Tag Archive | "Tim Bishop"

Long Island Contractors’ Association Supports Bishop for Congress

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Late last month, the Long Island Contractors’ Association (LICA), joined by the Operating Engineers Local 138, Laborers Local 1298, Teamsters Local 282 and the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, announced their endorsement of incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop for re-election at the Laborers Local 1298 headquarters in Hempstead.

In a press release issued by Bishop’s office, LICA Executive Director Marc Herbst announced that its PAC is breaking with their traditional policy of not offering political endorsements, “because as an industry, as a region and as a state faced with an extraordinary crisis Tim Bishop has volunteered to pick up the burden of being the region’s champion for federal funds earmarked for roads, bridges, water systems and more. It is imperative to support the one public official who has demonstrated the courage and capacity to stand up and speak out forcefully on behalf of all of us.”

The only other time LICA’s PAC has ever endorsed a political candidate was for Congressman Bishop’s last re-election bid two years ago.

Congressman Bishop is the only Long Island representative to serve on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“We won’t be able to outspend my opponent but we will outwork them,” said Bishop of the endorsement. “I am grateful for your support because it is so terribly important.”

Bishop is facing Republican, Conservative and Independence Party candidate Randy Altschuler for the second consecutive race for the First Congressional District seat in the United States House of Representatives.

“We are in an era when government spending is viewed as `spending’ as opposed to an investment,” said Bishop. “Yet it is clear that there are certain things we need to invest in so we grow our economy and infrastructure is at the top of that list.  Not only do we put people to work but infrastructure investment also helps the rest of our economy flourish.”

Republican Randy Altschuler Set to Speak This Thursday at East Hampton Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in Sag Harbor

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Republican, Independence and Conservative Congressional candidate Randy Altschuler will speak at an East Hampton Chamber of Commerce luncheon today, September 20, at The American Hotel in Sag Harbor.

The luncheon will cost $50 and will feature Altschuler, who is facing off against Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop this November.

It will be the second race between Altschuler, a businessman who lives in St. James, and Bishop, a lifelong Southampton resident.

Former Police Commissioner Calls on Ethics Investigation on Bishop

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According to a press release issued by the campaign of Congressional hopeful, Republican Randy Altschuler, former Suffolk County Police Commissioner and Chief Investigator of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Bob Creighton, has sent a certified letter to the non-partisan Office of Congressional Ethics formally requesting an investigation into Congressman Tim Bishop fundraising practices. The letter comes after a Politico story called into question a donation made by a Southampton resident who Bishop aided by helping a fireworks company gain permits for his son’s bar mitvah.

Newsday originally reported the story on Creighton’s letter.

According to the Altschuler camp, in his letter, Creighton writes, “[I]t seems clear that Representative Bishop and his staff clearly violated House Ethics rules and may very well have violated criminal bribery and illegal gratuities statues. I trust that you will take this matter serious, review all the facts in a timely manner, and open a full investigation into Representative Bishop as a result.”

“As a former Suffolk County Police Commissioner and Chief Investigator for the District Attorney’s Office, Bob Creighton’s willingness to publicly request a congressional investigation into career politician Tim Bishop’s pay-to-play fundraising practices speaks volumes,” said Altschuler Campaign Manager Diana Weir.  “The House Ethics Rules are crystal clear on this issue: Soliciting a campaign contribution linked to official action is strictly prohibited. We agree with Mr. Creighton, Newsday’s editors and virtually every other major newspaper in the area who all believe Congressman Bishop’s actions should be thoroughly investigated and proper disciplinary action taken.”

“As Representative Bishop has said, any fair-minded review of the facts will conclude what we already know and what the donor in question has stated — there was no wrong-doing,” said Bishop campaign spokesman Bobby Pierce. “Over the next ten weeks, Randy Altschuler is going to do everything he can to get distract voters from the fact that he made millions of dollars outsourcing American jobs, that he is still invested in outsourcing American jobs to the tune of a half-million dollars, that he supports a budget that raises taxes on the middle class, and that he holds the extreme anti-choice view of Todd Akin that puts a rapist’s rights over a victim’s rights.”

