10/25/12 6:57am
10/25/2012 6:57 AM
Altschuler, EPCAL, Bishop, RIverhead Town

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Randy Altschuler at a debate in Riverhead.

Development at the Enterprise Park at Calverton is critical to the future of Long Island’s economy. The fact that this process has become so bogged down in red tape and political wrangling underscores what’s wrong with government today, and how it’s hurting job creation.

Make no mistake, without new economic development Long Island will continue to struggle with rising property taxes, foreclosures and young people leaving in search of jobs and a better life elsewhere. We must reverse that trend.

We can’t tax, spend or borrow our way out of this; we need to grow our way out of it with forward-thinking economic growth policies that make Long Island a destination for business again.

Every time I speak with Supervisor Sean Walter and the Riverhead Town Board members, or read what they say in the paper, their frustration with this process is evident and I share it.

They have worked tirelessly to complete the redevelopment at EPCAL, yet seem to run into obstacle after obstacle.

Enough is enough. If I am given the honor of representing Suffolk County in Congress this November, breaking this bureaucratic logjam and moving this project forward will be a priority.

Unfortunately, private sector job growth simply has not been a priority for Congressman Tim Bishop. He seems to believe government has all the answers; I don’t. This is a perfect example of where government should be helping to foster economic revitalization on Long Island, and instead they are stifling it.

I will take a different approach. Relying on my experience in the private sector and willingness to work across party lines to get things done, I will bring all sides together and seek to build consensus on a path forward at EPCAL.

The failures to date are a prime example of how government, even with the best of intentions, gets in the way of an economic recovery.

For instance, Gov. Andrew Cuomo established Regional Economic Development Councils to promote and provide state grants for worthy projects. It was a good idea, but the irony is that the state, through the DEC and its over-aggressive regulatory policy, is hindering the implementation of the kind of economic development Gov. Cuomo rightfully promotes.

In my specific, 10-point jobs plan (LIJobsPlan.com), I have outlined several ways to bring more businesses and job opportunities to Long Island. We need to roll out the red carpet, not the red tape, for businesses that want to relocate or grow right here in the 1st Congressional District. We need to make Long Island a magnet for high-quality, good-paying jobs again. Our future depends on it.

We all realize that the EPCAL property could be home to industries from manufacturing to high-tech to recreational entrepreneurs. It could quite literally be the crown jewel of Long Island’s economic future — we simply cannot let this opportunity slip through our collective fingers.

Mr. Altschuler is the Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop. He is a businessman and St. James resident. This piece was originally published on Oct. 18 in the News-Review newspaper.

10/16/12 12:00pm
10/16/2012 12:00 PM
Tim Bishop, Randy Altschuler, Bridgehampton School

DANA SHAW of THE SOUTHAMPTON PRESS | Congressman Tim Bishop and challenger Randy Altschuler debate at the Bridgehampton School on Monday night.

The debate between Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Republican challenger Randy Altschuler in Bridgehampton on Monday turned inward when the candidates argued over campaign tactics in a race marked by a flood of attack ads.

The two men covered well-trodden ground in what was their fourth debate on the East End, once again laying out their differing visions for economic recovery.

But to a greater extent than in past debates, they expressed frustration over the tone of the race itself.

The candidates even attacked each other’s attacks during an extended exchange, with Mr. Altschuler calling the congressman’s tactics “filthy” and Mr. Bishop calling his opponent’s ads “unseemly.”

“This has been an ugly, bruising campaign,” Mr. Bishop said. “I think Mr. Altschuler regrets that. I regret that. I think even within the
context of an ugly, bruising campaign, I think family should be off-limits.”

Mr. Bishop, a Democrat running for his sixth term, was referring to what he claimed were recent attacks by Mr. Altschuler’s campaign claiming Mr. Bishop’s wife, Kathy, a preschool director, and 33-year-old daughter, Molly, his political fundraiser, have benefited from his political and professional connections.

Mr. Bishop has rejected those charges in the past.

Mr. Altschuler said he tried to run a positive campaign, filming an ad with his family and releasing a jobs plan, but was quickly drawn into a brawl that he claims Mr. Bishop started.

“I would say 98 percent of his money or more is spent saying negative things about me, and not at one point talking about the things he’s done in the last 10 years in Congress,” Mr. Altschuler said.

Mr. Bishop called that account “disingenuous.”

“Before we had run a single ad, before we had said anything at all, July 28, Mr. Altschuler has a press conference in front of my office in
Patchogue to attack my daughter and my wife,” he said. “So, please, please don’t be the choir boy when it comes to negative campaigning.”

Mr. Altschuler also called that characterization “totally disingenuous.”

The exchange built off a similar one in Hamptons Bays last month, when a high school senior asked the candidates why they were running negative ads rather than touting their own accomplishments.

The two men also discussed the role of super political action committees, or “super PACs” in the campaign. Super PACs are groups that can make unlimited amounts of political spending independent of campaigns.

Both regretted the phenomenon, largely the result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision two years ago on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. But both have benefited from super PAC money in this year’s election.

Mr. Altschuler said it’s “an unfortunate situation we’re in,” and Mr. Bishop said super PACs “fundamentally threaten our democracy.”

The candidates spoke at length on a host of other issues, including unemployment and the economy, taxes and bipartisanship.

The debate, which focused on jobs and the economy for the first half, kicked off with a question posed to both on whether cutting taxes creates jobs. Mr. Altschuler said he believes it does, while Mr. Bishop said there’s no evidence that proves cutting taxes alone will create jobs.

They rehashed some of the same issues from prior debates, once again addressing the attacks on outsourcing and ethics, while
defending themselves.

Mr. Altschuler has been heavily criticized by the Bishop campaign for being an outsourcing pioneer. Mr. Bishop has had his ethics challenged on whether his campaign solicited donations for helping a constituent get necessary permits for a fireworks show this summer.

The two also explained their positions on abortion.

The next presidential administration could appoint at least two Supreme Court justices, which could determine future decisions on issues like abortion. Mr. Altschuler said he is pro-life, with the exceptions of rape, incest and the health of the mother. Mr. Bishop said he is
pro-choice, and that he shares former President Bill Clinton’s views that abortions should be “safe, legal and rare.”

The debate was the second in a series of debates sponsored by The Press News Group, which covers the South Fork, and Times/Review News Group of the North Fork.

It will conclude on Thursday, Oct. 25, when the newspaper groups will cosponsor another debate with the League of Women Voters of the
Hamptons.

That debate will take place at the Westhampton Beach High School on Lilac Road in Westhampton Beach at 7 p.m.

Ms. Abbas is a reporter for the Press News Group of Southampton.

rabbas@pressnewsgroup.com