Thank You

Congratulations to Rep. Velázquez on her victory in the Democratic primary yesterday. I hope she continues to do good constituent services to help the people of her district, but I think she and her colleagues in Congress need to seriously consider our message if she truly wants to help her financially struggling district.  

Thank you to our donors who made this campaign possible. Your generosity allowed us to run a solid campaign. I know I learned a lot, met a lot of people and made many new friends. If I call you in the coming weeks it will not be to ask for money, but to say thanks.

The new friends I made were especially among the more than 400 people who signed up to volunteer with our campaign. I am so impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of all the people who helped us. We should all be proud of our work.last_shot.jpeg

Congress is not working for the American people. It is working for special interest groups that want their interests advanced over the interests of others. This is what I meant by ending "good for some, bad for all." This is why its approval rating is at an all-time low. Congress should be working for the common good, but it is not.

Our democracy is in a sad state and I believe the incumbent still does not understand that taking money from PACs and lobbyists is wrong. Just because "everyone is doing it" does not make it right. Leadership is not about following the crowd. 

We can make sure every child in this country gets an excellent education. We can ensure that our seniors can have nice places to live and do not need to leave the neighborhood they grew up in. We can provide adequate healthcare to everyone. And we can have an economy that works for everyone, not just the largest corporations that pay employees so little that they need to depend on welfare. 

Our district has overcrowded schools and crumbling infrastructure. Our public housing stock has a $5 billion capital deficit over the next five years and basically half of all people spend so much on rent that they are just working to pay the rent. Too many others crowd into basements or worse, must live in shelters or suffer on the streets.

Taking money from PACs and lobbyists creates a conflict of interest. Conflicts of interest can be actual or perceived. Politicians taking money from bank or other corporate PACs may not necessarily work for the banks, but they are certainly less likely to do anything to work against their interests. Just look at how the gun manufacturing lobby prevents any meaningful new regulation to curb the senseless violence that is happening now around our country.

Democrats have an opportunity they are missing. Do we want to be the party of the people or just another party of corporate America? Are we building America Inc. where our GMO food is poisoning us and we create an underclass of uneducated people that just consume wasteful products that ruin our environment? Will wealth and income inequality continue to grow because wages continue to decline and Wall Street is allowed to continue to speculate on the price of oil? Will corporate subsidies and tax loopholes continue so that our schools remain underfunded, our teachers underpaid and our students graduating with a diploma appended with a lifelong debt obligation?

Image by Shepard Fairey on Campaign Finance ReformCorporations are designed to maximize shareholder profit. The easiest way to have more profit is to pay less taxes and have less regulation. The easiest way to pay less taxes and have less regulation is to donate to politicians through PACs and lobbyists, have the lobbyists write the laws (making sure that lawmakers are kept distracted by steak dinners and fancy parties) and then the politicians enact no meaningful regulation or reform so the system continues to the benefit of the status quo and the detriment of all. Incumbent politicians, both Democrat and Republican, do not mind this system as they maintain their power, conveniently blaming each other, but the American people needlessly suffer. I call this corruption and it makes me really angry.

Although enough voters did not hear our message this time, I am proud of the work we did to educate people on the corrupt nature of how we finance elections. Voter turnout yesterday was extremely, ridiculously low. Less than 10,000 people voted in a district with approximately 250,000 Democrats and 750,000 people. The incumbent won with less than 7,000 votes. So less than 1% of our district is sending our Congresswoman who lives outside our district back to Washington to take some more corporate PAC money to fend off reform from a challenger like myself. People are not voting and I wonder why. My answer was it must be the money. The press did not cover this election and I can only wonder if they are an accomplice since they benefit from paid media from campaigns. The media is supposed to be the "4th estate" but now, like our Congress, seems to have been bought or auctioned to the highest bidder.

So this morning I slept in late, had a coffee and a breakfast sandwich and then slept some more. I am grateful for all the hard work and support we received financially and especially in terms of the time that many great people invested with us. I will continue to educate myself and others on the corrupting influence of corporate and other money in politics. I want to thank all the people who believed in our message and shared it with others, and especially those people who went to the polls and voted. If you voted yesterday, then you deserve to celebrate the 4th of July. Finally, know that your investment in me has not been for not, as I am not giving up. 

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Let's Send a Message to Congress Together

Dear fellow New Yorker:

Poll after poll shows that voters are becoming increasingly disengaged and not participating in our democratic process. Congressional approval is at an all-time low and most voters have lost faith in the election process. This discouragement is understandable: Congress today has become absolutely ineffective as infighting and corporate interests take priority over serving the best interests of the American people. Democrats and Republicans alike have failed their constituents. Let’s turn this failure into an opportunity by sending Congress a strong message on Tuesday, June 24th.

