Tag Archives: Rep. Christopher Lee

Massa, Lee Sworn in

7 Jan

Congratulations and best of luck to Congressmen Chris Lee (NY-26) and Eric Massa (NY-29). Both are newbz, and both were sworn in yesterday.

I hope they both remember each day to work hard for their constituents, so that Western New York might begin to reverse its decades-long slide.

Local Election Predictions

4 Nov

Normally, I would have made an endorsement post like I have for the previous three years, but there are few local candidates to whom I would give an endorsement.  So, I just skipped it.  I figured it would be more interesting to make some predictions on election eve…but only for the races I’m interested in.  It’s my blog and that’s how I roll.

When it comes to winning elections, there are four things a candidate needs to do to win a race.

1.)  Define yourself

2.)  Define your opponent

3.)  Define the stakes

4.)  Raise a fuckload of money

Who has done the best job accomplishing these four things in their respective race?

Let’s start with the local Congressional races…

Projected Winner:  NY-26 Christopher Lee (R)

The DCCC has dumped nearly $2MM into this race and I am still trying to figure out why they bothered.  Alice Kryzan is going to get smoked in this district, it’s not even gonna be close.  While Chris Lee has nothing in his past which would indicate even a shred of credibility as a candidate (aside from winning membership in the lucky sperm club), Alice Kryzan is exactly the kind of candidate that can’t win in a rural/new money Republican district.  Lee’s money advantage and his enrollment advantage in the district make it simple for him to simply play defense and win.  Kryzan was defined early as a traditional liberal trial attorney who wants to raise taxes, take away your Doctor and help fix the environment.  Not winning issues in this district.

For all of Jon Powers flaws, he was the one Democrat who could win this district.  He had crossover appeal as a vet and former Republican.  It was easy to project McCain/Powers voters in the hinterlands of this district, but very few McCain/Kryzan voters.  Unfortunately, this seat goes to a douche like Lee by default.  He’ll take the the GLOW counties 70-30 and Erie/Monroe County 52-48 based on heavy Obama turnout which will give a slight boost to Kryzan and arm people with false hope as the early returns trickle in.

Projected Winner NY-27:  Brian Higgins (D)

Brian Higgins has turned out to be a pretty damn good Congressman, eh?  He is in tune with his district on local issues and is a leader for progress on the waterfront.  He has also exercised independence from the party on national security, war funding and ethics reform.

Dan Humiston appears to be a guy who felt like wasting a couple hundred grand on a Congressional run to help market his company.  There is no explanation for his half-assed campaign and he has done absolutely nothing to define himself, his opponent, or the race.  His slogan is “It’s Time”.  What the fuck is that supposed to mean?  Ya know what, “it’s time” for Higgins to win by a landslide, I’ll go with 80-20 as heavy Obama turnout bumps up Higgins numbers.

State Senate Races:

SD-58:  Bill Stachowski (D)

Whoa!  Someone woke Bill Stachowski up.  After 30 years of simply being present, the Chauncey Gardner of local state politicians woke up in August to find he had an actual race on his hands.  Stachowski is the most unexciting of our local state delegation and has little to show for thirty years of unfettered incumbency.

Enter bejoweled sideshow Dennis Delano.  The Buffalo cop did a good job early of defining himself and raising money but he didn’t do enough work on defining his opponent as a do nothing boil on the ass of the WNY political scene.  Delano didn’t do that because in so doing he would have exposed himself to be less than literate on the issues and also exposed himself to criticism from the local Dem machine.  He had hoped to get enough of an early lead to play defense, but it hasn’t worked.  Heavy turnout for Obama in the heavily Democratic 58th will swamp Delano and ensure that Stachowski can go back to his regular schedule of naps and ignoring problems.

SD-59:  Dale Volker (R)

Yes, the epitome of everything that is wrong with Albany will be sent back for yet another term of spending $1MM on staff and thumbing his nose at responsible, ethical government.  What a dick.

