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Alice Kryzan

Alice Kryzan, former congressional candidate, succumbs to cancer

By Howard B. Owens

Alice Kryzan, an environmental attorney from Amherst who campaigned hard in 2008 in an attempt to become Genesee County's representative in Congress, died Saturday.

She was 63.

Kryzan lost a battle with cancer and according to friends, died peacefully at her home.

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Kryzan lost in a three-way race with Jack Davis and Chris Lee in 2008. 

Kryzan's full obituary after the jump (click on the headline):

ALICE KRYZAN, 63, environmental attorney and congressional candidate

AMHERST, NY –Alice Kryzan Berger, environmental attorney and congressional candidate, died of cancer peacefully at home on Saturday, June 2, in Amherst, where she lived for 33 years.

Alice was born on July 19, 1948, in Youngstown, OH, one of two children of Carolyn and Judge Frank X. Kryzan, who served as mayor of Youngstown from 1954 to 1960.

In 2008, Alice was the Democratic congressional candidate from New York’s 26th District, after winning a three-way primary.  Alice also was the Democratic candidate for Amherst Town Supervisor in 2009.

Alice was known for her commitment to public service, sense of humor, integrity, determination, intellectual passion, and devotion to family and friends.

She graduated from Ursuline High School in Youngtown in 1966.  She received her B.A. from Trinity University in Washington, DC, in 1970.  In 1973, she received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was one of only twenty women in her graduating class.  At the University of Chicago she met her husband, Robert S. Berger, emeritus Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo Law School.  

After law school, Alice worked at a small law firm and then at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where she helped provide a voice to those who needed it most.  After moving to Amherst in 1978, Alice worked at Phillips Lytle, where she became the first woman partner at what was then the largest law firm in Buffalo.  She went on to manage the Buffalo office of Whiteman, Osterman, and Hanna, and after leaving the firm, Alice continued to practice environmental law before retiring in 2005.

Alice also had a distinguished record of community service.  She was the Chair of the Board of Planned Parenthood of Buffalo and Erie County from 1998-2000, after years of service as a volunteer on various committees and as a Board Member.  She also served on the Steering Committee and was Treasurer of The Women’s TAP Fund, which raises money for pro-choice women candidates for state and local office.   Alice served on the Board of The Western New York Women’s Fund, a collaborative project of the United Way and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo that helps women and girls achieve economic self-sufficiency.  A lifelong environmentalist, she served as a Board Member of New York Parks & Trails and served as the chair of both the Erie County Bar Association Environmental Law Committee and the New York State Bar Association Environmental Law Section.

Alice is survived by her husband, Robert; son, Sam; sister, Carol (Thomas) Ward; brother-in-law Stuart (Debbie) Berger; and eight nieces and nephews, Jill (Charles Zaccaria), Adam (Amanda) and Matt (Elizabeth) Ward, and David, Jennifer, Charles (Christi), Kathleene and Tracey Berger.

Family and friends will celebrate her life on June 25, at the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, NY 14201.  Those wishing to pay their respects are invited to attend the ceremony at 1pm, or a reception to follow from 2-4pm.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Girls Education Collaborative, PO Box 2191, Buffalo, NY 14231 or Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Tri-Province Development Program, PO Box 157, 1531 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21153.

Thoughts on Chris Lee and the campaign, the day after the election

By Howard B. Owens

What I write below started as a comment in response to John Roach in response to this post, but as I wrote, I realized this is probably just my wrap up commentary on the 26th District congressional race. So, first John's excellent comment, and then my response.

It could have been the DNC negative ads that killed off Alice. Who ever came up with the Chris Lee was fired line at the last minute did Alice no good. Even if the charge is true, the way it came out, and at the last minute, made it look like a stunt. The China thing the national DNC lied about did not help either.

Chris told and/or his side told lies also. It just seems the side that lied the most lost.

John, Chris negative ads, as I said, were pretty devoid of substance -- "liberal trial lawyer" ... "she will raise taxes" ... scripted in 1988.  They had nothing to do with who Alice Kryzan really is, but painted her as characterture. They were relentless.