Our Congressional district faces economic, infrastructure and housing crises that are going to take new leadership and creative community problem solving. Unemployment is nearly double the national average and median household income is 20% less than the national average - all within the most expensive city in the country. Small businesses and families are struggling to make payroll and pay bills and just about one out of every two people cannot afford the rent. I know this too well as my rent is too high and during my twelve years in New York, I have been over-employed, unemployed and underemployed.

This is why I am running for U.S. Congress in the NY-7 Democratic Primary on Tuesday, June 24. Like my fellow New Yorkers, I am tired of watching our elected officials solely represent the interests of big banks, hedge funds, military contractors, corporate farmers, gun manufacturers and other special interest groups. Washington should be fighting on behalf of the people in their districts, rather than the banks that fail to lend to small businesses and mega-corporations that pay their employees so little, full-time employees need tax-funded welfare to survive.

When elected I will represent no one but you. I have refused lobbyist, PAC and special interest money to fund my campaign. This is both as a matter of principle, and because of my commitment to an ideal of what I think our Democracy should be. Your issues will be my issues. In Woodhaven, this means dealing with parking, illegal basement apartments and improving transportation. In Carroll Gardens, this means finding ways to keep senior citizens who grew up in the neighborhood have homes to stay in. In Lower Manhattan and the rest of the district, this means working to build mixed income housing so people of all economic backgrounds can afford to stay in the neighborhoods they grew up in. We must modernize our infrastructure and invest in our teachers, students and schools if we are going to rise like our state motto ‘Excelsior’ proclaims.

Though our economy has been slowly crawling out of the recession, the upward trends have overwhelmingly favored only the wealthiest and for the last twenty years prices have only gone up while wages have stayed the same or even declined in real dollars. Wall Street and large multinationals avoid paying their fair share by using loopholes written into the tax code by their own lobbyists (promising incumbents campaign contributions), while the middle class carries increasingly unmanageable financial burdens. We must fundamentally change the way that we finance our campaigns to tackle the most important issues facing both our country and local communities. Whether that’s greening our city, improving our public housing system, fostering growth of our middle class and local entrepreneurs, or recalibrating the way our intelligence services conduct surveillance, special interests cannot be allowed to dictate these policies. Washington is broken, but it can be fixed. When I am elected your Representative, I will be working for you and I hope you will give me that honor.

Both Republican and Democrat Incumbents who are bought and paid for by big corporate special interests around our country, adopt the same campaign strategy. Stay low, don’t engage the electorate, and most importantly ensure that voters don’t find out that there’s an election around the corner. I urge you to take the time this week to look into the issues, the candidates on the ballot, and let your voice from here to Washington be heard on June 24th. Together, let’s take this opportunity to tell Congress that we want it working for us, the people.

Thank You,

Jeff Kurzon, Attorney, Candidate for New York’s 7th Congressional District

Find out more about the campaign at JeffKurzon.com

Learn about the candidates at Democracy.com

Find out where you vote at NYC.pollsitelocator.com

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Tired of Business as Usual

Republican House Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary re-election race to Dave Brat in Virginia. Why? People are tired of business as usual in Washington. It is time that people realize that this anger against Congress is not only found in the right-wing Tea Party. Every day in my district, I meet people - progressives, Democrats, hard-working New Yorkers like myself who are angry with their elected officials and ready for someone to fight for their interests and turn away from the big banks and corporations that have made Congress their puppets. They will come out on June 24th to vote out a do-nothing incumbent whose campaign coffers are overflowing with dirty money from the same entities that funded Eric Cantor. The people of my district, and in other districts around the country, are tired of a dysfunctional Congress and are ready for new leadership.

This issue is not exclusive to Democrats or Republicans. Learn who's funding & influencing our incumbents in the tune of tens of thousands of dollars at Open Secrets

Velázquez & Cantor 2014 
Goldman Sachs 
Credit Suisse Group 
Amgen Inc 
Coca Cola
American Institute of CPAs
National Restaurant Association
Independent Community Bankers
American Land Title Association
Lockheed Martin
American Bankers Association
AFLAC

Velázquez 2010-2013 & Cantor 2014
Verizon Communications
Genworth Financial
International Council of Shopping
Google
Pfizer
CME Group
Centers
AT&T
Capital One Financial
Honeywell International
UBS
American Trucking Association
New York Life Insurance

Velázquez 2010-2013 & Cantor 2010
Comcast
JPMorgan
Deloitte LLP (different names)
American Hospital Association
Bank of America
Microsoft
Boeing
General Electric
Ernst & Young
National Association of Realtors
Pricewaterhousecoopers
Metlife Inc
Northrop Grumman
Cisco Systems
National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts
KPNG LLP
American Express
American Dental Association
National Association of Convenience
Mortgage Bankers of America
National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors
Property Casualty Insurers Association of America
FedEx
Wells Fargo

