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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tricounty DFA Update: Murphy Meeting Report
Hello Everyone!

A group of our Steering Committee members met Representative Scott Murphy Wednesday morning.

I think I speak for everyone when I say we had an excellent meeting with Scott (as he insists on being called).

We wanted to first follow up on our three letters to him on what we regard (and hear from all of you) three key issues:

*Social Security
Scott was very firm in his support for preserving Social Security and is completely opposed to cuts in social security benefits. He said he is asked this a great deal, with seniors actually concerned about losing benefits.

We asked him if he would consider joining with Kirsten GIllibrand in her call for popping the cap on Social Security contributions, which are presently limited to the first $106,000 of income. Scott said he was not opposed to that at all, and very open to the idea, and would consider it. He agreed that if it were implemented, it would solve any theoretical shortfall in social security funding that occurred.

Scott noted that the Republicans are lying like crazy about Social Security and that includes his opponent Chris Gibson, who he characterized as being in Republican minority leader Boehner's pocket, and that Boehner in particular and the Republicans in general have always wanted to privatize Social Security, and Gibson would back that, or have to back that, if elected.

We urged him to publicly back removing the cap in his campaign as an effective way to counter Republican claims. Dick noted how Hilary Clinton's campaign used the word risky locally, and we urged him from our experience to characterize the Republican position as "risky." Scott really liked that and agreed to really focus on that language, which was great.

We discussed public anxieties about the Deficit Reduction Commission. Scott agreed that Social Security was separate from the deficit and did not contribute to it. Dick asked him if he would support Rep. Grivalja's letter to President Obama calling for the President to repudiate the commission report if it called for Social Security cuts. He said he was not that familiar with it, but took a copy and said he would consider it.

Scott also made it clear he is opposed to continuing the Bush era tax cuts on upper income earners, but wants to continue them for the middle class.

There is no question the people of the district can completely count on Scott to protect Social Security.

*Heathcare Reform
Scott said that he has found going around that there is a small group of people who want to repeal Healthcare Reform, but that it was clear that the vast majority of people in the district want to keep the present bill, which he agrees with. He followed up on the idea of risky, saying the language he intends to use, and we should use, is "improve" upon Healthcare rather than "repeal" it.

We asked him if he would support Lynn Woolsey's new bill to open up Medicare to everyone as a Public Option in the soon to come public exchanges, and he was very interested in that and wanted to know about costs and numbers (all we have was that the CBO has scored it as saving $68 billion over roughly the next decade). He promised to look into Woolsey's bill and consider it.

He was very strong on the need for tort reform as an overall part of keeping skyrocketing medical costs under control. I think we all expressed a strong preference for single-payer. I did note, and he seemed interested in the idea, that unlike most of the country, we are much closer to Canada and there is a higher awareness here of their single-payer system, and correspondingly more support for single-payer.

Scott noted the existence of the present bill is a huge, historic change on the American scene, and now, once established, it can and will be continually improved. He also points out that Gibson has gone on the record as wanting to repeal healthcare reform in any new Republican Congress.

Scott is now a total supporter of HCR and after our Q&A there is no question we can count on Scott to make it better.

*Net Neutrality.

The final issue we got to discuss was Net Neutrality. Scott stated that he believes he is a very strong supporter of Net Neutrality. Most people have been defining preserving Net Neutrality in the context of what is called Title II of the Telecommunications Act. He believes that is a cobbled together measure, and that something more clearly defined is needed, a new TItle Three, and that he has discussed this with FCC Chairman Genachowski. Scott said that this new Title Three would codify and protect Net Neutrality, and prevent any kind of diversion or slowing of traffic or control of content. I think he is concerned about wireless access (iPhones and the like), but I think we were very satisfied with his strong support for Net Neutrality, whether a new Title Three is needed or not.

Throughout, Scott's concern for average working people was clear, while displaying the knowledge he brings from his business background on how to promote economic development. As a former internet entrepreneur, he is a bit of an unusual figure in a chamber mainly filled with lawyers, but since I think most of us would agree there are too many lawyers there already, this is actually a very good thing, and should not be misunderstood. Yes, he does talk a good bit about those kinds of economic/business promotion issues, maybe even a bit too much, because he knows and gets excited about that kind of thing, but that does not mean he does not care about average working people: the entire thrust of everything he says, taken together as a whole, make it very clear that he cares very much.

Scott's reelection will only happen if everyone makes it happen, however, we can't take anything for granted. I will be sending more info out on pitching in for Murphy, what can be done. In the meanwhile, there is a must read from Robert Creamer in the Huffington Post that takes apart the idea that Democrats are doomed in November: I strongly recommend it to anyone who thinks things are going badly, for instance, at this point in 2008 John McCain was substantially ahead, and we all know how that turned out.

Thanks everyone!


""God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh"— Voltaire

Larry Dudley

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