WRVO News interviews candidates in the region who are running in contended races on November 6. Republican incumbent Congressman Richard Hanna is running against Democrat Dan Lamb in the re-drawn 22nd Congressional district
WRVO's Catherine Loper spoke with first-term congressman Hanna, who has fashioned himself as a centrist in a increasingly divided Congress. They spoke about the economic fiscal cliff the country is facing after the election, fracking and more. The 22nd district covers an area including the eastern half of Oswego County south through Binghamton.
Catherine Loper: Congressman Hanna, let me start out by asking how your campaign's going and what you think the most important thing is you need to impart to the voters so that they'll re-elect you?
Richard Hanna: Well we- one of the great things about being in office for two years is you have a record and I encourage people to look at our record to see what they think about it. I believe it's a well-balanced performance and representation. We are- I am one of the two members of Congress, every time I take a vote, I stay late at night sometimes and I write down an explanation for that vote.
Obviously there's the fiscal cliff coming- which has gotten a lot of press. What do you think? First of all do you think that can be avoided? President Obama said in the debate that it wasn't going to happen. And what would be your recipe for making sure we don't fall off that fiscal cliff?
Well, we need- it was never supposed to take place in sequestration. Clearly, the Bush tax cuts are going to be something that's going to be talked about. I'm one of the few members that's always said, even two years ago, that part of the solution for this is going to [be] raising taxes for some people. It's impossible at the rate of growth that we have to imagine anything else. I think sequestration- that somehow they'll manage to put it off and hopefully come to some solution in the next few months.
Do you think Washington is too divided and not practical enough?
Well, practical enough? They're not as solution driven, and there's a lot of idea logs. You know the guy I'm running against, Mr. Lamb, is an extreme left guy. I understand his position, but you can't be against gas, the Keystone pipeline, coal, in favor of cap and trade, and live in a community- the Northeast, we spend 25 percent of the country's heating oil here. We already have the highest energy cost in the country or among them. How does that make him a good representative of the middle class? I haven't come out in favor of fracking. I think the science should decide. It shouldn't be a political decision; certainly no one wants to hurt ground water in any way.
What would you like to tell voters who are making up their mind before they head to the polls on election Day?
That I view myself as a good listener. I care about my community. I understand the economy; I built a business here. I've had hundreds of employees. I'm a guy who came from nothing. I put myself through college, did well, worked hard, understand what it means to be personally responsible for the outcomes of my life. Accepted that and made good choices and I'm trying everyday in Congress to make good choices so their kids and my kids could do the same. It's just that simple. And you know what else? It isn't treason to be thoughtful and cross the aisle and find solutions. Compromise is not treason. It was never intended to be thought of that way and I certainly don't think of it that way, but it's tough sometimes being in a place where some people- not the majority- but some people on the extremes view it that way.