Velázquez 2010-2013 & Cantor 2012
Morgan Stanley
Chicago Board Options Exchange
National Multi-Housing Council
National Association of Broadcasters
California Dairies

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Kurzon for Congress to Accept Bitcoin

New York Federal Candidate to Accept Bitcoin

Jeff Kurzon Democratic Congressional Hopeful Takes Digital Currency

 

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

June 2, 2014

CONTACT: Scott McLelland

j.scottmclelland@yahoo.com

cell: 917-549-6812

 

New York, NY — Jeffrey M Kurzon, a local attorney and former Obama organizer, announced today his campaign Kurzon for Congress is now accepting Bitcoin, the digital currency that the IRS recently ruled as a form of property. He is the first New York federal candidate to do so. Kurzon is a Democrat on the ballot for the June 24 primary. He is one of the few federal candidates in the United States to refuse monies from PACs and lobbyists.

In May the FEC announced unanimously to allow political committees to accept Bitcoin in increments up to $100 in value. Donations can be made on Kurzon for Congress’ website using Bitcoin payment processor, Coinbase.

Kurzon stated:

Big banks and corporations through their PAC and lobbyist contributions have made puppets out of Congress. Bought career politicians serve their special interests by stifling innovation to maintain the status quo and by standing in the way of preserving the internet in order to sell access to the highest bidder. Bitcoin presents an opportunity for not only our district, but also for their families around the world. About 38% of New Yorkers in our district were born outside the United States and many of these families send money overseas. Our district’s median household income is 20% below the national average. Bitcoin presents an opportunity for less friction and significantly lower transaction costs for families and small businesses than traditional financial service outlets. Much like the promise of an open internet that changed the way that we communicate and do commerce around the world, this technology has the potential to do the same in the world of financial services.

Other campaigns around the United States have begun accepting Bitcoin. Kurzon is the first candidate to do so in New York.

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What We Can Do About Inequality for All

Today I am reminded that I am on the ballot this June 24 (the corporate financed incumbent did not follow-up with her challenge even though she spent $12,000 on legal fees). Voters in Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan will have a real choice between the status quo and a chance for a new voice for them in Washington. I am proud to be the only candidate refusing PAC and lobbyist money.wealth_of_400.jpg

Having read about the film, I just got around to watching Robert Reich's film "Inequality for All." I recommend you go to your local library and watch it (if they do not have it, request it!). In a nutshell, Secretary Reich shows how economic inequality has increased since the 1970s despite overall economic growth. Our middle class is gone and we need reform. Since 2000, there has been no economic growth for those earning between $25,000 and $75,000 and this harms everyone.

It is no accident that Buckley v. Valeo was decided in 1976 (when I was born), setting the stage for Citizens United, and since that time our elections have become auctions. Unions have declined (read Steven Greenhouse's "The Big Squeeze") and continue to try and fight against the power of capital. A balance in power between Democrats (backed by unions) and Republicans (backed by corporate PACs) has not been met favorably for voters because Democrats are also backed by corporate PACs. I conclude that we as Democrats need to be more ambitious in our goal to protect the dignity of workers, work to reduce inequality, increase the wealth of the middle class and make our economic prosperity shared by more people. We can do this by investing in education and revising our tax code. First we must change who we elect and how we finance our elections.

The incumbent has an inspiring story (first Puerto-Rican woman elected to Congress), but she is part of the Democratic Party machine that has lulled the Democratic Party electorate to sleep with hollow rhetoric. Voters know that they work just as hard or harder since the 1970s, pay just as much or more in taxes and yet have little or no savings to show for it. Our middle class is gone as shown by Secretary's Reich's film.

Kurzon for Congress Volunteers

How can the United States claim the virtues of democracy globally when we have voter turnout of 10% such as in the 2012 Democratic Primary in NY-7?

Moreover, New York's 7th Congressional District has been the hardest hit since the incumbent has held office since 1992. We have a higher than average unemployment rate and we have a lower than average median household income. Only two out of three people in NY-7 graduate from high school. Combine those facts with the high cost of living in New York City and I believe my candidacy has legitimacy. We clearly need new solutions and leaders willing to compromise to improve the quality of life in New York City.

If you have any free time, please sign up to volunteer on our campaign.

If you want to invest in the future of our country, please make a donation to the only candidate not accepting monies from PACs or lobbyists.

If you are reading this on the internet (I know you are), please share it on your Facebook or Twitter and/or e-mail it to a few friends. Thank you so much for your support.

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Why is Our Incumbent Congresswoman Running Scared?

You might think she is out of touch because she does not even live in the district that she represents in Washington. (Yes, this is actually true!).