But I think the ads had the effect they were meant to have, which I didn't really think about until last night: They kept the base loyal.  Lee wasn't really trying, with those ads, to appeal to swing voters, just keep the GOP in the GOP column.  Drown out any positive message Kryzan might have.

And you're right, the DCCC did Kryzan no favors.  Whatever chance Kryzan had, the DCCC killed it. First, the negative ads were over the top and in no way truthful.  Second, they also crowded out Kryzan's message and didn't allow Alice to be Alice. In the end, they played right into the Lee/GOP strategy of muting Kryzan's plans and policy voice.

Kryzan's one chance of winning was to run a campaign of substance on issues, and not make it about Chris Lee. The DCCC tried to make it about Lee. Big mistake.

And you're right about the "fired" thing. I hadn't considered it from that light before. And in that light, you could make the case that the Kryzan campaign mishandled it, because they really tried to play it up.  Langworthy and Lee probably made stick the counter spin of "Kryzan's desperate campaign."

But let's face it, Jon Powers didn't do Kryzan many favors. He was slow to endorse her, and my sense from that is that the Democratic base was then slow to rally to her cause. He didn't start soon enough with the effort to get his name off the Working Families line. He didn't get out on the campaign trail for her soon enough.

That said, I'm optimistic that Chris Lee is a decent fellow.  I've met him once and he left a favorable first impression on me.  I remain concerned that he'll be a "reliable GOP vote" rather than an independent voice of and for the district. I would love a chance to sit down and talk with him at some length about his plans and his policies. Also, he's going to have a very tough job as a freshman congressman working within a decimated GOP minority.

Much has been made over earmarks (pork) the past two years, but the fact is, if you want to target meaningful reductions in Federal spending, pork is a poor choice of where to begin with the knife. Earmarks make up less than 5 percent of the Federal budget. But what earmarks do is allow a congressman to return some taxpayer money to the district.

If used to help build roads, upgrade other infrastructure, finance green business start ups, help local agencies get jobs done they could otherwise not afford, than earmarks help create jobs and make life better in a district. Earmarks shouldn't be used just to do favors for campaign donors.

So here's to hoping Lee will fight for the 26th District's share of pork, and then some.

As for being a "reliable GOP vote," I guess there are two ways of looking at that.  With the GOP in such dire straits in the House, the Republicans sticking together as the opposition party might have some mollifying effect on the Democrats (nothing against Democrats, but in any two-party Constitutional government, there should be some sort of opposition).

On the other hand, Lee has just won a seat that almost guarantees him no more than two terms in office (it will likely be eliminated in redistricting in 2012). The GOP is in disarray and will go through a good deal of soul searching and a few internal battles as it tries to rebuild a meaningful philosophical core.  That may take a generation or two, just as it did post-Hoover This would be a great time for a man like Lee to step out and define himself as an independent voice. It could be what makes or breaks his political career from 2012 onward.

There's no reason Lee can't fashion a voice and voting record that stands in opposition to the most extreme of Democratic plans, but doesn't kowtow to the Republican House leadership.  It will be interesting to see which path Lee chooses.  I haven't given up hope that Lee did what he had to do -- go along with the GOP election strategy  -- in order to safely win the seat, but that he has within him the capability to now step forward and better define himself as a legislator and as a representative.

Video: Alice Kryzan

By Philip Anselmo

While we were down at the Democratic headquarters this afternoon, 26th Congressional Candidate Alice Kryzan, who was stopping by on her tour across the district throughout the day. We asked Kryzan how the day had gone and what she saw on the campaign trail.

Here's why getting Jon Powers off the ballot was important

By Howard B. Owens

How many voters haven't paid close attention to the election, just saw the negative commercials and then decided to vote for the third-party candidate?

Blogger Lauren, from Rochester, suggests she was planning to vote for Jon Powers:

The problem is that I've been watching Rochester TV for the past two months and can recite word for word all the low budget smear campaign commercials of local political hopefuls there.

