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October 15, 2010 @ 12:00 am EDT
Wow! What an energetic meeting! Our speaker this morning was Randy Altschuler, Republican candidate for the 1st congressional district
Mr. Altschuler began by giving some information about himself. He’s a Princeton grad and he ran a successful businesses. One of them was an electronic devices recycling and salvaging company. This company recycled, by fixing what was wrong and reselling the device or reducing it down to the base metals and then sold for the metal value.
He said the "American dream has disappeared." He stated that we have a general feeling that our children will not have the same opportunity to succeed as we did. Part of the reason is that we have created huge deficits. The idea that one generation creates the framework for the increased success of the next has been reversed. The debt we create is really a loan imposed on our children.
Altschuler criticized the administration foreign policy citing the danger posed by Iran, stating that the Obama administration is doing nothing to contain them (presently there is oil sitting in loaded tankers that cannot move because of the sanctions imposed by the world community including China and Russia but no one challenged him on that)
During the Q&A he was asked if he would have voted for the GM bailout since it appears that all of that money will be returned to the taxpayers. He said he would not. Some of the people in the room chimed in and agreed with him. He knocked the stimulus plan for infrastructure. Others in the room agreed with him, not because it was such a bad idea, but because so little of it went to infrastructure.
When the topic of immigration reform was brought up, the question was couched in the reality that removing 11 million people was impractical. He agreed, and then said the first thing we must do is secure the borders. and then make employers obey the immigration laws. But I did not hear a plan that would now assimilate those people that were presently in the country.
On education he stated we mustn’t spend recklessly and unions must show flexibility.
When asked how he would deal with Republicans and their demand for perfect discipline in the ranks, he promised independence.
Recently LIMBA counted a victory in getting a new rail intermodal yard started in Yaphank. Tim Bishop shepherded the permitting through the Surface Transportation Board. Altschuler was asked if we could expect him to support measures such as that, and he said he would.
Throughout the Q&A, which was much longer than his prepared remarks, the room was abuzz. There were many more questions addressed than what is cited here, and the conversation was passionate. People are genuinely troubled and it showed. I was impressed with the number of informed questions and the general participation. When we officially closed the meeting nobody ran for the doors. The people in the room continued their questions with the speaker as well as with each other.
A number of people commented to me on the quality of the discussion as they were leaving. It was a passionate exchange and people are frustrated, but there was no angry remarks diected to the speaker or each other.