You might think she is out of touch because she is chauffeured around in a SUV.

But no! She is out of touch because she fails to recognize that her actions perpetuate a broken status quo that is “good for some, and bad for all.”

With the hard work of our volunteers supported by our individual donors, we recently turned in signatures of 3,356 voters who live in New York’s 7th Congressional District. These people either believed that I would be a good voice for them in Congress or they believe in democracy enough to say, “hey, you know what, let’s have an election. Let’s give Jeff Kurzon a chance.”

As I said when I first launched our campaign: “We are Democrats, we believe in elections.”

Apparently the incumbent Congresswoman does not because she has challenged our petition and wants to try and disenfranchise more than 3,000 voters who signed our petition.

You need 1,250 valid signatures to get on the ballot according to New York Election law. We turned in 3,356 after thirty days of knocking on doors of Democrats and asking people in the street “Are you a registered Democrat living in the district?” The weather was cold and often rainy, but we did it.

So why is the incumbent challenging the 3,356 signatures of Democrats in New York’s 7th Congressional District? She is afraid of something and my conjecture is that she is afraid of losing to a citizen who is refusing PAC and lobbyist money – a citizen such as me who is challenging the status quo. My plan is to represent the needs of the people – not the interests of the special interests. And the surest way to win for the 22 year incumbent is to knock the challenger off of the ballot.

Our campaign has, as of April 17, raised a total of $79,578 from more than 600 donors. None of these donors are PACs or lobbyists – they are all regular citizens – real people who believe in democracy and want change.

Most of us want a living wage for ourselves and our brothers and sisters living in New York and around the country. Most of us want a healthier environment. Most of us want to build new schools and hire more teachers. Most of want our food properly labelled. Most of us do not want oil companies to be subsidized with taxpayer money. Most of us believe that Wall Street is doing just fine and needs to be regulated. Most of want background checks on all gun sales. Most of us believe that wages are not high enough to pay for rent and also afford a decent standard of living. Most of us want to give our police, firefighters, MTA workers and teachers a raise. Most us want to update our infrastructure and create new jobs. Most of us want change.

Since 2010, the entrenched incumbent has accepted campaign contributions from the following list of PACs below. Can the incumbent work for you at the same time as working for the big banks and the big corporations? What conflicts do you find or see?

I am refusing all PAC and lobbyist money because I believe we need to reform the system. The incumbent benefits from the status quo and has no incentive to change the status quo. Why would any incumbent try to end the arms race of money in politics when they benefit as it lets them cling to power. The PACs and lobbyists are buying power and access and the incumbent is happy to sell. The problem is that it is your power she is selling! In return, she gets a nice SUV to roll around the district and can cling to her seat in Congress.

Do you think it is proper to serve on the House Financial Services Committee and accept contributions from bank and financial services PACs? I know it is a conflict of interest. The incumbent believes she is serving her district. What do you think?

Would it be a conflict of interest to serve on the House Agriculture Committee and accept contributions from PACs of big food companies? Would it be a conflict of interest to serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee and take contributions from big oil companies? How about the Armed Services Committee if you take contributions from PACs of defense contractors? My answers are yes, yes and yes.

Maybe you have heard about the Supreme Court rulings in Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United or most recently in McCutcheon. Maybe you share a sense that our country is not on the right track.

Maybe you are like one of our petition signers and you agree that our government is working for the big banks and the big corporations and other special interests and it should be working for the people. A recent study just released confirmed that government is marginalizing your voice and that since the incumbent has been in office government policies most often reflect the interests of powerful lobby groups (such as big banks and big business) rather than the interests of the citizenry. [Source: Gilens and Page.] We can see that the middle class has all but disappeared since the incumbent has been in office. It is time for a change.

I am Jeff Kurzon and I am proud to be the only federal candidate refusing money from PACs and lobbyists because I believe government should be working for us – and it is not. When I am elected I will work for campaign finance reform and for the people – not the special interests that perpetuate the status quo. When I win, others will lead as well. Then we can raise wages, close corporate tax loopholes and build new schools and hire more teachers. And my hope is that Democrats will once again become the party of the people – not another party of big business.

Will you contribute $25 to help me get Washington working for the people again instead of the special interests?

Here is the list of PACs the incumbent has taken money from since 2010. How might their interests be different from yours or those who live in New York’s 7th Congressional District? (Our median household income is 20% below the national average in case you were wondering). Who do you think the incumbent is really working for? Why is she running scared?

When elected this June 24, I will be working for the people of New York’s 7th Congressional District and that means you. Thank you for your support.

-Jeff Kurzon 

Update (May 4, 2014): The incumbent did not file specific objections and did not file a lawsuit despite filing general objections through her attorney and three of her supporters who live in the district (it is questionable whether she could even file an objection herself since she is not even able to vote for herself since she does not live in the district she represents).

