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July 27, 2008 - 11:11am

"Where am I? How did I get here?"

posted by Russ Stresing in congress, Democrats, Jack Davis.

     Is Jack Davis completely out of touch with reality?  It seems so, given his statements during a  rare public appearance.  Making an infrequent foray outside of the confines of his cozy  headquarters, Jack set up a campaign appearance for the press in Genesee County.  That's usually how it works with Jack.  See, he doesn't think much of actual campaigning, things like going door to door to ask for your vote.  He does like waving from one of  his show cars in parades, but otherwise, he's content to let his $3 million dollars do his talking and, boy, does Jack like to be the one doing the talking.  He's not big on listening.  That fact is apparent from what he said on Friday.

      Here's what he's promoting on his own website. “The farmers claim they need more foreign labor to pick those crops and some have asked for more visas for immigrant farm workers. But with our high unemployment, how can we justify hiring someone other than our own unemployed to do this work?”  Its obvious Jack hasn't heard any of the problems the local growers have had in recent years.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21491778/    Does Jack really want to add to the risks that farmers already brave every year?  Or was he that clueless about where he was when he made that statement?  As rarely as he goes out on the trail, it might've made sense for him to do a little background research on the GLOW region.  Agriculture is the backbone of our local economy.  Now, Jack says he wants to deny our local farmers the labor force they depend on to get their crops out of the fields or orchards and onto our tables.

       Anyone could be forgiven for thinking this is Jack's first try at office after reading this.  But, Jack's had two tries at this seat in the past.  In fact, Jack used to be a Republican but after he donated $2,000 at a Republican fundraiser and was told he couldn't personally speak with Vice President Cheney, Jack quit the party in a huff.  That next year, in an expensive fit of pique, Jack spent 1.2 million dollars of his own personal fortune campaigning against Tom Reynolds.  He lost.  So, in 2006, he spent even more.  In fact, Jack spent a million dollars that year on the Independence party nomination alone. No other candidates stepped up to run on the Democratic line, so Jack got it by default, the same way he got it in 2004.  Tom Reynolds was a severely wounded candidate owing to his connection to the Foley scandal.  It didn't matter. Jack lost.  Many observers blamed it on the fact that Jack doesn't like to get out and campaign.  He's of the belief that if you throw enough commercials on TV and radio, and stuff voters' mailboxes full with slick fliers day after day, you don't have to get out and actually talk with them.  It didn't work for him the last two times.  Still, he's doing the the very same thing for the third time.  So much for learning from experience.

     Jack's idea of coming to a rural area and advocating a position counter to their needs might make him seem frighteningly oblivious, but it  is characteristic of his attitude that he doesn't need the voters' input.  He wants you to listen to the Brooks and Dunn ripoff he's using as a radio commercial, let him bury you under multiple campaign fliers every week, and let him buy gasoline for people in Greece.  That's how Jack thinks it works.  Throw enough money at a problem, and he can solve it.

      Jack doesn't like to listen.  It was demonstrated earlier in the race when all four GLOW Democratic committees endorsed Jon Powers.  Jack tried to tell them they'd made a mistake and had better change their minds.  Here's their response:   "This is a press release from the 4 Democratic chairs of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming Counties regarding the NY 26th Congressional race.  Jack Davis seems to feel the rural counties can be cajoled into rescinding their endorsements of Jon Powers, and the chairs wanted to make it clear that there are no intentions to do so."

      Its one thing to claim to be your own man.  Its a completely different thing to be ignorant of your district's concerns and to ignore your party's position on the issues.  If Jack is so cavalier about rural WNY's needs and so out of step with his own party's platform, what other misapprehensions is he laboring under?

 

    