Plum Island: Sitting Duck

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By Karl Grossman

The National Research Council issued a report this month identifying “a number of deficiencies” in an “updated risk assessment” done by the federal government for the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) it wants to build in Kansas to replace the Plum Island Animal Disease Center just off Long Island.

Congressman Tim Bishop, who has been challenging the project, issued a statement praising the report because “it bolsters” his view “that building NBAF in America’s agricultural heartland…is unacceptably risky.” He cited “the potentially devastating consequences of a release of the most virulent animal diseases in the heart of cattle country.” The Southampton Democrat also cited, as he has repeatedly, “the jobs of over 100 Long Islanders” threatened by the closure of the Plum Island center, and the NBAF’s $1 billion cost.

Randy Altschuler, a St. James Republican now in a second run to replace Mr. Bishop, although differing with him on most issues, on this agreed. He said in an interview last week that building the NBAF in Kansas to replace the Plum Island center “doesn’t make any sense.”

The National Research Council report, done by a variety of experts in veterinary medicine, engineering and other fields, said the “updated risk assessment” was an improvement over a 2010 “version.” But it still “underestimates the risk of an accidental pathogen release.” It said “the updated probabilities of release are based on overly optimistic and unsupported estimates of human-error rates” and “low estimates of infectious material available for release.”  Of great concern is the impact of a release on the many livestock, notably cattle, in the region. The malady on which most research on Plum Island is done, to be taken over by the NBAF, is foot-and-mouth disease which affects cattle.

But a release from Plum Island could impact on the many people in this region — and there have been releases at the Plum Island center. While Kansas is a center for cattle-raising in the United States, Plum Island is in close proximity to a national center of human population — a mile-and-a-half off the North Fork of Long Island with crowded Long Island and then New York City to its west, Connecticut, Rhode Island and then Boston to its north, .

Untrue is the claim — repeated this month by CBS News’ “Sunday Morning” which presented a segment on Plum Island — that there isn’t a link between diseases studied there and people. CBS reported that “the government says the germs stored on the island only affect animals.”

As noted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its 2003 report about the danger of terrorism and the Plum Island center, a camel pox strain researched at it could be converted into “an agent as threatening as smallpox,” and the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus worked on could be “developed into a human biowarfare agent.” The GAO declared that there is a substantial risk that “an adversary might try to steal pathogens” from Plum Island and use them against people or animals in the U.S. Further, it said, the center “was not designed to be a highly secure facility.”

And it can never be. Plum Island sits exposed amid busy marine traffic lanes. The main Plum Island laboratory sits astride a beach.

Moreover, the Plum Island center has been on the target list of al Qaeda. In 2010, Aafia Siddiqui, dubbed “Lady al Qaeda,” was convicted in Manhattan of attempted murder. Among the documents in her possession when she was captured in Afghanistan in 2008 were hand-written notes about a “mass-casualty attack” and targets including: the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty—and the Plum Island center. Also found with Pakistan-born Dr. Siddiqui (who has a doctorate in neuroscience from MIT) were jars of poisonous chemicals and details on chemical, biological and radiological weapons. A relative of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, she was found guilty of trying to kill Americans who came to question her. In 2002, U.S. Army commandos and CIA agents found a dossier on the Plum Island center in a raid on the Afghanistan residence of nuclear physicist Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, an associate of Osama bin Laden.

Plum Island is a sitting duck for terrorists. That’s a major reason why the Department of Homeland Security, which after 9/11 took over running the center from the Department of Agriculture, wants it replaced by the NBAF. But can’t the proposed NBAF be put in a highly-secure location that is not in a center of cattle or of people?

Demos Bows Out of Congressional Race

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It’s official. The race for the 1st Congressional District will be a rematch.

On Friday, Ronkonkoma attorney George Demos officially dropped out of the race to be the Republican candidate who will attempt to unseat incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop, a Democrat, this fall.