List of donors since 2010 to the entrenched incumbent - see the PACs below (not to mention the lobbyists)

Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) National Rural Electric Cooperative

AFLAC PAC

AIR CONDITIONING CONTRACTORS OF AMERICA PAC

AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION PAC

ALSTON & BIRD PAC

American Association for Justice Political Action Committee (AAJ PAC)

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEONS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF ORTHODONTISTS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION PAC (BANKPAC)

AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION-BUSPAC POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PHYSICIAN SERVICES INC PAC; AKA ACP SERVICES PAC

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION PAC

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF ENGINEERING COMPANIES (ACEC/PAC)

AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR COMPANY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (AXPPAC)

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVT. EMPL. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE COUNTY & MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES PEOPLE

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, AFL-CIO COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL EDUCATION

AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION PAC

AMERICAN HOTEL AND LODGING ASSOCIATION PAC

AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMM

AMERICAN MOVING AND STORAGE ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (AMPAC)

AMERICAN NURSERY AND LANDSCAPE ASSOCIATION - POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION PAC

AMERICAN OSTEOPATHIC INFORMATION ASSOCIATION - OSTEOPATHIC POLITICAL ACTION C

AMERICAN PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION PHYSICAL THERAPY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (PT-PAC)

AMERICAN RENTAL ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (ARAPAC)

AMERICAN ROAD & TRANSPORTATION BUILDERS ASSOCIATION PAC

American Society Of Association Executives APAC

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF HOME INSPECTORS ASHI INSPECTPAC

American Society Of Pension Professionals & Actuaries PAC

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF TRAVEL AGENTS PAC

AMERICAN SUBCONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION, INC., POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE AKA ASA

American Sugar Cane League Of USA Inc Political Action Committee

AMERIPAC: The Fund For A Greater America

AMGEN INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

AMT - THE ASSOCIATION FOR MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY MACHINE TOOLPAC

ARCADIS U.S., INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (ARCADIS PAC)

ARCHIPAC -The American Institute Of Architects

ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTORS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

AT&T INC. FEDERAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (AT&T FEDERAL PAC)

Baker & Hostetler PAC

BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION FEDERAL PAC

BARCLAYS GROUP US INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

Bipartisan Political Action Committee/The Bank Of New York Mellon Corp. BIPAC/BNYMC

BIPARTISAN POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE/THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON CORPORATION BIPAC/BNYMC

BORDER HEALTH FEDERAL PAC

BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS INC. PAC

BROWNSTEIN HYATT FARBER SCHRECK POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

BUILD POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOME BUILDERS (BUILDPAC)

Burson-Marsteller/Young & Rubicam Political Action Committee

CALIFORNIA DAIRIES FEDERAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP. ASSOC. POLITICAL FUND

CASH AMERICA INTERNATIONAL INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

CHICAGO BOARD OPTIONS EXCHANGE PAC

CISCO Systems, Inc. Federal PAC, AKA CISCO Systems EPAC

Clear Channel Communications Inc. PAC

CME GROUP, INC. PAC (CME/CBOT/NYMEX PAC)

Comcast Corporation & NBCUniversal PAC

COMCAST CORPORATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE- FEDERAL

Committee for Hispanic Causes Building Our Leadership Diversity PAC

COMMITTEE ON LETTER CARRIERS POLITICAL EDUCATION (LETTER CARRIERS POLITICAL ACTION FUND)

COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA-COPE POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS COMMITTEE

COZEN O'CONNOR POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

CREDIT SUISSE SECURITIES (USA) LLC POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

CROWE PAC

CTIA - THE WIRELESS ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

CULAC The PAC Of Credit Union National Association

CUMMINS INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (CIPAC)

DEERE & COMPANY PAC (AKA JOHN DEERE PAC)

DELOITTE FEDERAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

DISCOVER FINANCIAL SERVICES POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

DRIVE - DEMOCRAT, REPUBLICAN, INDEPENDENT VOTER EDUCATION

EBAY INC-COMMITTEE FOR RESPONSIBLE INTERNET COMMERCE

Edwards Wildman PAC, Inc.