Howard B. Owens
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If farmers could hire local labor, don't you think they would? If Jack Davis thinks there are local workers clamoring for such back-breaking labor, I recommend he educate himself on the area unemployment rate: currently unemployment 5.7 percent. That's a pretty slender available work force, especially when you consider that most economist consider a practical zero employment rate to be 3 to 4 percent. That means the vast majority of those unemployed would be in the normal "between jobs" cycle anyway. They will find jobs soon enough not to feel the need to make a career change into farm labor. And Mr. Davis is showing us he doesn't well understand the nature of farm labor, which is governed by a chief feature of being migratory. Is he suggesting the local unemployed be willing to pull up their local roots and follow the crops? They would pretty much be required to do so, because while farm labor is hard, manual labor, farmers also prefer hiring experienced works for their specific crops, because they are likely to do less damage and be more productive. Such expertise might be easily learned, but it also takes experience to master. Can Mr. Davis please point farmers to all of these experienced, willing local workers, since he seems to be the only one who knows where they are? Reality check: They're not there and they never will be. Migrant work attracts classes of people -- just as it did the Japanese before the Oakies, and the Oakies before the Mexicans, who come from economic conditions not conducive to providing better career opportunities. God help us all if this country's economy is ever again in such bad shape that native-born citizens will willingly choose to be migrant workers.
Lorie Longhany
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Russ, you're dead on. Three times is not the charm in a Congressional race. Jack's statement to the press after losing in '06 was that he was “relieved” not to now be going to Washington. Relieved! How does anyone support someone that said that? Jack is like an old vinyl LP skipping in the same spot -- "immigration and saving jobs". The problem with this two issue approach -- we have an entire record collection that needs to be played. While we need reform on immigration and a fair trade policy and of course we need living wage jobs -- Jack's hard line approach is not the answer. I've heard his tone and it borders on xenophobic. The farmers in the 26th district need labor and lets face it the locals aren't lining up to apply for those jobs. And unfortunately the "global trade train" has already left the station (thanks to NAFTA and CAFTA) so we are left enforcing fair trade agreements and environmental standards. The people in this district deserve a fresh approach and it won't come from Jack Davis. The Democrats across the entire district are squarely behind Jon Powers. The labor unions (I believe Jon now has 28 labor union endorsements, the last I checked powersforcongress.com ) are behind Jon Powers. The candidate that is out listening to the people of the district is Jon Powers. The candidate that can win in November is Jon Powers.
Alan Bedenko
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I love that you allude to Adm. James Stockdale. Well played.
Lorie Longhany
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Where does one apply? And I'm curious if the lines will be as long as the job fair for the new Target store. Maybe the farmers can hire Jack's team for marketing. They can promote the traveling opportunities as an incentive to offset the long hours. Photobucket
Daniel Jones
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Amen
James Renfrew
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This is incredible. Who does Jack Davis think is going to get in line for these jobs? My own son, chronically unemployed, showed absolutely no interest in field work when I sugggested it to him. I don't know any local farmers who take Davis' position. They need willing workers, or else the produce will rot in the field. Perhaps Mr. Davis can find a dozen people to line up for this work in the same way that he got at least a dozen drivers to line up for discount gasoline in Greece. I'm eagerly awaiting his press conference.
John Roach
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A man without a job doesn't want to work? Chronically unemployed accordding to you, but too good to work in the field, or in the barn? I don't like Davis either, we can do much better, but it sounds like you son has more issues than Davis, if you are using him as an example. Migrant workers, either American or not, are needed for farm work, we all know that. But at the same time, if you don't have a job and for some reason no other job skills, farm work is an option.
Lorie Longhany
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It may be an option -- but an option that just isn't being taken up by any locals no matter what their employment status is. That's just the facts. These are the jobs that Americans just aren't taking. Let's face it -- farm work is very hard work. I remember many years ago, when my husband was serving in the Marine Corp, we were home on leave in October. To supplement my husband's low wages at that time, we decided to take a short term job on a local apple orchard picking. I must plead ignorance -- I have no idea how produce workers are paid now, but back in the late 70's if you were picking apples it was by the bushel. I was not very good at picking apples and if you can't pick extremely fast, you don't get paid very much. There was an incentive to work quickly and be extremely productive, otherwise you were going home with very little money and a belly ache from all the apples you ate all day. I fell in the latter category. My husband, who is highly competitive, was actually very fast. So thank goodness one of us was able to take home a few dollars. I don't think that the chronically unemployed or underemployed have the mindset that you have, John. If they did they most likely would already be working on a farm and not standing in the unemployment line. So under Jack Davis -- we purge our farm workforce, screw over our farmers, lose the abundance of fresh produce that we all enjoy every summer, and in turn we lose the backbone of the rural economy.
Howard B. Owens
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There are plenty of other jobs always available that don't involve working on a farm -- if somebody out of work really wanted to work and do that kind of labor, they could. It's mostly low-paying service sector jobs (not as hard as farm work, but still not a lot of fun, but at least a predictable paycheck) that employers find hard to fill. And that's the thing about saying migrants are taking jobs from area residents ... area residents out of work mostly fall in the "between jobs" category (normal churn), or the long-term unemployed who find it too difficult to hold a job at MacDonald's. These are the kind of people who are prime to go work in the fields.
Russ Stresing
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There's further evidence of how much Jack likes throwing money at problems. The chairman of the Monroe Independence party has been forced to resign after disclosures that Jack Davis paid the chairman's wife a $5,000 consulting fee. The chairman has already resigned his position in the state Independence party. A member of the Independence executive committee of Erie County is also under scrutiny after it was learned his wife had also gotten a $5,000 consulting fee from Jack Davis. Jack is seeking the Independence Party endorsement.

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