Thoughts on the relevant professional experience of the two remaining serious Democratic candidates in New York State's 24th congressional district:
Les Roberts has relevant professional experience in the following areas: International relations, health care, disaster relief, science, and education.
Michael Arcuri has relevant professional experience in the law, law enforcement and politics.
So, which one of these candidates would do a better job for us in Congress? Well, that depends on what you think members of Congress ought to be concerned about.
If you care about education, international issues, health care, disaster relief, and science, then you'll judge Les Roberts to be better qualified. There's some good reason to value these issues in the 24th District in particular. International affairs are on everybody's mind these days, with the war in Iraq draining resources from every community in the USA, and Les Roberts has a long history of dealing with top level officials in the American government, foreign governments and the United Nations. Health care is an essential issue for the 24th District too, with health care costs quickly becoming the number one burden for local governments. If you're upset about property taxes, you ought to be thinking about a national health care plan of the sort that Les Roberts has proposed. Education and science are, as Sherwood Boehlert's career demonstrated, essential for a US Representative for the 24th District to address with skill. Our colleges and universities are our district's most reliable source of bread and butter.
If you care about legal issues and law enforcement, then Michael Arcuri is your man. Crime is not a big issue in the 24th District, but matters of constitutional law have never been more important. We have too many members of Congress right now allowing President Bush and the Executive Branch to play fast and loose with the law, and having someone with legal skills to take a strong stand for the rule of law would be refreshing. Mike Arcuri's professional background with the law would also enable him to be an intelligent reader and creator of legislation. Given the fact that most members of Congress passed the Patriot Act without even bothering to read it, that skill is nothing to sniff at. Arcuri's status as a career politician may be regarded by some as a liability, but the truth of the matter is that, for a member of Congress, politics does not end on Election Day. Members of Congress need to be able to maneuver amongst their colleagues in order to get business done.
Now is the time that we grassroots Democratic voters in New York's 24th District need to start discussing the relative merits of the different kinds of experience Les Roberts and Michael Arcuri would bring to the job. Arguments about who can win the race are all well and good, but in order for those arguments to be well informed, they need to be based upon an understanding of the areas of professional expertise that Les Roberts and Michael Arcuri promise to use on our behalf in the House of Representatives.