EMPIRE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

EMPLOYEES OF NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION PAC

ENGINEERS POLITICAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE (EPEC)/INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS

ENTERGY CORPORATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (ENPAC)

ERNST & YOUNG POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

EXPERIAN NORTH AMERICA, INC POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (EXPERIAN PAC)

FEDEXPAC FEDERAL EXPRESS POLITI- CAL ACTION

FINANCIAL PLANNING ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

FLORIDA SUGAR CANE LEAGUE PAC

GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (GEPAC)

GENWORTH FINANCIAL INC POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

GOOGLE INC. NETPAC

GREAT LAKES SUGARBEET GROWERS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

HARDWOOD FEDERATION PAC, INC

HEWLETT PACKARD COMPANY PAC

HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

HSBC NORTH AMERICA POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (H-PAC)

HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN PAC

ICPI PaverPAC Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute PaverPAC

Independent Community Bankers Of America Political Action Committee

Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Of America, Inc. Political Action Committee (INSURP

INSURED RETIREMENT INSTITUTE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (IRI PAC)

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS INTERESTED IN REGISTRATION AND EDUCATION PAC

International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers Political Action Committee

International Council Of Shopping Centers Inc Political Action Committee (ICSC PAC)

INTERNATIONAL SECURITIES EXCHANGE PAC

INTUIT 21ST CENTURY LEADERSHIP FUND

INVESTMENT COMPANY INSTITUTE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (ICI PAC)

JOBS, OPPORTUNITIES AND EDUCATION PAC (JOE-PAC)

JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. FEDERAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

KPMG PARTNERS/PRINCIPALS & EMPLOYEES PAC

LEADERSHIP OF TODAY AND TOMORROW

LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION EMPLOYEES' POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

MACHINISTS NON PARTISAN POL LEAGUE OF THE INT'L ASSN OF MACHINISTS & AEROSPAC

MACY'S INC. RETAIL ISSUES FUND

MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION FOR PRIVATE PHOTOGRAMMETRIC SURVEYORS PAC (MAPPS

MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL INC. EMPLOYEES' PAC

McDonald's Corporation Political Action Committee

METLIFE INC. EMPLOYEES' POLITICAL PARTICIPATION FUND A

MICROSOFT CORPORATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

MINN-DAK FARMERS COOPERATIVE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (MDFPAC)

MORGAN STANLEY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NASDAQ OMX GROUP, INC. PAC (NASDAQ PAC)

NAT'L TELECOMMUNICATIONS COOPERATIVE ASSN./TELECOMMUNICATIONS EDUCATION COMMITTEE ORG.

NATIONAL ACTIVE AND RETIRED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION C

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (NABPAC)

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONVENIENCE STORES POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEVELOPMENT COMPANIES - 504PAC

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FEDERAL CREDIT UNIONS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

National Association of Home Builders PAC

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL ADVISORS POLITICAL ACTION COMM

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANIES PAC

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PLUMBING-HEATING-COOLING CONTRACTORS PAC AKA PHCC

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS, INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WHEAT GROWERS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (WHEATPAC

NATIONAL COMMITTEE TO PRESERVE SOCIAL SECURITY & MEDICARE PAC

NATIONAL CONCRETE MASONRY ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NATIONAL COURT REPORTERS ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NATIONAL CUSTOMS BROKERS & FORWARDERS ASSOCIATION PAC

NATIONAL LUMBER AND BUILDING MATERIAL DEALERS ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMM

NATIONAL MARINE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION'S BOAT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NATIONAL MULTI HOUSING COUNCIL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NATIONAL OFFICE PRODUCTS ALLIANCE-OFFICE FURNITURE DEALERS ALLIANCE PAC

NATIONAL PROPANE GAS ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NATIONAL READY MIXED CONCRETE ASSN. PAC (CONCRETEPAC)

NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION PAC

NATIONAL ROOFING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION ROOF PAC

NATIONAL SOCIETY OF ACCOUNTANTS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NATIONAL STONE, SAND & GRAVEL ASSOCIATION ROCKPAC

National TELECOMMUNICATIONS COOPERATIVE ASSN./TELECOMMUNICATIONS EDUCATION COMMITTEE ORG

NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

NATIONAL UTILITY CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION AND ACTION

National Venture Capital Association VenturePAC

NEA Fund For Children And Public Education

New Millennium PAC

NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

Off the Sidelines PAC

OWNER-OPERATOR INDEPENDENT DRIVERS ASSN INC POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (AKA OOIDA-PAC)

PEPSICO, INC. CONCERNED CITIZENS FUND

PFIZER INC PAC - CT (PFIZER PAC - CT)

PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND INC. PAC

PLUMBERS LOCAL UNION NO. 1 NYC-POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

Political Action Committee - Federal (Fidelity PAC)

PRAGMATICS INCORPORATED POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE I

PRINCIPAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

PROPERTY CASUALTY INSURERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

RENT-A-CENTER, INC. GOOD GOVERNMENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

SECURITIES INDUSTRY AND FINANCIAL MARKETS ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

SEIU COPE (Service Employees International Union Committee On Political Education)

SHEET METAL WORKERS' INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION LEAGUE

Sierra Club Political Committee

SMALL BUSINESS INVESTOR ALLIANCE PAC

Society Of American Florists Political Action Committee

SODEXO INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

SOUTHERN MINNESOTA BEET SUGAR COOPERATIVE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

TEACHERS INSURANCE ANNUITY ASSOC OF AMERICA COLLEGE RETIREMENT EQUITIES FUND PAC TIAA-CREF

THE BOEING COMPANY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

THE CHUBB CORPORATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE-CHUBBPAC

THE GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP, INC. POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

The Madison PAC

TITLE INDUSTRY POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS COMMITTEE

Tri-State Maxed-Out Women Inc.