I know all about Alice Kryzan and Chris Lee and how Alice accuses Chris of sending jobs to China and only caring about his small business making money, and Chris likes to constantly remind everyone how Alice is a "liberal trial lawyer". Truth be told, I side with Alice because at least she's acquainted with the law. Chris owns some electrician business or something equally unrelated to politics and is probably just trying to get in office so he can vote against Joe the Plumber taxes and maybe lower minimum wage. If I voted in Rochester, I'd probably vote for a third party guy simply because he didn't subject me to ominously voiced-over shitty commercials for two months, and leaving me the hell alone during It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is what I truly value in a candidate.

Despite every effort to get Kryzan on the Working Families line, the courts kept Powers, who reportedly moved out of state, on it.

It will be interesting to see how many votes that line gets and then speculate whether it could have made a difference.

Anonymous anti-Kryzan flier arrives on doorsteps in the 26th this morning

By Philip Anselmo

The battle between Democrat Alice Kryzan and Republican Chris Lee for the 26th Congressional District is entering the ninth inning, and the someone from the GOP opposition has called in a pinch hitter. There's only one problem, the slugger won't tell us his name.

The Kryzan campaign is alleging that an anti-Kryzan flier that has been arriving on doorsteps in Amherst this morning is illegal. In fact, campaign spokesperson Anne Wadsworth told us that the campaign crew that arrived at the volunteer center in Amherst at 5:30 this morning found a flier waiting for them. They have not yet gathered how many have gone out, nor how widely distributed they are, but we should find out more as the day goes on.

"Telling lies about Alice's record is nothing new for Chris Lee and his supporters," said Wadsworth. "But to put this out on election day is a continuation of the smear campaign they've been running. We know that Chris Lee has problems with ethics, but this effort by his supporters to mislead voters today—of all days—shows blatant disregard for the election laws and the truth."

A representative of the campaign for Chris Lee told us that they were not aware of any such fliers being distributed. We're waiting on an official statement from them that should come later this morning.

Genesee County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dawn Cassidy told us that if the flier were placed in a mailbox, the activity would certainly be illegal. Also, if it's a paid advertisement—negative or not—whoever paid for it has to say so on the flier.

However, says Cassidy, "if someone's running off Xerox copies from home, I don't know how we can track it down. ... If they put it in a mailbox and there's no postage, that's a problem. But still, I don't know how we can stop that."

Have you heard of any last ditch attempts to sway the vote that don't seem so kosher? Send us your reports of any potential problem you encounter at the polls, at home or at work today. We'll be sure to get them right up on our site.

Chris Lee and Alice Kryzan may be battling over temp position

By Howard B. Owens

If either Chris Lee or Alice Kryzan are looking for a long career in the House of Representatives, they might be sorely disappointed, according to Buffalo Business First.

In four years, the Legislature will redraw legislative boundaries, and because of an ongoing population decline in Western New York, the state is likely to lose two seats.

“Either one of them would be at the mercy of Albany,” says Kevin Hardwick, a Canisius College political science professor. “But then, in a way that’s true for every congressman involved. Reapportionment is the only time in 10 years that a congressman ever sucks up to a state legislator. They hold all the cards.”


“The nation has had a long westward and southward expansion, so House seats are going that way, too,” says Mark Mather, a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington-based research group. “New York’s loss is Arizona’s and Nevada’s and Florida’s gain. I don’t know when it’s going to end.”

Certainly not soon. New York is likely to lose two more congressional seats after the 2010 census, according to a new Business First analysis of U.S. Census Bureau projections.

The prime target for those cuts will be the eight counties of Western New York, which lost 56,000 residents between 2000 and 2007, based on federal estimates. The rest of Upstate added 10,000 people during the same span, and Downstate added 347,000.

The article says the winner of the NY-26 race will be vulnerable to losing the seat because both candidates will have little seniority within the delegation and fewer friends in Albany.

While this could be bad news for Lee or Kryzan, it's certainly bad news for WNY.

Chris Lee's 'mistake' making headlines this morning

By Howard B. Owens

It looks like both the Chris Lee and Alice Kryzan campaigns were busy yesterday trading shots over revelations that Lee was fired from a job in 1989 for allegedly hacking into his employer's computers (we say "allegedly" because Lee has only admitted to a "mistake" not the specific act).