Early on, Kathy Konst couldn’t seem to decide between running for Congress in the 26th or taking Golisano’s money to run in SD-59.  She got off to a lousy start and Volker had a tough primary battle on his hands.  Konst should have used that time to better define herself with a solid ground game, biographical mailers and some limited media buys in the far reaches of the district.  For some reason, she didn’t get her house in order.  After his primary win, Volker immediately went for the jugular and defined Kathy as a quasi-felon for voting chicanery and exposed her husband to be the worst businessman this side of Ken Lay.  Her seeming lack of answers and slowfooted response to Volker’s charges absolutely destroyed her.  She has gotten her shit together in recent weeks, but it’s too late in the game for a candidate with a short budget.  Golisano didn’t seem to come through with the money needed to win and now she’s damaged.  ‘Tis a shame, she would have been a phenomenal state senator.  Let’s hope she recovers and can seek another office in the future.

SD-61:  Joe Mesi (D)

Would I tell Joe Mesi he was unqualified to serve in the State Senate?  Would I tell him that I think he’s not smart enough for the job?  Would I tell him to his face that he is one of the least qualified candidates to ever run for political office in WNY?  Not a chance, he’d punch my face in.  So, I’ll predict that most voters in SD-61 will be intimidated by Mesi showing up at their house to deliver a ferocious beatdown if he finds out they voted for a joke like Mike Ranzenhofer rather than him.

There are no winners in this election, especially those who will be represented by either one of the laziest and most uninspired county legislators in recent history or a guy who until last year made a living by getting punched in the mouth.  Democratic turnout in this district should be strong, especially in Mesi’s stronghold of Tonawanda and I think it’ll be enough for him to eke out a win.  Ranzenhofer did a poor job of defining himself since he has 20 years of doing pretty much nothing as a legislator.  What a FAILboat of an election.

The rest of the races were over after the primaries due to gerrymandering or I just don’t care.

As my friend DJ Lance Rock would say…

DCCC’s New Last-Minute Radio Ad for Kryzan

3 Nov

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HT Americablog

Chris Lee – Accessibility Personified

2 Nov

Evidently, any media outlet that may have the unmitigated gall and audacity to write negative things about Chris Lee, Republican candidate for Congress from NY-26 will be shut out and any media requests will be continually and perpetually denied.

That’s accessibility you can believe in.

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Kryzan vs. Lee on Hardwick

2 Nov

12:00: Kryzan says it comes down to the future – we have serious issues in the country and district, and she wants to work for change to the status quo. If you think the last 8 years have been good, then vote Lee. If you want a better future, and new ideas, then vote Kryzan.

What should the election come down to on Tuesday? Lee: people are frustrated with Congress, and they want someone who will be a steward of their tax dollars, and he’s run businesses, so knows what it’s like to create a job and to run a business. People in Congress didn’t understand, and only 18 people in Congress have an MBA (as does George W. Bush).

Lee says “she’s changed her tax views”, and Kryzan is hitting back. Lee brings up the fact that Enidine employees took out an ad in the News, which is way beside the point. Kryzan doesn’t understand how pledging to lower taxes on 95% of people in the district equals a tax increase. She was going to go to a Halloween parade dressed as the scary Alice Kryzan in Lee’s ads, but it would have scared the children.

Kryzan says neither of them control what the national party puts out as ads, and she didn’t and wouldn’t have put ads out like the DCCC’s. But Lee has put out his own ads that are lies about Kryzan’s record, and she has done no such thing. Lee has sent out a fundraising letter pledging to “raise taxes” on every family in Western New York. She’s running on platform of helping hard-working families in the district, green jobs, and ending the war. She has tried to be issue-oriented in the campaign.

Lee complains that Kryzan would never accept special interest money, but she has. He is offended by shots taken at his “family” and his business, and his patriotism. They never exported a job to China. They employed people in China to sell product into China. The only way a US manufacturer could compete in China is to do that. He also complains that he was never fined anything for selling secrets to China. It had to do with the company that acquired his. Lee claims this race should be about the issues; jobs and taxes. He has created jobs in the community, and when asked to disavow any ads against Kryzan, he doesn’t.

