Monday, August 28, 2006


Name that district...

For the past few weeks, Sue Kelly's campaign site has had this interesting tagline:

Kelly, Sue for Congress (NY - 25)
The official website of the Sue Kelly for Congress campaign. - 22k - Cached - Similar pages

The problem, of course, is that Sue is running in NY-19. Hence the name Take19. Maybe Sue forgot or maybe one of her lackeys just isn't good at paying attention to detail. Still, if you're running for Congress, and spent all of that time and money sprucing up your website, this seems like the type of detail that you'd expect Sue to get right. After all, she claims to have represented this district since 1995.

After all, if she can't be trusted with the small stuff, how can the voters of the 19th trust her on the big things, like say, reforming the health insurance mess?

Friday, August 25, 2006


There she goes again...

While we're pretty used to Sue Kelly taking credit for all sorts of things she barely has anything to do with, this item which currently leads her campaign website really sinks to a new low. Why? You don't need to look much further than the headline:

"Kelly Bill to Protect Children from Online Predators Passes House"

Sounds pretty terrific, huh? Exactly the type of legislation you'd expect a mom and a grandmother like Kelly to fight hard on. The only problem is that it isn't exactly a Kelly bill. She was one of 39 co-sponsors, which hardly gives her the right to take full credit, as if she single-handedly shepherded the legislation. Indeed, one wonders what the actual sponsor of the legislation, Michael Fitzpatrick would think about Kelly stealing the credit he took last month.

We'll also note that the legislation passed by a vote of 410-15, so Kelly wasn't exactly tackling a controversial subject. That fact was also conveniently missing from Kelly's site.

As the campaign heats up, we expect Kelly's finely oiled PR machine -- led by Jay Townsend, a former staffer for Pat Buchanan -- to really kick into high gear. But the voters in the 19th deserve more than Townsend's smoke and mirrors. Being one of 39 co-sponsors does not make it Kelly's bill. Not even close!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Sue Kelly's SBA Drowns Small Business!

We're glad to see that Sue is spending her time trotting around the district with the new head of the Small Business Administration. But we wonder if she took time to ask Steven Preston about the SBA's poor record of providing low cost funding to small businesses in general – and to those impacted by Katrina in particular.

With the one-year anniversary of Katrina days away, various reports show how federal dollars never reached those in need. The failure of the SBA to do its part - and the resounding silence of Sue Kelly, a member of the Small Business Subcommittee who never seems to stop talking about her small business roots, was made even more apparent in the report (PDF) released by the Democratic members of this subcommittee. Too bad that Sue seems oblivious to all of this.

We’ve noted Sue’s failure to address the real issues confronting small business many times, including here and here. So while Sue trotting around Port Jervis is a nice touch, it's only another photo-op for our Congresswoman who loves to look like she's doing something, even when she's doing nothing.

Monday, August 21, 2006


This is Sue on the job...

More than a year ago, a Take19er sent a letter to Sue Kelly expressing concern over the events in Darfur. After all, Sue claims to care deeply about women and children, which happens to be the overwhelming majority of those impacted by the crisis. In the letter, Sue gave her usual non-response response and assured the constituent that she "would continue to monitor the situation and investigate methods of relief the U.S. could provide."

Fast forward more than a year and a newly released scorecard shows just how closely Sue has been monitoring the situation: not at all. According to Darfur Scorecard Sue received the failing grade of D because she voted against such things as providing $50 million in humanitarian aid, even though the legislation was co-sponsored by fellow Republican Henry Hyde.

Maybe if those poor people in Darfur had some big fat checks -- the type Sue routinely pockets from PACs as detailed in this article -- they'd get more than platitudes from Sue. Of course, that still doesn't explain why Sue routinely promises her constituents that she is doing something, when in fact, she does virtually nothing.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Sue walks on by...

We couldn't help but hum a few bars of “Walk On By” after reading about Sue's recent visit to Warwick. Though according to the Record, Sue was in town to seek "input on various issues affecting Warwick small businesses", Sue walked right past a bookstore that will soon close its doors. Wouldn't you think that someone who claims to be a "leading advocate" in Congress for small business owners, would take five minutes to find out why The Bookstore was closing after eight years?

Of course, as we already noted last month, Sue doesn't really care about small businesses. She just cares about looking as if she cares. On June 27, the House voted to add $40 million to the Small Business Administration to replace some of the money that the Bush administration has cut from the SBA. Though the measure was approved by a close vote of 214 to 207 as a result of 17 Republicans crossing party lines, Sue showed yet again that when push comes to shove, she's not the moderate that she claims to be.