Lee's campaign manager Nick Langworthy told WROC that revelations of his boss's dismissal was just a smear from the Alice Kryzan campaign.

"If there's one thing that can be learned from this 11th hour stunt, it's that Alice Kryzan is willing to say and do anything to elected to congress."

Kryzan responded by saying, "I was even more disappointed to hear that rather than admit the gravity of his actions, he instead once again, attacked me and my campaign."

Lee took up the charge against the Kryzan campaign himself when speaking with the Buffalo News:

Asked about the incident on Saturday, Lee said: “It’s not a commentary on my character. I was a young man, I made a mistake, I broke a company policy, I recognized that, I was let go, and I moved on and turned out to have a successful career.”

Lee pinned the revelation about his firing on his opponent — even after being told that e-mails detailing his firing arrived at The Buffalo News independently of the Kryzan campaign.

“It’s frustrating that three days outside the election there’s a desperate attack by Alice, who’s down in the polls, to continue to smear my name,” Lee said.

Lee spoke shortly after Kryzan tore into him at a news conference, saying he was ducking responsibility for his own failings.

“He has made this an issue in this campaign by blaming me for his bad behavior. I didn’t tell him to hack into his employer’s computer system,” said Kryzan, who added: “This issue speaks to Chris Lee’s basic integrity.”

The theme was repeated in the Democrat & Chronicle:

"Chris Lee's first response was to blame me," said Kryzan, 60, during a news conference at her headquarters in Williamsville, Erie County. "Be very clear about this, I did not tell Chris Lee to hack into his employer's computer system for his own personal gain. I did not tell Chris Lee to break the rules."

When reporters caught up with Lee, 44, at a Republican rally in Amherst, he said he did not gain financially from his "mistake."

"I broke a company policy. I've gone on and had a very successful career creating jobs," he said. "Unfortunately there's this desperate attack three days out. ... That's frustrating when I'm trying to do something positive for this community."

Lee's campaign, without Lee present, held its own news conference outside Kryzan's headquarters immediately following Kryzan's news conference. His campaign brought supporters waving campaign signs.

"Alice Kryzan knows that the voters of western New York are prepared to reject her job-killing agenda," said Lee's campaign manager, Nick Langworthy.

It's disappointing that to this point Chris Lee has failed to come forward with a full and transparent accounting of his actions at Ingram Micro.  Lee and Langworthy are dragging themselves down into the mud by trying to turn this revelation into an attack on Kryzan. It's a smoke screen and completely irrelevant to Lee's responsibility to tell the voters the full story before Tuesday. If he isn't willing to do that, how can he possibly be a trustworthy representative of Western New York?

UPDATE: Buffalo Pundit live blogged the radio debate between Kryzan and Lee this morning. No mention of the "mistake."

UPDATE II: Here's Buffalo Bean's assessment of the debate.

Lee and Kryzan in one final debate

By Howard B. Owens

We just received this notice from the Alice Kryzan campaign:

On Sunday from 10:30 - 12:00 a.m. Alice Kryzan and Chris Lee will face off one last time before Election Day on Kevin Hardwick's "Hardline with Hardwick" radio show on WBEN channel 930-AM. 

Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour!


Kryzan's campaign raises questions about Lee's dismissal from job in 1989

By Howard B. Owens

The Alice Kryzan campaign issued a press release this evening slamming Chris Lee for his admission that he made a mistake while working as a salesman in 1989, which led to his termination from that job.

We posted about this previously.  Lee allegedly hacked into company computers and changed the credit limits of customers.

The press release contains these five questions for Lee:

  1. Could Chris Lee or his attorney at the time explain why this wasn't prosecuted?
  2. Was there a fine involved and who paid for it?
  3. How much did Chris Lee defraud his company of?
  4. How seriously was the company put at risk?
  5. How much money did he stand to gain if he hadn't gotten caught?

Whether Lee answers these specific questions on the topic, he does owe voters a full explanation prior to Tuesday.

