Washington.

The trick is to intrude on people without being obnoxious, but it is a political rally of people who are oriented in my direction, and so this proves to be easy. My wife Mary Lou is with me, equally as committed as I, and she is part of these conversations. One of the problems is identifying who is part of the rally, and who may be spectators or passersby, but the signs, flags, and buttons are reliable giveaways. Quickly, I settle on the technique of asking if the person or group is from Massachusetts, and if they are, telling them that I'm running for Congress and that I'm out to stop the craziness of what is now our government. These folks understand what I'm trying to do. They also are angry at the enormous power grab in Washington, the erosion of freedoms, the criminal negligence in the deficit. Most of those I meet are not from my congressional district, and often they try to return my card. I tell them to keep it: if their congressman does not have an opponent in 2010, then they can support me with contributions as at least one person trying to make a change in Congress.

Another problem is trying to remember who I have already accosted and who I haven't. Mary Lou is a little better than I am, but not by much. The people in the crowd keep moving around, which certainly doesn't help.

There are a lot of people here who have come down from New Hampshire: good for them, live free or die.

There is passion at this rally, but people have come with some very different nuances to their agendas. There is a contingency of Ayn Rand adherents, who seem mostly college age or recent graduates. It is a useful coincidence that I'm in the middle of reading Atlas Shrugged. There are Ron Paul supporters, pushing for his bill to audit the federal reserve. There are states rights advocates and those who are agitating to stop the onslaught of the federal government on business. Cap and trade is a major topic, as is fear of what terrible things the government may do if it comes to control our health care.

The single best moment Mary Lou and I have the entire day is when we approach two middle aged women, who soon inform us that they were immigrants from Peru, but are now Americans. They are at the rally because they are angry: they have come to this country to be free and to benefit from the fruits of their work, and now the government is taking their country away from them.

It is a beautiful, sunny, and cool day. Boston is beautiful. Both the Commons and Kennedy Park by the Long Wharf are full of people simply enjoying the weather. Are they worried about what is going on in Washington? I suspect many of them are, though most people keep it quiet, and few like political rallies. I'm counting on their paying attention.

I'm a doctor. I have been practising for 25 years in Northampton, MA and I love what I do. Today I'm working a crowd, meeting the voters, and hoping to pick up some contributions for an election almost a year and one half away.