They say a picture tells a thousand words. Sue saw the problems facing one small business owner in Warwick and instead of offering to help, or even just listen, she just walked on by.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Just click your heels three times...

It's beginning to look a lot like Kansas, here in NY-19. Not just because of Sue's radical positions on various social issues, but because Sue's folks seem to think that if they continue to click their heels and keep repeating the words "Moderate" and "independent" people will actually believe them.

The latest evidence comes from this story that ran today on Fox News' site. Kelly's newly appointed soundbiter, Jay Townsend, who last pitched in on Kelly's campaign in 2000, managed to use the words independent and moderate in the same quote. least Townsend knows how to stay on message! There's also Sue's new TV ads which mention the word "independent voice" over and over again. And her new site which never mentions that she's a Republican.

Just keep clicking your heels, Sue!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Sue Overlooked Her Oversight

Sue Kelly often espouses a true affinity to small business people - claiming to have been one herself in a former life. But, as we’ve pointed out before, she can’t be trusted to watch out for small business, even though her position on the House Small Business Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight, puts her in the position to actually do something to protect shopkeepers, small manufacturers and service providers in our district – by making sure that the Small Business Administration (SBA) does its job. Her subcommittee’s job is “oversight and investigative authority over the regulatory and paperwork policies of all Federal departments and agencies.”

Not surprisingly, recent reports show that Sue has been asleep at the wheel.

For example, by law, at least 23% of federal contracting money should be awarded to small businesses, but a research study has found that nearly $5 billion of contracts went to 13 of the largest government contractors – Microsoft, Wall-Mart, Lockheed-Martin, Exxon Mobil, Northrup Grumman – each one a struggling mom and pop shop that needs the protection of Federal legislation. If those major corporations are taken out of the list, the 23% minimum is not met. This pattern of abuse has happened on a yearly basis during the Bush/Cheney years. The SBA money goes to big business for a variety of reasons related to incompetence and fraud, but the primary responsibility rests on the Small Business Administration (SBA), which is helping carry out the Bush/Cheney Administration’s preference for the large, well-connected corporations.

So Bush/Cheney is using the SBA to rob small business on behalf of big business.

And Sue Kelly, who is in charge of making sure SBA does what it is supposed to do – help small business – has been at best oblivious, or at worst, complicit in this.

Fortunately someone in New York is watching out for small business. Rep. Nadia Velazquez, Democrat of New York, is also on the Small Business Committee and is asking the GAO, as well as watchdogs at State, Treasury, Defense and Transportation, to investigate. She is also contacting about 2,500 big companies, asking them to remove their names from the SBA’s list of approved small businesses. Rep. Velazaquez, as a member of the minority party doesn’t have the power of subpoena and can’t hold Small Business Subcommittee hearings on this. The Republican “leadership” – i.e., Sue Kelly - have refused to exercise oversight, saying that to hold firms like Exxon Mobil and Microsoft accountable for improperly taking the taxpayer’s money would be “penalizing” a firm for success. Amazingly, Sue Kelly and her Republican co-conspirators believe that the SBA should be patted on the back for taking a risk with these “small businesses”.

People, it is time for a change

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Come Fly With Sue!

In the latest installment of Sue Kelly’s series of press releases on non-events, Sue extols her plans to make Stewart International Airport the next “international reliever airport”. Turns out that, in fantastizing that Stewart could be the “4th” airport for the NY metropolitan area, Sue blithely blows by little details like, uh, location.

If we dig a little deeper, and listen to people who actually know what they are talking about, like the folks at the Port Authority, we find that the “serious discussions at the highest levels” about reliever airports only reference the “possibility” of Stewart. Just a few things seem to doom this idea, things that starry-eyed Ms. Kelly ignores – like, $300 million for an expansion project, $200 million for a rail link (which someone – meaning the taxpayers - has to pay for) – and the fact that the Port Authority’s entire charter would have to be changed, to overcome its existing “25 miles from the Statue of Liberty” area of jurisdiction.

But scariest of all – Sue has visions of transforming Stewart into Orlando. Like she thinks that’s a good thing.

Earth to Sue…..

Monday, August 07, 2006


Why Won't Sue Kelly Support Labor?

The labor movement has been under constant attack from the Republican agenda, thanks in large part to folks like Sue Kelly. You may have heard the ad campaign that touts unions as the people who brought you the weekend and the 40 hour work week. Well, organized labor fights for alot more than that. Aside from legislation that affects them directly, labor also fights hard for laws to benefit and protect every American worker. Laws regarding workplace safety, ergonomic standards, minimum wage increases, affordable health care for all, affordable prescription drugs and other vital subjects have been supported vigorously by labor unions.