I wrote this morning about not rushing to judgment of Lee on this. It was 20 years ago. He was young. There is no evidence of a pattern of behavior. We all make mistakes and deserve second chances. Also, there are important issues at stake in this race that voters should focus on (and it is perhaps a bigger concern that Lee has said little of substance about these issues).

But, it is exceptionally important that our public officials be held to standards of full transparency about their conduct in and out of office.  Lee should give a complete and full accounting of the events that led to his firing.  This isn't a test of his conduct 20 years ago, but a test of his conduct today. Is he ethical enough to come clean?

UPDATE: Here's a question I think Mr. Lee needs to answer: Did Mr. Lee ever apologize to his former employer? Did he say, "I'm sorry"?

More of the same in latest campaign commercials for the congressional race

By Howard B. Owens

So far, in looking over the latest campaign commercials uploaded to YouTube for the 26th Congressional race, they're really just a variation on a theme: Chris Lee shipped jobs to China (false) and Alice Kryzan is a "liberal trial lawyer" (silly).

Here's the latest from Lee's campaign:

The funny thing is, there is scant evidence from Lee, either in his campaign commercials, his web site or his public statements that he's anything other than just another Big Government Republican.  He hasn't named one wasteful federal program he would cut, said how he would reign in the out-of-control Pentagon budget or scale back the federal bureaucracy. On his web site makes a veiled reference to pork, but railing against earmarks is just nonsense.

Given that earmarks make up less than 5 percent of the federal budget, eliminating them will do little to end deficit spending.  Bigger, more drastic cuts than that need to be made. At least with earmarks, some of the wages convisicated by workers get returned to the districts the revenue came from.

The latest DCCC's ad attacking Lee is even less honest.

One line in the commercial that stands out: The press has called Lee's attacks on Kryzan "fiction."

My question is: Where? What press? Not any press I've been following.  For ourselves, we've bashed Lee for his trite attack ads, but we haven't used the word fiction.  It's hard to call something fiction that has no real substance to it.

UPDATE: Buffalo Bean interviewed Chris Lee. There isn't much to report from the Q&A. As usual, Lee doesn't say much. He doesn't divert from his talking points. 

Judge orders Powers name back on ballot

By Howard B. Owens

Yesterday, it looked like Jon Powers would be removed from the Working Families Party line, and Democratic congressional candidate Alice Kryzan would take his place.

Late last night, a Federal judge overturned the previous ruling, according to the Buffalo News.

The battle over the third-party line is significant because Powers garnered 36 percent of the vote in the September Democratic primary — and if he is barred from the ballot, those voters wouldn’t see the Iraq War veteran’s name on the ballot. In addition, voters turned off by the sharply negative campaign between Kryzan and Lee wouldn’t be able to cast a protest vote for Powers.

Kryzan and Lee campaign officials said they had not seen the details of Arcara’s decision and could not comment on it.

Interesting take that voters would cast protest votes for Powers if his name appears on the ballot.  Wouldn't it be just as likely that such voters would simply abstain in the race?

And why is this such a difficult issue for the courts? Powers moved out of state, so isn't it obvious his name should be taken off the ballot?

A recent poll gives Chris Lee about a 14 pecentage point lead in the race. I'm not sure the Powers line is going to add or substract that many votes for Kryzan.

Another bit of Alice Kryzan news: She'll be attending a roast beef dinner this evening in LeRoy. It's at the United Methodist Church at 5 p.m.  We know this because Kryzan campaign sends us a notice when Alice makes public appearances in Genesee County. We never get such notices from Lee's campaign, so we have no idea where you might go today or tomorrow to ask him any questions.

Could the 26th go Blue?

By Philip Anselmo

One of our readers this morning turned our attention to an article from the Washington Post, which claims that nationwide "struggles" faced by Sen. John McCain are causing problems for Republicans in Congressional races around the country.

Particularly difficult for Republican prospects is that McCain appears to be trailing badly in several moderate suburban districts across the Midwest and New England, while he is doing worse than President Bush did in rural conservative districts.