TRUCKING POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE OF THE AMERICAN TRUCKING ASSOCIATIONS INC.

Truedem Leadership Fund

UBS AMERICAS FUND FOR BETTER GOVERNMENT

UNITE HERE TIP CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE

Univision Communications Inc. Political Action Committee

VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC./VERIZON WIRELESS GOOD GOVERNMENT CLUB (VERIZON/VERIZON WIRELES

Votesane PAC

We The People PAC

WELLS FARGO AND COMPANY EMPLOYEE PAC (AKA WELLS FARGO EMPLOYEE PAC)

WEXLER & WALKER PUBLIC POLICY ASSOCIATES PAC (A UNIT OF HILL & KNOWLTON)

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Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day. Last year I wrote about the need to recognize all love as being equal. And then I proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation

JeffValentinesDay.jpg

In the meantime, the Supreme Court overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act and the federal government must now recognize same-sex marriages from states where it is legal. 

When elected, I will work to pass this constitutional amendment. I would like to combine it with the Equal Rights Amendment so to also prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender. I believe sexual orientation and gender are characteristics that should be protected from any form of discrimination under the law.

But States can still discriminate against our brothers and sisters. I believe in separation of church and state and separation of state and bedroom. We should all be equal under the law and the law should not discriminate or deny anyone's freedom. 

We are one nation that values freedom and equality. Let's truly make it that way. With your help, we can.

Happy Valentine's Day. Please spread the love to all and thank you for your love and support. 

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What Black History Month Means to Me

Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Depends on whether you are drinking or pouring.Bill Cosby

Black History Month is a time to celebrate African-American history, culture, music and the many contributions African Americans have made to our country.  Education, reading and writing are ways we can remember the past and know a better future. The Invisible Man - Riverside Park, Harlem

There are many references around New York City to African-American History and one of my favorites is literary. I remember when I lived in Harlem it reminded me that no matter our background, race, etc. we are all human and can at times feel alone and invisible. I used to go down and walk by the Ralph Ellison statute in Riverside Park and return there to ponder its meaning. 

Last week I celebrated Black History Month at SUNY - York College with the York College Division of Student Development and the Greater Queens Chapter of The Links, Inc. Dr. Bill Cosby and Dr. Frank Savage discussed their latest books with Ms. Cheryl Willis.  I recommend to all celebrating Black History Month as a way of learning more about yourself and the rich traditions of African-Americans who have made our city and nation so great.  I am grateful to the generous women of The Links, Inc. and York College for putting together such a special event for their students and the public.

At the event I was reminded that being human involves struggle. We are bound together by the history of slavery in our country, the Jim Crow laws and the ongoing struggle for equality. We know this struggle too for women, for people of different sexual orientations and even now for the worsening and gross economic inequality in our country. We’ve seen discrimination against Chinese-Americans, Japanese Americans, Mexican-Americans, Native-Americans and virtually every ethnic and racial group at one time or another. We all only have one life and we all deserve the same level of dignity and the same opportunities. Slavery still exists in the world and we should make every effort to end it and support its victims.

Bill Cosby (left) and Jeff Kurzon (right)I was also struck by what Dr. Cosby said, “If you have something funny, write it down.” But I do not think it always needs to be funny. If you have something you think may be important, write it down. I’m sure Dr. Cosby would agree. 

Professor Charles Coleman receiving the Student Development Award gave a similar message, “Read, and if you are a parent, read to your kids – and let them see you reading.”

Dr. Cosby also said “We need to be a nation of people who give.”  Giving the gift of literacy may be the best gift possible so every educator is a hero.  To read, to write, to share is to be human. Promoting education we increase equality, end ignorance, promote justice and fairness and make ourselves all-around happier.

I may never know what it is like to be Black (e.g. a friend bought me Baratunde’s book – How to be Black – maybe as a subtle reference, of what or to what, I am not sure). But I am grateful to Dr. Cosby and all African-Americans, including our President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, who inspire young people of all colors to be better neighbors and members of the community.  Go forth young man, read, write and make as much funny as you can! 

