October 15, 2004: Headlines: COS - Nepal: Congress: Politics: Election2004 - Walsh: Ithica Journal: RPCV James Walsh receives minimum challenge in 25th District

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nepal: RPCV James Walsh (Nepal) : Special Report: RPCV Congressman James Walsh: October 15, 2004: Headlines: COS - Nepal: Congress: Politics: Election2004 - Walsh: Ithica Journal: RPCV James Walsh receives minimum challenge in 25th District

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RPCV James Walsh receives minimum challenge in 25th District

RPCV James Walsh receives minimum challenge in 25th District

RPCV James Walsh receives minimum challenge in 25th District

Walsh receives minimum challenge in 25th District

Gannett News Service

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Jim Walsh is living every incumbent politician's dream.

The eight-term Republican is seeking re-election in the 25th District with no Democratic opponent and enough campaign cash to share with GOP candidates throughout New York and the nation. His only challenger is a long-shot, third-party candidate with little money.

So how'd Walsh get so lucky?

The incumbent points to his high re-election margins in recent years. He won 69 percent of the vote in 1998 and 2000 and 72 percent in 2002. Two years ago, he even beat his Democratic opponent, Stephanie Aldersley, in her hometown of Irondequoit.

"That sends a pretty strong message to other Democrats," Walsh said.

Walsh, 57, is especially formidable because he is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, a job that enables him to bring tens of millions of dollars back to his district.

Walsh, who chairs an appropriations subcommittee, brought back more than $204 million from fiscal years 2002 through 2004, according to a list of projects provided by his staff.

Because his subcommittee makes decisions on how to spend money for scientific research and environmental protection, Walsh has focused much of his efforts on securing money to improve water quality and fund research in New York. He has won about $21.5 million for the Greater Rochester Infotonics Technology Center since 2002.

"It's a challenge because the funds are very tight," Walsh said. "But if I want to make sure certain water projects or science research programs get funded, they get funded because I write the bill. And I have no qualms about getting as much as I can for Upstate New York."

Even Howie Hawkins, the candidate of the Peace and Justice Party, gives the congressman high marks for funneling money into the district, which includes Cortland and much of the area just south of Lake Ontario.

"In terms of his constituent services and his use of seniority to bring money back to the district, I think he's pretty good," said Hawkins, a 51-year-old Teamster. "I'll grant him that."

But Hawkins said Walsh is also "a yes man" for President Bush, supporting the White House on the war in Iraq and spending too much on defense and not enough on health care, education and jobs.

Hawkins advocates withdrawing from Iraq within six months, creating a universal health care system and creating federal jobs for those who have lost work in the private sector.

"I want to win, I'm trying to win, but I know the odds are long," said Hawkins, who works unloading trucks for United Parcel Service.

Meanwhile, Walsh is looking ahead to what he wants to accomplish in his ninth term if re-elected. With the Appropriations Committee scheduled to change chairmen, Walsh says he may be leading a different subcommittee in 2005. He said he'll scramble for whichever one he thinks will help Upstate New York most.

"I've traveled all over the world," said Walsh, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. "And there's no better place to live than Upstate New York -- if you have a job. I want to continue to make the kind of investment in New York that will ensure that people can stay here and enjoy a good quality of life."

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Story Source: Ithica Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Nepal; Congress; Politics; Election2004 - Walsh



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