Democrats hold a 51 to 49 edge in the Senate when the two independents who caucus with them are factored in, and a 236 to 199 House majority. Rothenberg predicted that Democrats will pick up 27 to 33 House seats, and make gains of six to nine seats in the Senate. The Cook Political Report, another independent political forecaster, suggests that Democrats will net 23 to 28 House seats, and pick up seven to nine Republican-held Senate seats.

Normally, this would be a topic for our Nation & World section, but this article calls out our very own 26th District as a potential upset in a region that many would have considered a GOP stronghold.

In New York's 26th District, internal GOP polls show McCain trailing (Sen. Barack) Obama by a narrow margin, sources said. Bush won the Buffalo-based district by 12 percentage points in 2004. The race to replace retiring Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.) is considered a tossup.

In that race, Democrat Alice Kryzan will square off against Republican Chris Lee, who himself has been criticized for a lack of visibility since getting the Republican nod with little effort earlier this year.

A post on the Albany Project today takes up this same issue. It turns out the Democratic Congressional Compaign Committee recently pumped $475,340 into the race for the 26th, compared with the $27,918 put up by the National Republican Congressional Committee. That same post claims that the race has now been predicted to swing to the Democrats.

What do you think? Could the GOP lose their grip on the 26th District come Tuesday? Does a lead by Obama equate to an advantage for Kryzan? What are the factors that will decide this vote one way or another Tuesday?

Round up of 26h District Coverage

By Howard B. Owens

The political newsletter Cook Report now lists the NY-26 race between Republican Chris Lee and Democrat Alice Kryzan as a toss up. The blog of the College Democrats of NY has a quote purportedly from the report, but no link to the source document.

The Buffalo News has a story up about the misleading campaign ads from both sides. It's mostly stuff we've covered before, but you get some new quotes from the candidates. The new bits would be that attorney's from the other side of the Love Canal law suit have come out in support of Kryzan defending her against Lee's attack ads, and the employee's of Lee's company are defending Chris Lee against charges that the company has outsourced jobs to China.

The 26th District Blog has the text of the full letter from Enidine employees.

Jill Terreri of the Democrat & Chronicle runs down area House races. She suggests that Kryzan is doing well in the district by riding Barack Obama's coattails. While that may be a part of it, I think it misses the fact that there are significant differences in campaign styles, which we discussed previously. Terreri's report runs through the candidates stands on various issues and some of the mudslinging.  If you haven't been following the race, it's a good primer.

Kryzan and Powers tour the 26th

By Philip Anselmo

Alice Kryzan and Jon Powers stopped by the headquarters of the Genesee County Democrats this afternoon on their tour through the 26th district. The two Democrats are ramping up support for Kryzan in her bid to win the congressional seat that will be vacated by retiring incumbent Tom Reynolds. She will face Republican Chris Lee in the general election.

Although they were opponents in the primary, Powers has since come out in full support of Kryzan. Today, he proclaimed that endorsement, citing the message that has been repeated (almost ad nauseum) by Democrats, and often even by Republicans, during this campaign year: change. Voters "have a clear choice," he said, to accept "the same failed policies of the last eight years," or to vote for change. Needless to say, Powers held up Kryzan as a candidate of such change.

"I urge the voters of Western New York to vote for Alice," he said.

Genesee County Democratic Committee Chair Lorie Longhany introduced the two at a brief press conference. She spoke of Powers as "very, very dear to me" and said that his "grassroots campaign led a movement that left a mark in this community."

"His coming out ... sends a strong message across the rural community," she said.

For her part, Kryzan repeated the invocation of change, touting her devotion to "green energy" as part of that message. She called Powers "a worthy adversary" whom she is now thankful to have on her side and vowed to "fight for the 26th district" that has "not been well represented in a long time"—a jab, perhaps, at the outgoing Republican, Reynolds. She also said she wanted to "fulfill the role" of job creator.

"If you send me to Congress, I will get up every morning and ask myself with every item on my agenda: Will this benefit the 26th district? If the answer is no, I will take that item off the agenda."

We caught up with Kryzan after the press conference to ask a couple of questions. (Questions in bold. Responses in italics).

In the Democratic primary, a lot was made about the often divisive negative campaigning and your refusal to get involved in the mudslinging. We know that you can't do anything about the current negative ads being run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee attacking your opponent Chris Lee. So what are you doing to ensure that voters know these commercials don't reflect your style?

