Who am I?
My name is Patricia Maher and I am the designated Democratic Candidate in the 2nd Congressional District for Nassau and Suffolk County. I come from a not-for-profit background having been the Director of Development and Community Education whose mission was to educate the public about seizure disorders. I was responsible for supervising the Educational Outreach for both Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the liaison for the organization for community, civic and business organizations.
I was previously a candidate for Nassau County Legislator in 2011 and received the endorsement from numerous unions and Long Island papers, including the Long Island Federation of Labor, Newsday, the Nassau County PBA, NYC PBA, CSEA Local 830 and many more. I ran a primary and won with 60% of the vote. I worked with the Nassau County Legislature to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 19 years old, helping to pass Tobacco 19 into law in Nassau County.
I am a graduate of Hofstra University with an M.A. in Humanities and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of South Carolina (USC). I worked for a State Senator Marshall B. Williams, former Chairman of the Banking and Insurance Committee, Columbia, South Carolina. I am a former CSEA Member, Local 830 for Nassau County.
I have been working for years to make Nassau County an affordable place to live. For many years I have held housing forums. Some of the forums were held in conjunction with the Long Island Housing Partnership. Residents took action that has encouraged government to pass laws to create affordable new homes for residents in Nassau County.
Why am I running?
I am running to better represent all of the residents of newly redrawn 2nd Congressional District of New York. The district faces a variety of challenges: from the decline of small businesses on main streets and downtowns, to the heroin epidemic, to rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy. We have the highest taxes in the country and Congress does not hear us.
I believe I can be a force that strongly represents my district while working with not only members of my own party, but also the other side of the aisle to pass effective legislation.
I also am very in touch with Veteran’s Organizations and Nurses organizations. My mother was a Navy Nurse and her brother was a Lt. Commander on the USS Intrepid. I come from a family involved with the Fire Department who worked for years at Ground Zero in New York City.
My opponent, Peter King, is the epitome of everything that is wrong in Washington today. A 22 year incumbent, King has not only presided over increasing income inequality, the decline of the middle class, rising inflation and persistent budget deficits, but has supported the very policies that have created these problems. He is out of touch with his newly redrawn district, last year declaring a long- shot bid for President in 2016 and making frequent trips to New Hampshire instead of paying attention to his constituency.
Worst of all, King actively supported and fundraised for NORAID which was the alleged fundraising arm for the IRA. NORAID is an organization that the British, Irish and U.S. governments had accused of financing IRA activities and providing them with weapons. From the 1970s-1990s, the IRA received weapons and training from various international sources, most notably Libya and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).Yet in 2011 King had the audacity to hold McCarthy-esque hearings on the Muslim-American community, accusing them of being radicalized for terrorism. His credibility and the authority to condemn terrorism, when he supported it in Northern Ireland, is sorely in question.
Furthermore, King says that he wants to preserve Social Security and Medicare, yet supported President Bush's privatization plan in 2005 and more recently, voted for the Paul Ryan budget that would gut both of these earned benefit programs. King also voted against half of the population of his district in 2009 by voting "NO" on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which addressed this unfair and unacceptable wage gap for Women.
And when Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island, King declared that anyone who gave money to a Republican who voted against the Sandy relief bill was out of their minds. But then King, sold out his constituents by donating $1,000 to the Senate campaign of Rep. Tom Cotton, who voted against relief.
The hypocrisy must end. We need progressive voices in Congress that fight for everyone, not just for the richest 1% and multinational corporations. I believe that I can be that voice for the district.
1. Strengthening and expanding Social Security. As pensions are cut and personal savings are at an all-time low due to stagnating wages and income inequality, Social Security is more essential than ever for retirement security. I want to scrap the payroll tax cap to increase the program's funding, extend the Student Benefit to college students who have a retired, disabled or deceased parent, and increase benefits to retirees by switching to a higher measure of inflation (CPI-E).
2. Renegotiating free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA that have cost jobs and have undermined American sovereignty, while fighting against proposed free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We need fair trade agreements that promote democracy, that contain strong labor and environmental standards, and that put the American people first.
3. Raising the minimum wage. In real terms, the minimum wage has declined in value for almost forty years. By making the minimum wage the living wage that it was intended to be, millions of Americans will be able to support themselves without government assistance, and would stimulate the economy through increased consumer demand. No one working full-time should live in poverty.
My DFA Values
I am one of the founding members of the Long Island Bring Back Our Girls Coalition combined of clergy throughout Suffolk County, political leaders and civic activists. We were recently featured in Sunday’s Newsday fighting to bring the 276 girls kidnapped by the terrorist organization Boko Haram in Nigeria. I believe the United Nations should enact economic sanctions against the Nigerian government to put pressure on the terrorist organization. The government has been criticized for not acting soon enough, almost two weeks before they asked for help to rescue the girls.
Community: My campaign will be inclusive, incorporating a wide variety of people of different political beliefs and backgrounds, but who are united in making Long Island a better place to live. This means revitalizing the main streets and downtowns that form the foundation of our communities, protecting earned benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare that empower our senior citizens and provide retirement security, and keeping and attracting good jobs here. As a community, we have a responsibility, an obligation to give our children a quality education that will make them productive and responsible citizens. In addition, our veterans do not deserve to be left behind: they need quick access and more funding to the care and support they need and those that have had PTSD need to have treatment without being ostracized by the armed forces. Many have suffered and been discharged without benefits.
Security: America is a truly an exceptional country. Democracy is our way of life, and our commitment to this way of life is what binds us together rather than any shared ancestry or culture. In foreign relations, we should export democracy through all means and at the very last resort through force, by working through diplomacy alongside other democratic nations. What will make us secure is an assertive foreign policy that protects us, but doesn't overextend us and make us vulnerable to attack.
Liberty: I believe in the separation of church and state, which allows the freedom of religion to flourish. I believe in the liberty of all Americans to have the equal opportunity to make a living and to provide for themselves and their families. However, threats to this liberty include big money in politics that drowns out the voice of the public, and the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program. We must overturn the Citizens United and McCutcheon Supreme Court decisions, and find the NSA's actions to be unconstitutional.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I am in the process of putting together forums for many of the Spanish speaking communities in the 2nd Congressional District with leaders in the educational field to impress upon youth the power of not only a high-school education, but a college degree. The forum will focus on encouraging those that have dropped out of high-school to return through the GED process. The college completion for Hispanics is around 18%. The focus should be on Hispanics at a early age starting with more Hispanic children in universal pre-k , greater parent involvement in all Title 1 schools across the U.S. and reducing the failure of Hispanics on college placement exams.
I am a former union member and I am currently reaching out to many of the local unions, including the teachers and the various trades. I actively speak at the numerous churches that are the centers of social life for many communities in my district. Right now, I have been invited to visit and speak with veterans at various halls. From here, I hope to establish a base of support for my campaign that is able to attract more people.