Demos was set to face off against St. James businessman Randy Altschuler in a battle for the Republican seat next month and has sharply criticized both Altschuler and Bishop in campaign literature over the last several months.

In a press release issued Friday, Demos cited his upcoming nuptials to Chrysa Tsakopoulis as the impetus for his decision to withdraw himself from the race.

“Everyone who knows me knows of my deep commitment to public service and to being a strong voice for the conservative cause,” said Demos. “Equally, everyone who knows Chrysa and me, knows of our deep commitment to each other and the joy we are sharing in preparation of our wedding a week from now. These two facts have now come together. Both my impending marriage and my race for Congress are deeply important to me. But our marriage comes first. Therefore, today, I am going to set aside my political aspirations for a while so that I can focus on our family. Both Chrysa and I look forward to reentering the political debate in the near future and fighting for the conservative Republican values we share.”

Altschuler Nabs Independence Party Endorsement

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Last week, the New York State Independence Party announced it would endorse St. James businessman Randy Altschuler as its candidate for the 2012 Congressional First District in New York.

The party backed incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop in 2010.

Altschuler, a Republican, will have to face off against Ronkonkoma attorney George Demos for the Republican nomination, although he has received the support of the Suffolk County Republican Committee. That primary is slated for June 26.

This will be Altschuler’s second run for Congress. In 2010 he narrowly lost to Congressman Bishop by just 593 votes. Of the 196,000 ballots cast, Bishop earned 7,370 on the Independence party line.



Lighthouse to be Designated as a National Historic Landmark Today

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According to a spokesperson for New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the United States Department of the Interior will designate the Montauk Point Lighthouse – New York State’s oldest lighthouse and one of the first seacoast lighthouses authorized by Congress —as a National Historic Landmark some time Monday afternoon.

Since last year, Senator Gillibrand has urged Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior Ken Salazar and the National Park System (NPS) Advisory Board Landmarks Committee to designate the site as a National Historic Landmark.  The Lighthouse would be the twelfth place in Suffolk and Nassau counties to achieve landmark status.

“This is great news,” said Senator Gillibrand in a press release issued Monday morning. “The importance of this iconic lighthouse, which helped make New York Harbor the nation’s premier port, is indisputable. Montauk Point Lighthouse can finally take its rightful place as one of our National Historic Landmarks.”

Last November, Senator Gillibrand wrote in a letter to Ronald James, Chair of the NPS Advisory Board Landmarks Committee, “I strongly encourage you to recommend that the Montauk Point Lighthouse be designated as a National Historic Landmark to Secretary Salazar after the Advisory Board’s upcoming meeting… The Montauk Point Lighthouse has a rich history and continues to serve as a vital navigation feature to this day.  In 1969, the lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and the time has come for this iconic structure to be designated as a National Historic Landmark.”

The designation was also strongly supported by Congressman Tim Bishop, a native of the East End.

With Montauk Point Lighthouse becoming an iconic part of Suffolk County’s landscape, Senator Gillibrand pointed out that the landmark status would have the potential to greatly enhance tourism and economic activity in the surrounding area. The National Historic Landmark designation would provide greatly needed resources to preserve this site, which played a pivotal role in America’s history, guiding ships from Europe to New York. Built in 1796, the Montauk Point Lighthouse promoted New York as the receiving port for British manufactured goods in America.

East Hampton Republican, Conservative & Tea Party Leaders Endorse Altschuler for Congress

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At Hook Mill on Friday, East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilpersons Dominick Stanzione and Theresa Quigley endorsed St. James businessman Randy Altschuler’s second campaign for New York’s First Congressional District.

East Hampton Republican Party Chairman Kurt Kappel, East Hampton Town Conservative Party Chairman Vincent Downing and East End Tea Party Chair Lynda Edwards also endorsed the candidate who is vying for the Republican Party line in hopes of facing off against Congressman Tim Bishop for a second time. George Demos, a Ronkonkoma attorney who waged a primary battle against Altschuler in 2010, is also running for the seat.