There are two answers to that. One, when asked about it, I tell everyone that those ads are not put out by my campaign. Second, I'm trying to run a campaign with positive ads about the issues. I'm getting out and talking about the issues. ... A representative in Congress must be responsible to the voters.

The "Wall Street bailout" remains wildly unpopular with voters. Nor does much seem to be coming of the effort in the way of relief for the average American. In fact, JPMorgan Chase even admitted that it would not loosen credit and instead plans to use its recently acquired $25 billion of taxpayer money for "acquisitions." Initially, you said that you support the bailout. Do you still?

I supported the bailout, but I said that it's not a perfect bill. Its one saving grace is that Congress only released a portion of the money. A new administration can revisit the effort and make sure that taxpayer money is used to serve the interests of taxpayers, not Wall Street bankers. If we get a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress in there, we will get this right.

More campaign videos from the NY-26 race

By Howard B. Owens

The DCCC has a new anti-Chris Lee ad out, recycling the same in-correct "send jobs to China" charge, even using some of the same images, but this time with actors making the charges.

Chris Lee's ad is no more honorable, and maybe worse since it ends with "I'm Chris Lee and I approve this message."

The ad incorrectly points the finger at Alice Kryzan for running the "China Jobs" spot (that was the DCCC, not the Kryzan campaign), and trouts out the same old tired, trite and meaningless "liberal trial lawyer" attack.

Here's another incendiary ad from Lee:

Regardless of what Kryzan may have said about special interest money in the primary, it's duplicitous of Lee to knock Kryzan for taking contributions from any group, since his record isn't exactly spotless.

Here's a new attack ad on Kryzan from the RCCC:

I find it scary whenever a politician attacks another for doing his or her job and providing a defense in any legal case (or a prosecution). When you level that charge what you are saying is you don't believe in the American legal system -- that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Also, it's a complete fiction that Kryzan has said she wants to raise taxes.

It kind of makes you despair for our future to watch these two campaigns -- aided and abetted by their respective national parties -- resort to distortions and misinformation to try and win a congressional seat.

Alice Kryzan goes negative on Chris Lee

By Howard B. Owens

I met Alice Kryzan at the Octoberfest in Oakfield last night. I was impressed. She's an intelligent, well-spoken, sincere candidate. I think she does have the best interest of Western New York at heart.

And all along, I've liked the fact that she's tried to keep the campaign to issues, focused on what she will do and avoid negative attack ads.  Her spokeswoman, Anne Wadsworth, has said Alice doesn't like the nasty DCCC-sponsored ad running against Republican Chris Lee.

So, it's disappointing to check YouTube this morning and find the ad embedded below.

There are two charges in the video that do not withstand scrutiny. First, that Lee thinks "the guys who messed things up" should be able to take even more risks. Second, "Lee says keep doing what we're doing."

Here's what Lee told us a couple of weeks ago:

When I asked him about how Democrats blame deregulation, and Republicans say there are still too many regulations -- such as Sarbanes-Oxley, which did nothing to help matters -- Lee said, "We have all of these new exotic financial instruments, so we need updated regulations to ensure we have control."

"There have mistakes made, and I don't like to point fingers," said Lee, adding again that both Republicans and Democrats share the blame. "I don't care about any of that. I care about getting to a solution and protecting taxpayers."

Those word directly contradict the assertion that Lee wants to "protect the guys who messed things up" and that he wants to "keep doing what we're doing."

Alice, if you disagree Lee's policies -- not that we have too much information on what Lee's policies are -- say so, but don't make things up. It reflects worse on you than Lee.

P.S.: To whomever produces Alice's commercials, Kudos. From a production values stand point they're absolutely stunning.  I don't think I've seen a shoddy commercial from Kryzan's campaign yet.  Lee's campaign would do well to hire the same firm.

