May 18, 2010
Hanna makes rounds in Cortland
Republican tours businesses, farm in bid for congressional seat
Republican Richard Hanna on Monday made his first stop in Cortland this election season as he tries to unseat second-term Democratic Congressman Michael Arcuri.
Hanna visited local businesses, including Suit-Kote Corp. and McNeil Development. He also visited the home of dairy farmer and Homer Town Supervisor Fred Forbes, who has had a sign posted to show his support for Hanna since he ran for the seat in 2008.
“I’m glad you’re running,” Forbes said to Hanna as they sat outside of Forbes’ house on a hill in East Homer.
“I think I have a much better chance this time ... People want character today. They want confidence that you’re doing what you think is right even if they don’t agree with it,” Hanna said.
Hanna said he was impressed with Suit Kote, but added that company officials were very concerned that a law could be passed to allow workers to vote to form a union without a secret ballot. Hanna said he thinks the law could lead workers to pressure other workers to join a union.
Hanna told Forbes he would have voted against the federal health care reform bill.
“What we have is unsustainable and this is even more unsustainable,” Hanna said.
Forbes said Connie White, a member of the local Republican Party, helped organize Hanna’s visit and arranged his visit to Forbes’ house.
“I enjoyed his visit. I think he’s a down to earth, genuine, hard-working man who knows what businesses in New York state face every day,” Forbes said.
Hanna also spoke to the Cortland Standard about his thoughts on national and local issues and how he differs from Arcuri (D-Utica), who announced his re-election bid Monday. Also running for the seat in the 24th District is Marine Sgt. Logan Bell, 25, a Tompkins County resident.
Hanna questioned Arcuri’s motives in voting against the health care reform bill and the cap and trade bill. Hanna said he also would have voted against both bills, but said Arcuri supported both bills earlier on and changed his position in the final vote.
“They were desperate attempts made by a guy trying to rebrand himself to keep a job,” Hanna said.
Arcuri said this morning that he voted against the Senate’s version of the health care bill because it addressed providing health care to people who do not have it, but did not address keeping costs down for people who already have health insurance.
Arcuri said he only voted to send a cap and trade bill to the House for a vote as a member of the Rules Committee, but did not support the bill, which has not been passed in the Senate.
Hanna, 58, a Cooperstown resident and Utica native, ran for the seat as a Republican in November 2008 and lost to Arcuri (D-Utica) in a close race. Arcuri earned 52 percent of the vote, and Hanna earned 48 percent. It was Hanna’s first run for public office.
Hanna said Monday that he thinks Arcuri will be more vulnerable in this election than in 2008.
“The issues that were there before are even more pronounced now,” Hanna said.
Hanna said the only incentive for most politicians is getting re-elected and stressed that as a retired business owner, he does not need a job as an elected official for the salary. Hanna said he wants to serve to provide a better life for his young children and called Arcuri “a career politician.”
Arcuri argued that he has only held a political office for the past few years, saying he owned a private law practice for nine years and was a district attorney for 14 years before running for Congress.
“He’s trying to play on the anti-Washington sentiment that’s out there,” Arcuri said.
Hanna said he considers himself an independent, but was comfortable accepting the nomination of the Republican Party.
After graduating from Reed College in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science, he started Hanna Construction. Over the next 25 years he expanded the company, completing a number of multi-million dollar commercial and municipal projects in New York.
Arcuri was first elected as the 24th Congressional District representative in November 2006 and re-elected in November 2008.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe