By STEPHEN KEEFE
We have a very important election this year and I feel obligated to share information with you prior to the election.
I have had the opportunity to meet all three candidates who campaigned in the Democratic Primary for our new congressional seat. All three candidates had great credentials, education, experience and social skills. I gave my endorsement to Nate Shinagawa because of the manner in which he embraced the issues that are most important to me: affordable health care, quality education and the ability for workers to earn a living wage.
In a small article in the OBSERVER I saw that Congressman Tom Reed had scheduled a Town Hall Meeting at the Fredonia Village Hall on a Saturday morning. I attended the meeting, introduced myself, and welcomed Congressman Reed to the village of Fredonia. Congressman Reed introduced himself to the group of about eight as "a Tea Party Candidate." This Tea Party Candidate is under contract with Grover Norquist and Grover Norquist controls his votes.
Congressman Reed's aide handed out literature that stated Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are entitlements that need to be repealed. Congressman Reed also pointed out that fewer restrictions need to be placed on hydraulic gas fracking in order for New York state to be more competitive.
A question was asked about taxes. Congressman Reed stated that he would not raise taxes on anyone. Someone asked about raising taxes on the top 1 percent. His answer was, "I don't see how raising the taxes for us will help anything." I asked, "Are you a member of the 1 percent?" He stuttered a bit and said, "No, I mean all of us." When I left Congressman Reed was still talking with people upstairs. I waited for him at the Farmer's Market in front of the village hall. My intention was to introduce him to our local farmers and community. He exited through the side door instead.
I have followed Congressman Reed's voting record in the OBSERVER and found him generally in opposition with Congressman Higgins. He has voted against conserving the environment, veteran benefits and against our senior's interest by voting to privatize Medicare. He intentionally ignored a jobs bill, the Farm Bill, and gets in the way of women's private medical decisions.
Recently I was appalled by the fact that Congressman Reed, after agreeing to participate in the debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters in Chautauqua County, backed out. In addition to this the OBSERVER reported that Congressman Reed is in support of purchasing electricity from government subsidized plants in Canada while our local NRG is laying off workers and reducing electric production.
Nate Shinagawa, on the other hand, has been actively involved with the issues that are important to Chautauqua County. He is open and approachable. A conversation with Mr. Shinagawa is full of optimism, and gives me hope for a government that works for the people of this district. I recommend that everyone take the time to get to know Mr. Shinagawa. He has earned my support and vote, and I hope he can count on you also.
Stephen Keefe is mayor of the village of Fredonia.