Kryzan Stands With AARP on Social Security and Healthcare: Lee dodges issue again

By Anne Wadsworth

This week, thousands of voters across the 26th District received the 2008 AARP Voters' Guide, detailing the candidates' positions on a number of important issues.  Alice stands proudly with the AARP on protecting Social Security, improving the financial security of hardworking families, and making health care more affordable for all Americans.  Once again, Chris Lee takes no stand at all.

Lee refused to attend the AARP candidates' forum even though they tried to arrange a date around his schedule, and did not respond to the AARP's questions about his stand on health care, Medicare, and Social Security.  He continues to avoid taking positions on the issues important to the people of Western New York, hiding behind another lying attack ad released this week that derided people in the district as "extremist."

"While Alice stands with working families, Chris Lee only talks about more deregulation and more risk," said campaign spokesperson Anne Wadsworth. "He wants to continue the policies that led to this financial crisis, and he wants to make health care work like the financial industry. Those policies might help Chris Lee and his Wall Street friends, but they'll hurt the hardworking families of Western New York."

Alice has also been endorsed by the Alliance for Retired Americans. She will be a strong defender of Social Security in Congress, making sure that it will be there for all seniors. If people work hard and play by the rules, they should be able to earn a decent wage, provide for their families, and build a better future.

"We live in the greatest country in the world. We can and must have a society that works for all Americans," said Alice. "In Congress, I will be an independent voice for the hardworking families of this district, making sure that they achieve the security and prosperity they have worked so hard to earn."

The Boiling Point

By Daniel Jones

The Republican Party has been taken over by a bunch of kooks"-Barry Goldwater.


Since I was a small child I remember watching with a certain awe the political audacity and committment to which Western New Yorkers, especially in my home county of Genesee, committed themselves to not only political candidates but their ideas as well. Everywhere I went growing up, whether it was in Dunkin Donuts or the grocery store everyone had an opinion around election time. No matter who you were for, you were for someone and you had an opinion on everyone.

Why then, is this predominantly Republican county now registering more Democrats than Republicans? Why are even Republicans coming in our small, rural county committee's office asking for Obama/Biden, Mesi and Kryzan signs?

Perhaps their just not falling for the same old tired talking points anymore, maybe they realize what an aged Barry Goldwater said during the rise of the Religious Right (see above quote)......

We have two major competitive races in our county, one for State Senate and one for Congress. In our State Senate race we have a 20+ year incumbent Erie County legislator, a legislator who was also the biggest proponent of the policies of the Joel Giambra administration. These policies caused a bit of a crisis because Erie County, well, see, they ran out of money. He often quips that he "never voted for a tax increase,". The record shows this is true, however, he bullied those same policies through the Erie County Legislature that caused a fiscal collapse and constituted the need for massive tax increases. What Ranzenhofer is saying, in short, is this...."I caused the problem but I don't want a solution,". Nice, real nice.

On the other hand, in our Congressional race, we have Christopher J. Lee. A nice fellow and a businessman, it's true that his company does have some factories here in Western New York. Even so, his company did have manufacturing facilities in China, a fact that he tried to hide numerous times before being confronted on it during a debate, when finally being backed into a wall, Lee called it a "business policy" with something about assembling being done in China but not manufacturing. Disingenuous much? Politics of parsing on overdrive.

It finally seems that even in a deep red county like Genesee County, people are starting to pull the Democratic lever despite being traditionally Republican for years, that same opinionated attitude may very well be the downfall of a once very dominant rural Western New York Republican base.

Maybe its health care, maybe its education, maybe its the war in Iraq, maybe its the economy.

Or maybe, just maybe, the good and normally Republican voters in Genesee County have had it with the state of their party, because it's been "taken over by a bunch of kooks,"

Jon Powers to start campaigning for Alice Kryzan

By Howard B. Owens

I hate robocalls. I hate any unsolicited call from people, organizations or businesses I don't know -- political, telemarketing or otherwise.

For voters of Genesee County, they're about to get one more caller: Jon Powers.

The D&C reports that Powers is going to record a robo call for Alice Kryzan, the 26th district congressional nominee for the Democratic party.

Powers lost to Kryzan in the primary and recently endorsed his former opponent.

Powers will also be in the district between now and election day making public appearances on behalf of Kryzan.

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