Hardwick doesn’t like the tenor of this race, and asks the candidates about them.

11:45: On race relations, Kryzan mentions that she worked long ago to end racial discrimination in Chicago. Obama’s election will be a giant step forward. Lee says there is a lot more to be done, and our own inner city in Buffalo is struggling with extremely high unemployment rates, and the high school graduation rate is too low. The federal government can try and get more community involvement to eliminate racial discrimination.

On higher education, Lee doesn’t want the federal government to be too involved, and grants & loans need to be expanded. Kryzan would not re-authorize No Child Left Behind, and she is in favor of local control of schools and we need to encourage people to send their kids to college and make the road easier through tax policy and Pell Grants.

Kryzan thinks we need to look at trade policies, and they need to be reexamined and renegotiated to place us on a level playing field. We’re the only free trading country that free trades. Lee says free trade has to be fair, and China, e.g., keeps its currency artificially devalued.

Lee is against the Employee Free Choice Act. Kryzan is in favor of it.

11:30: The “hotbutton” questions:

1. Gun laws: Kryzan is for reasonable gun control legislation such as the Brady Law. Lee is for anyone to have whatever gun they want, anytime. “There are so many laws on the books now, but we don’t have judges that enforce the laws” – pablum with know meaning.

2. Abortion: Lee is against Medicaid funding for abortions. Kryzan is for full reproductive health care services.

3. Minimum wage: Kryzan says it needs to track the cost of living. Lee is against raising the minimum wage, and it doesn’t matter anyway, because most of them are part-time helping small businesses.

4. Fairness doctrine: Lee is against it, and is against the regulation of private business. Kryzan says private business leases public airwaves, and it’s a public resource, but a fairness doctrine would be misdirected.

5: Family Leave Act: Kryzan says if we want to walk the walk about supporting families and family values, then government should wake up and do it. Paid family leave needs to be looked at in the greater context. Lee says that 80% of jobs created in the country are by small business, and family leave is “ok for a hardship”, but wouldn’t go for mandating paid leave.

11:15: On health care, Kryzan believes it should be a right for Americans to have accessible health care, and we’re the only industrialized country that has so many uninsured. She says the government should offer some sort of free-market insurance program that is “the best program out there” and guarantees portability, insurability, and affordability. Lee says we need to make health care more affordable. He says his “approach is different” and shouldn’t involve a big government program. (Which is interesting, because no one suggested that). On McCain’s $5,000 tax credit – which is about 50% or less of the cost of a health insurance plan – he brings up tort reform and “frivolous law suits”, and it needs to happen on the state and federal level, according to Lee. Kryzan hits on Lee, who said he wants to see “more people covered”, and asks rhetorically whom Lee doesn’t want to see covered. Kryzan is more concerned about people who can’t get health insurance, rather than doctors who have trouble buying malpractice insurance. If we didn’t spend $12 billion per month in Iraq, we could afford a great health care program.

Lee says we ought to ship illegals back to where they came from. He wants to round them up and deport, but does make some mouth-noises about a guest worker program, without calling it that. They both recognize the difference between the southern and northern border. Kryzan suggests reformation of the process, which costs too much and is uneffective. As for illegals who are already here, we can’t just ship them back because it would a logistical and financial nightmare. We need to be pragmatic, and examine a pathway to citizenship that includes some form of hurdle for them to hop before they can legalize their status.

11:00: In an answer on Social Security, Lee talks about creating jobs – especially manufacturing jobs. He says he doesn’t have the answers as to how to fix Social Security, but we need a bipartisan solution. Kryzan talks about raising the ceiling of SS contributions, which is now set at around $100k, and it’s regressive now and we need to take a look at what’s fair. Kryzan gives a specific response – Lee talks in generalities that are somewhat beside the point.

