Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Leon Koziol Takes on State Business Through Congress?

We Democrats are hungry for change right now. We're sick of Republicans controlling all three branches of the federal government, and running America into the ground. Here in the 24th District, we're tired of watching the weak Republican Sherwood Boehlert go along with almost all of George W. Bush's right wing agenda over and over again, summoning only enough spine to write a letter of complaint every now and then, but failing to take strong action against Republican extremism.

We're eager for change, and that's good, but we ought not to be so eager for change that we neglect to intelligently evaluate the proposals of those Democrats who seek to replace the Republicans in Congress. Most Democrats are making intelligent, incisive critiques of Republican folly. A few, however, are committing folly of their own, making promises that they will never be able to keep.

Among these rash Democratic candidates is our own Leon Koziol, who is competing with Les Roberts, Michael Arcuri, and Bruce Tytler for the Democratic nomination in the 24th District campaign for Congress this year. Here's how Koziol defined his campaign in his formal statement of candidacy, released on February 7:

"My overriding mission in this quest to become a member of Congress is to bring dignity to the people of the 24th District. As a collection of small communities, we have become fractured by the unfortunate consequences of political gerrymandering. As a member of Congress, I will seek cohesiveness for this diverse district so that its residents may achieve meaningful influence in Washington and true prosperity for the Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Region."

I'm all for dignity, but I wonder if it's realistic to say that a member of Congress can deliver dignity to his constituents on platter. I'm all for cohesiveness too, but cohesiveness comes from connections between neighbors, not actions of Congress.

I suppose that what Mr. Koziol is getting at is that he wants to undo the gerrymandering that has made the 24th District into a crazy contortion that sprawls across the middle of New York State. I'm against gerrymandering too. The problem is that congressional districts are determined on the state level - not by members of the U.S. House of Representatives. If Leon Koziol wants to undo inappropriate gerrymandering, he should set his sights at our state legislature, not our national legislature.

If undoing the gerrymandering of the 24th District is really Koziol's overriding mission in his quest to become a member of Congress, then it seems that he is upon a Quixotic quest, tilting at windmills that he believes to be dragons.

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