“I am very grateful for the endorsement and support of East Hampton’s most important elected officials and party leaders,” said Altschuler in a statement. “East Hampton, under Bill Wilkinson’s leadership, is a model for the country. In the midst of the Obama-Bishop national economic calamity, Bill Wilkinson, Theresa Quigley and Dominic Stanzione have rescued East Hampton from fiscal ruin and the irresponsible management practices of the past. I also acknowledge the efforts of Vince Downing, Lynda Edwards, and Kurt Kappel, whose steadfast support of the Wilkinson administration’s policies are critical to East Hampton’s continued success.”

“[Randy Altschuler} will bring to the United States Congress, extraordinary intelligence, integrity and a solid record of job creation success,” said Supervisor Wilkinson.

Weir Tapped to Lead Altschuler’s 2012 Campaign for Congress

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Wainscott resident Diana Weir, a longtime public servant on the East End of Long Island, has been tapped to lead Randy Altschuler’s 2012 Congressional contest campaign, according to a press release issued by Altschuler’s office on Monday morning.

Altschuler, a Republican, narrowly lost his first bid for a Congressional seat against incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop in 2010.

Altschuler cited Weir’s “deep roots in the community and vast private, public and political experience,” as the reason he has selected her to serve as his campaign manager in his second bid for a seat in the United States House of Representatives.

Weir is the former Executive Vice President of the Long Island Housing Partnership and is currently a member of the Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees.

She was the first Hispanic councilwoman elected to the East Hampton Town Board and formerly served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Michael Forbes, directing his offices in Washington and Long Island before resigning when Forbes became a Democrat in 1999. Most recently, she has served as the chairwoman of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to the East Hampton Town Board and is also a new member of the town’s planning board.

“Diana is widely-respected across Long Island in the private, public and political arenas,” said Altschuler. “I am thrilled to formally announce her hiring today as the person leading my team on the ground. Today’s news continues the positive momentum my campaign has demonstrated since I announced my plans to seek a rematch against Congressman Bishop last spring.”

Prior to serving in government, Weir served as Senior Vice-President at the Bank of The Hamptons, and prior to that, as Senior Vice-President and Corporate Secretary for Smithtown Bancorp. Weir was appointed by Governor Pataki to the SUNY Stony Brook Council, served as a Suffolk County Human Rights Commissioner and co-chaired the Economic Development panel at the Long Island Hispanic Leadership Summit. Weir’s honors include New York City El Diario / La Prensa’s “Distinguished Latinas,” Suffolk County Hispanic Heritage Month’s “Hispanic Role Model” and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “Small Business Minority Advocate of the Year.”

“Given the depressed state of our local economy, Long Island is in desperate need of a representative with Randy’s business experience and proven track record of creating jobs,” said Weir. “Raised by a single mother, Randy overcame his humble beginnings to turn himself into a successful entrepreneur. Randy embodies the American Dream and I couldn’t be more excited to take on this challenge and lead the charge to defeat Tim Bishop in November.”

Congressman Tim Bishop Talks Candidly About the Future

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By Claire Walla

New York Congressman Tim Bishop doesn’t seem the type to lounge around. He commutes between offices in Southampton, Patchogue and Washington D.C., and attends events across the state and across the East End, where he represents nearly 700,000 people.

But last Tuesday, October 18, Bishop sank comfortably into the cushions of a big white couch in a house off the Bridgehampton Turnpike and, surrounded by a dozen of his constituents, he began to chat.

The purpose of his visit was as part of the Bridgehampton Children’s Center’s series: “The Politics of it All.” (Past guests have included State Assemblyman Fred Thiele and County Legislator Jay Schneiderman.) And although the conversation hinged on politics, Bishop spoke candidly about his positions on all topics raised that night, from early childhood education to what he called the “repulsive” tactics of the Tea Party Movement.