On agricultural subsidies, Lee talks about farmers being the backbone of the district, and they’ve been hit by labor and energy problems. He avoids the question, and Hardwick presses. He says farmers aren’t “taking advantage of the system”. Kryzan is a member of the Wyoming County Farm Bureau, and she knows what the concerns are. Farmers want to see fair regulation that works for them, and they are most often talking about health care, and the availability of labor in the district. Cutting costs and maintaining labor are their biggest problems. She also punts on subsidies, but they’ll talk health care and immigration after the break.

10:50: I’ll say one thing for Kryzan that Powers didn’t really do during the primaries: she is not letting her opponent get away with even an ounce of bullshit. She’s having none of his class warfare “redistribution of wealth” nonsense Lee is peddling, and she’s hitting him hard on not doing anything out in the community and not really being particularly accessible to the press or the voters in the district. She’s getting some great shots in, and Lee’s on bigtime defense right now.

If it’s Sunday, it’s Hardline with Kevin Hardwick

1 Nov

This Sunday is the big NY-26 debate between Republican Chris Lee (who really seems to be deliberately ignorant of the rules regarding Alice Kryzan’s inability to coordinate with the DCCC and vice-versa) and Alice Kryzan, whose name evidently will not be on the WFP, according to a federal ruling overturning the Appellate Division’s overturning of the NYS Supreme Court’s decision requiring Jon Powers’ name to stay on the line.

Let me be perfectly crystal clear on this: the Republicans and the Lee campaign are the ones pushing to ensure that Kryzan’s name not replace Powers’ on the WFP line.

Lee? Who was all to happy cynically to go along with the Independence Party’s sheer, transparent idiocy with respect to its own party line. Kenmore attorney (and Tony Orsini’s Godson) Anthony Fumerelle acted as a placeholder on the IP line, which ultimately went to Lee when Fumerelle “decided” to run for Supreme Court justice. Locally for Fricano’s seat? No, of course not! Logically, he’s running for a seat 460 miles away in the County of Queens. Yet Kryzan can’t get her name on the fricking WFP line because the person on that line moved out of state and withdrew from the race? Yeah, that’s fair. Fusion is bullshit, we all know. But Domagalski and Lee are hypocrites of the highest sort by blocking Kryzan from appearing on the WFP line.

Anyhow, Lee will explain, no doubt, how an unemployed scion of a family that built a successful business will implement more Bush-era policies to turn everything around from the disaster that has been the Bush era. Kryzan will explain, no doubt, how she will go to Congress to work with the Obama administration to move the country forward and reform health care, taxation, get us out of Iraq, and move us towards energy independence with a mixture of conservation, exploration, and investment in new, sustainable technologies.

UPDATE: Looks like Lee’s way of doing business was, at least once, to commit fraud.

Congressional candidate Chris Lee acknowledged Friday that he was fired from Ingram Micro years ago because he “made a mistake.” Sources familiar with the mistake say he hacked into a company computer for personal gain.

Lee was a young salesman with Ingram Micro, a computer products distributor that in 1989 was known as Ingram Micro D and operated from offices on Elmwood Avenue.

Lee, according to his co-workers at the time, somehow obtained a company credit manager’s password. Then, with that password, he raised the credit limits for some of his customers and the customers of other sales people, the employees said.

That way Lee could sell the customers more of the company’s products, on credit, before the billing system would flag their accounts for payment and halt further purchases.

It might have helped with sales, but it also put the company at greater risk if those customers failed to pay. A few others knew of the scheme, according to one of the former employees, who asked to remain unidentified fearing retaliation from Lee or Republican Party forces.

“This unauthorized raising of the credit lines allowed Chris and his cohorts to make sales to their customers in excess of Ingram-approved credit lines,” a former employee said, “thus putting Ingram at risk of customer default.”

Two people were fired, Lee among them. Others were reprimanded, the former employees said.

WBEN AM-930 from 10am – 12pm.