There is currently legislation in Congress that would help level the playing field for unions. Titled the Employee Free Choice Act, this bill would allow employees to organize by a simple majority of workers signing authorization cards, provide for mediation and arbitration when an impasse is reached as well as provide workers more protections from employers who punish them for trying to organize. This Act currently has 200 co-sponsors in the House including every single member of New York's congressional delegation, Democrats and Republicans - with one exception, our very own Sue Kelly.

I sent an email to Sue Kelly specifically asking her to join New York Representatives Ackerman, Bishop, Boehlert, Crowley, Engel, Fossella, Higgins, Hinchey, Israel, King, Kuhl, Lowey, Maloney, McCarthy, McHugh, McNulty, Meeks, Nadler, Owens, Rangel, Serrano, Slaughter, Sweeney, Towns, Velasquez, Walsh and Weiner as co-sponsors of this bill. To my surprise, I did receive a response from Sue's people. However, I wasn't surprised at the mealy mouthed wording of the email written by someone obviously has no interest in helping organized labor. Her email mentioned nothing about my request for her to sign on as a co-sponsor and was about as non-committal as can be.

As also evidenced by the way Sue sold out the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Sue Kelly is no friend of organized labor and all Democratic primary candidates in NY-19 would be wise to contact all labor leaders in the district and point this out to them.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Sue and Rudy Sitting in a Tree

Sue says she's an independent voice, not beholden to her Conservative bosses in Washington.

So why does Rudy G., her new best buddy, call her a loyal Republican?

Which is it Sue?

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Sue hits the small screen...

Sue Kelly is running new TV advertisements on Cablevision with the campaign slogan "an independent voice in Congress." Nothing could be further from the truth, and these ads are an exercise in deception. Sue Kelly has voted consistently with the Republican majority and is responsible for supporting the horrific domestic and foreign policies of the Bush administration. She is clearly worried to be advertising this early and in this manner.

This particular ad focuses on her so-called environmental record. In fact, Sue Kelly has a dismal 17% rating by the League of Conservation voters. On her own campaign website, she claims that this is just because of some missed votes (see this post for more details on that excuse), but the fact remains that she voted to allow drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge (at least twice!), to allow mining on Federal lands (HER 4241), and to weaken the Clean Air Act (HER 3893). These were all very close votes in which many Republican "moderates" switched sides, but not Sue Kelly. She voted right along with the Republican majority.

Don't let Sue Kelly fool you with these ads. She is no "independent voice."

Let's take back the 19th!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Thanks to Sue, Working People Held Hostage to Paris Hilton Estate Tax Cut

Sue Kelly and her Republican Leadership had a problem - how to avoid the prospect of unpleasant campaign ads in the fall that compare the pay raise Congress gave itself to its failure to grant the first increase in the minimum wage since 1997?

In a cynical political ploy to deal with that “problem”, while simultaneously serving her “real” constituents - the super-rich - Sue Kelly voted on July 29 to couple minimum wage legislation with a permanent estate tax reduction. The minimum wage legislation would provide a gradual increase in the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour (in 2009) - an average annual benefit of $1200 for an estimated 6.6 million people. The massive reduction in the estate tax would give an average tax break of $1.3 million to a comparatively small number of multi-million dollar estates (about 8,200 estates in 2011), plus other tax “sweeteners” and have a total cost of $309 billion plus interest costs over the first 10 years!

Sue Kelly provided proof positive that her vote to increase the minimum wage was not the result of her sudden realization that it was "the right thing to do", when she voted against a Democratic effort to pass the minimum wage bill as a stand alone bill without the estate tax and other tax cuts.

Additional proof is that the minimum wage “increase” that was passed will actually decrease wages for restaurant workers and other tipped employees because it invalidates state laws providing a minimum wage for those workers. (Whatever happened to States Rights?)

And then there is GOP Rep. Mike Castle who said, in talking about the minimum wage increase “There’s a general agreement among Republicans [opposing the raise] that ‘maybe we don’t like it much, but we need to move forward with it just for political reasons.’”

Raising the minimum wage to a living wage is good for ordinary people, good for business, and good for the economy. Severely reducing the estate tax means a benefit for a few thousand very wealthy, while saddling our children and grandchildren with more debt and with cuts in vital federal programs like Veterans programs, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and unemployment insurance.

Working families shouldn't be blackmailed into mortgaging their future in order to earn a decent wage. Could we please elect a Congress in 2006 that has the people of the United States as their priority? Let's start with the 19th Congressional District.

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