While casual, the tone of the evening was relatively dour as those who attended the discussion looked to the congressman for answers to what they see as glaring inefficiencies within the U.S. political system.

Perhaps the most outspoken attendee that evening was Randall Dobler, who before he spoke distributed a five-page document titled “Randall Dobler Economic Recovery Plan.”

He asked Bishop why — especially if the United States is looking to create more jobs and lessen its dependence on foreign oil — the U.S. government is not moving faster to promote the use of natural gas as a clean energy alternative.

Bishop’s answer turned out to be the relative mantra for the evening: “political opposition.” In the case of natural gas, he said many members of Congress who have thus far been opposed to passing legislation that would give American families the economic incentive to switch from heating their homes with oil to natural gas object to the part of the proposed bill that would put a tax on carbon-based fuels. According to Bishop, they maintain that the free market economy should reign supreme.

While political opposition is nothing new in Bishop’s line of work, the assemblyman’s critique of the current political climate went far deeper than typical party spats. For example, he said there’s “no political will” among many conservative members of Congress to move away from carbon-based fuels. And then, raising the pitch of his voice in frustration, he added: “Many members [of Congress] don’t even believe in climate change!”

Bishop reaffirmed what many in the room seemed to already believe, that such fundamental differences between members of Congress have created a vast schism within government, which has steered the country to where it is now: at a relative stalemate.

After the group lamented the woes of the American work force — which event organizer Bonnie Cannon said is worrisome because it’s been flooded with many college graduates who can’t find employment — attendee Lucius Ware, head of the East End chapter of the NAACP, drew comparisons between today’s problems and the American workforce in the 1950s and 60s. The so-called “space race,” he said, “kicked the workforce into high gear.”

“This is our Sputnik moment,” Bishop agreed. “But the environment could not possibly be more adverse to get that done.”

Bishop said he is baffled by the notion that certain measures he feels would bolster the American economy — like bills to boost spending for infrastructure that would create jobs — have been shot down by Congress in large part because Republicans are unwilling to budge on the issue of raising taxes in any way, shape or form. Referencing a Republican debate back in August during which the eight candidates stated they wouldn’t even consider raising taxes $1 for every $10 of spending cuts, Bishop said, “That’s lunacy!”

“I hate to say it,” he continued, “But [the conservative right] is not about to give [President Barack Obama] a win. That sounds hopelessly partisan, but I believe it’s right.”

Bishop explained that there are currently 25 million Americans under or unemployed in the United States, and he feels there is “no chance” the conservative right will accept the president’s spending plans, which currently propose $50 million for infrastructure and $35 million for schools.

“I see intransigence on the part of Republicans,” he added. “And a total unwillingness to move [on these points].”

The group went on to discuss government cuts to early childhood education programs, including Head Start. Bishop complained that the budget passed by Congress last April included 25 percent cuts to the program. To which Bridgehampton Head Start Manager Daphne Gil, who shared the couch with Bishop that night, noted that such cuts actually have an adverse affect on the work force as a whole.

“You have to allow people to let their children go to daycare and go to school so that they can go to work,” she said.

Bishop sympathized with her complaints and said, of the cuts, “there’s not logic to it.” Bishop added that he believes these programs should be restored, and said the country needs to put more effort into bolstering math and science programs, because this, he noted, is where the future of the job market will be.

In the midst of such a seemingly bleak forecast, Cannon made an attempt to shift the discussion.

“I’m feeling a bit down,” she said with an ironic laugh. “Can you tell me there’s some light at the end of the tunnel?”

Without being specific, Bishop offered an analysis of the current political climate.

“At the root of everything is fear,” he explained. “Fear of not having a job, of not being able to send your kids to college… and that leads to resentment, resentment leads to distrust, and distrust leads to anger. And that is one of the forces at play that I think is very debilitating.”

As an antidote, Bishop said he is advocating passion; people in politics “who think we can do better.” As for how the U.S. gets to a place where passion overcomes anger, “It’s hard,” he added. “But it’s important for people to say: this isn’t the country we had in mind.”