Incumbent Michael Grimm faced off against his challenger Domenic Recchia in a debate before a crowded audience at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center. The audience was interested and spirited, and they peppered both candidates with questions that ranged from relevant to inappropriate.
Anyone attending the event realized that the candidates are locked in a close contest for the right to represent the people from this district that covers Staten Island and a portion of South Brooklyn including Bay Ridge. The attendees voiced concern over government services, education, national security and immigration.
Mr. Recchia questioned the incumbent congressmember’s ability to serve the people of the district while defending himself at trial on a 20-count federal criminal indictment for fraud and tax evasion. Mr. Grimm dismissively ended conversation on that subject by stating Mr. Recchia’s entire campaign is based on the arrest and indictment. Most reasonable voters would consider the criminal prosecution to be of some significance despite Mr. Grimm’s less than reassuring comment. How should the voters decide between the two gentlemen?
Mr. Grimm is a dashing bachelor who has made some sensational headlines for events and comments made during his career as an FBI agent, energy company owner, restaurateur and elected official.
Mr. Recchia has received scant attention to his private life. He has worked as an attorney and with his wife, who is an educator, provided a home for his three daughters.
He distinguished himself by providing services and assistance for the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn in the aftermath of SuperStorm Sandy as the chairperson of the Finance Committee in the City Council. He spearheaded the revitalization of Coney Island when the rest of the city had written off this once renowned summer seaside resort area.
He knows from experience how hard it is to raise a family properly in an urban setting nowadays. He has always prioritized the needs of the working families and middle class citizens that he represented.
Mr. Grimm has been an entrepreneur and has had adventures. The criminal charges he faces stem from his alleged illegal conduct concerning tax reporting and fraud from his ownership of an organic food restaurant in Manhattan. He stood with his Republican majority and initially blocked federal aid for SuperStorm Sandy victims. He is opposed to sensible immigration reform.
He claims his opponent’s campaign is nothing more than a repetition of the fact that he has been accused of crimes; however, all he has done is accuse Mr. Recchia of raising citizen’s taxes and being a puppet of Mayor de Blasio, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi.
He seizes on catch words and associates his opponent with lightning rod personalities for members of the Tea Party. This has nothing to do with issues. If Mr. Recchia has a better relationship with the White House and City Hall, then Mr. Grimm should not bring attention to that fact.
Looking at current Republican war-mongering that is going on, perhaps we need a level-headed and rational representative in Congress just to balance out the GOP which is willing to be used and played by the conservative right wing and corporate America, which has not seen a war it did not like.
Speaker John Boehner has adopted the “boots on the ground” language of military hawks when talking about our response to ISIS terrorism in the Middle East. If we must occupy Syria and Iraq, then let’s not adopt a cute label like “boots on the ground.”
It would be more honest to break down the trillions it will cost the U. S. Treasury, and the people should receive an accurate calculation of the number of lives that will be lost and the number of American young people who will be grievously wounded.
President Obama has marshaled world support and adopted an effective campaign against ISIS. It is no surprise that the GOP and Mr. Grimm don’t want to give it a chance to succeed.