Lee vs. Kryzan

28 Oct

I fondly recall Jack Davis debating Tom Reynolds at this very event two years ago, and if it was anything, it was lively. You had the Washington veteran, with his sense of entitlement and privilege, and you had the curmudgeonly industrialist, with his sense of rage and moral rectitude. They had no problem going after each other, and the crowd loved every minute of it.

Last night’s Lee vs. Kryzan debate was pretty staid, which is to say boring. They never really took each other on in any meaningful way, and instead concentrated on their policy differences – substantive, but hardly exciting. A few things stood out, however.

Kryzan rebutted the charges that she’s going to raise taxes, and she took on the notion that she’s some kind of big-government big-taxer. She’s for efficient government, which was a winning point that Lee never made.

I think Lee has potential, but he seemed nervous and a bit shaky, and he occasionally contradicts himself on issues.

For instance, he advocated for drilling offshore, but then criticized Kryzan’s desire to expand green energy production by saying it would take many years. Well, so would drilling, so what’s the point there?

“Drill baby Drill” is like telling a heroin addict that he needs to find new sources of heroin, rather than coming up with ways to kick the habit. Kryzan’s position is right because if we can find a different way to generate energy and power our transportation needs, then drilling offshore becomes moot.

Lee also tried to make a bold statement by looking at Kryzan and rebutting the charges made in DCCC ads about the sale of his company to ITT. The point in the ad is that the sale of the Lee family company to ITT took place after ITT had been caught and fined selling military secrets. This is a fact. He can claim that Enidine/IMC never sold a secret to China, but the company he sold Enidine to did. Reach your own conclusion as to what, if anything, that means.

But the larger point is that Kryzan didn’t put out those ads. The DCCC did. Kryzan herself hasn’t paid for or “approved this message” of any negative ads attacking Lee, while he trots out the “liberal trial lawyer” nonsense. His ads are pretty dumb, and I think voters are somewhat numb to attacks that are such – cliches. At one point, Kryzan slipped and said “25th” when she meant “26th” district. A dopey misstatement, but a misstatement nonetheless, and I have no doubt that the Republicans will try to make some hay with it about Kryzan not knowing what district she’s running in. Whatever.

But turning back to the issues, they were both predictable. Kryzan’s positions are very similar to those of Barack Obama, while Lee’s are very similar to those of John McCain. On healthcare, on taxation – they’re almost identical.

At its heart, this year is a change election. Change is coming to NY-26 either way, because Tom Reynolds is done. The question now is whether you want the sort of change that Barack Obama is bringing, or whether you go along with the McCain brand of change. Personally, I think we’ve had quite enough of Republican ideology and theorizing, and it hasn’t done the country a whole lot of good.

Tweeting the Clarence Candidates’ Forum

27 Oct



Kryzan Doesn’t Get WFP Line

27 Oct

The campaign’s press release:

Today, the New York State Supreme Court ruled in favor of Christopher Lee’s effort to keep Alice Kryzan from appearing on the Working Family Party line.

Anne Wadsworth, Sr Campaign Advisor said: “This is nothing more than the Republican machine’s attempt to make a mockery of the Democratic process. Jon Powers is not a candidate for Congress, he does not live in the state of New York and therefore by state law is ineligible to appear on the ballot. Clearly Republicans are struggling to come up with a winning message and are therefore playing Karl Rove-like antics in an attempt to steal the election. Alice got into this campaign because she believes that with new leadership we can bring jobs and prosperity back to Western New York. Republicans can play all the political games and use all the smear tactics they want, but we are confident that come November 4th Western New York will see through the mud and elect Alice Kryzan because she represents the positive change we need with integrity and independence.”

You mean someone opposed it?

If it’s Sunday, it’s Hardline with Kevin Hardwick

24 Oct

This Sunday is the big Kryzan-Lee debate.

Next Sunday is the big debate, although Kryzan will be on solo from 11 – 11:30. WBEN on Sunday from 10am – 12pm: AM-930 and wben.com.