Tomorrow is Congressional primary day in New York. In the newly redrawn 22nd district, which runs from the Mohawk Valley, south through Cortland to Binghamton, Republican incumbent Richard Hanna is running for re-election. He's facing a primary opponent, fellow Republican Michael Kicinski.
WRVO's Catherine Loper spoke to Kicinski about the race:
Mr. Kicinski, what made you decide to enter this primary race to run against the incumbent, Richard Hanna?
“Well, in the 2010 elections we campaigned and supported Richard Hanna because of the campaign promises that he gave us. He criticized incumbent democrat [Michael] Arcuri for taxing and spending and voting for increasing our debt limit. We expected Richard Hanna to not vote for these spending bills and it turns out his voting record has shown he’s voted for every spending bill and every increase in our debt limit. In fact, he’s voted for three increases in our debt limit and it is now at $16.4 trillion. We cannot go on like this. He criticized incumbent Arcuri for saddling our children and our grandchildren with a debt they could never repay. He is doing the same. This has to stop."
In addition to the issues of the debt ceiling and the deficit, how would you generally sum up your campaign platform?
“I am one of the few that has pledged that I will vote against any increase in our debt limit. We can’t keep on borrowing. We have to have a balanced budget. In fact, we have to have a practical balanced budget, one that will balance in five to seven years. Not a 20 to 30 year balanced budget that is being supported by most of the House of Representatives right now. Right now, we don’t even have a budget. Congress has not given us a budget in over 1,100 days. They have just been continuing to pass continuing resolutions and additional spending bills. We have to have that balanced budget. We have to have a practical balanced budget."
What kind of federal spending cuts do you think need to be made in an effort to reduce the deficit?
“First of all there is a lot of waste and abuse of the system and those are the first things we have to take a look at. We can’t have new taxes and new programs. Those are the first things we have to look at. We need to have real budget cuts, also. Right now, what Congress has been doing is proposing a budget and then saying they have created budget cuts. But they are artificial budget cuts. For an example they might propose a budget that would be a $1 million increase and instead of the $1 million increase they would make it a $500,000 increase and call it a ‘budget cut.’ We have to have real budget cuts."
What is your position on taxes? Do you think federal taxes need to be reduced or not because of the deficit situation?
“Yes. We should see a reduction in federal taxes. What we see right now is people are being taxed at the federal level, the money is going to the federal government, and then sent back to the states under mandates and restrictions. So some money is already taken away to the federal government and we are getting less money back to the states. If we reduce our federal taxes so that money is not paid to the federal government and kept in the states we will see a better use of our money within the states, a more efficient use of our money, and our federal taxes will be lower."
What do you think can be done on a Congressional level to help the struggling economy in central New York and all across the nation?
“Well, we have already discussed a major issue and that is a federal budget. We don’t see business confidence right now because of so many unknowns and a lot of that is because of the lack of a federal budget. We have to see a reducing or eliminating of federal mandates and regulations that is restricting business growth and new job creation."
As a Republican, how do you balance the need for spending cuts and reducing the deficit and the debt with the desire for constituents to get some federal dollars to this area that has been struggling so with the economy?
“Well, let’s go back to the fact that we are paying high federal taxes and trying to get federal money back in to the states. Why are we paying the money from our states into the federal government just to get it back? We want to keep the money in the states, reduce the federal taxes, eliminate that need to send that money to the federal government only to have it sent back to the states, and we will have more money and a more efficient way of using our money within the states."
If you do win this primary against Congressman Hanna, what would you do to beat the Democrat that is running in this race?
“Basically we will be continuing the campaign in the same manner. The people want to see the federal government put its own house in order. Since we don’t have that balanced budget, since we keep borrowing money, the people aren’t confident with what the future looks like. Right now we’ve been targeting Republicans only because it is a Republican primary but we will open up that same campaign to all the people and they will see very clearly the difference between the Democrat who is running and me, because right now Richard Hanna has voted very close to what the Democrats have been voting. And the practical solution for all this is to put the practical budget in place with a practical, balanced budget to be paid of in a short amount of time -- five to seven years -- and that will instill the confidence in business and the people for a promising future for the federal government and our states. We should see then the confidence with our business for business expansion and job growth. And we hope all to see manufacturing return to the Unites States.”