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The Shelter is a Respite (My Two Nights Volunteering for People without Homes)

Last night I slept in the basement of The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue on a cot. I did the same last week. And I look forward to doing it again. Besides functioning as a place of worship, the Synagogue partners with Camba to provide beds and a hot meal made by volunteers to people without homes.  If you are interested in learning more, or volunteering at the shelter yourself, more information can be found here. I highly recommend it.

Here is what I got out of the experience:

  • My thinking has changed after meeting the men at the "shelter." "Homeless" is a strange word to describe someone. I prefer people without homes. In French it is "sans domicile fixe" or "sdf" (literally: without a fixed domicile). Would you describe someone as homeful just because they had a nice apartment?
  • A shelter is where beds are assigned a number - technically the shelter is a "respite," and I think it is a nice term since it provides a break from the unpleasantness of not having a home for the men who need it, but also for the volunteers since they eat with the men. (The volunteers and the men sleep in different rooms adjacent to each other).  The night of the bad storm, the buses from Camba were not running to the shelter, so the men had to sleep in chairs.
  • The guests at the shelter are kind, generous and thoughtful.  So many New Yorkers are one rent check away from being in the same position. Many of the men have jobs or businesses, but for some unfortunate circumstance ended up without a home (a death of a spouse, a DUI and loss of a job, etc.). The men who had been there before helped with the tasks of volunteering.
  • The volunteers and staff at the Synagogue are also kind, generous and thoughtful. Spending time with two other volunteers - one a teacher and one a retired attorney - was also a highlight.
  • You do not need to be Jewish to volunteer.
  • The first night the "cook" donated Chinese food and last night we had baked ziti and brownies made by a generous family. 
  • Learned from a Rabbi who came last night: most shelters and food banks do fine around holidays - it is the periods in between that need the most help and support.
  • Learned from the teacher who has been volunteering once a year for the last twenty years: When homelessness in New York City was out of hand in the 1980s - the City asked religious institutions to help. BHS started their great program 30 years ago. Lucky for me my first time volunteering was right before the 30 year anniversary dinner. See the Brooklyn Paper photo and coverage here
  • Learned from the attorney: hiking and water aerobics keeps you young, but also that the constitutional amendment I proposed to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation should probably be combined with the Equal Rights Amendment that organizers of her generation had fought for. (Who knew that volunteering at a synagogue would help me get in touch with my feminist side?)
  • By giving you receive - I felt as though I got more out of volunteering - learning, food, meeting interesting people - than I gave to the men I was there to help, so I am indebted to them and also the Synagogue and I applaud them on their mission. Hard to believe that a couple of the men I met even offered to help me on election day!

Our economy needs to improve and this includes working on ensuring that everyone has a safe and decent place to live. This has always been a priority for me. If you are interested in our campaign's housing policy, you can learn more here. Of course, your input and feedback is always appreciated on our contact page.

 

Jeff_in_Synagogue.jpgSource: The Brooklyn PaperPhoto by Stefano Giovannini

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Our Environment: How Good for Some, Bad for All Threatens our Health and Well-Being

The idea of protecting the environment wasn’t always so “controversial.” Just a few decades ago in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was created by an executive order from the desk of Republican President Richard M. Nixon. Major environmental laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act, which mandates environmental review of major federal actions, were also signed into law that same year with almost unanimous bipartisan support. While Democrats tended to support stronger and better environmental protection policies than Republicans, there was a general bipartisan consensus that at least some environmental protection was necessary, both for the health of the public and the health of the economy.

That reasonable consensus no longer exists. In June 2009, the Democrat controlled House of Representatives narrowly passed (219 to 212) the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would have created a “cap-and-trade” system among energy producers (like power plants) for greenhouse gases. The Act was designed to guarantee significant reductions in the greenhouse gas emissions that are heating our planet, acidifying our oceans, and causing an increase in unpredictable, extreme weather events. It was also broadly considered, among mainstream economists, to be a “market-friendly” approach to dealing with the problem of climate change; less onerous on business than a simple flat tax on greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the moderate nature of this legislation, only eight of 178 Republican House members voted for it. After it narrowly passed the House, Senate Republicans unanimously opposed the Act, and it was never even brought to the floor for a vote.

 Slide1.jpg I’m running for Congress to end the corrupting role of money in politics. In the case of clean energy and climate legislation, this corruption affects both parties, but it would be misleading to blame them equally. 

What we know is that in the 2008-2014 election cycles, the fossil fuel industry has focused its massive financial resources on favorable legislation and de-regulation, with 83% of its donations going to Republican congressional candidates, and 17% going to Democratic congressional candidates ($112,864,315 to $22,709,515) (Center for Responsive Politics).

And by no doubt, and by no coincidence, the fossil fuel industry’s “investment” has paid off well for their bottom line, while threatening our health and well-being and the stability of the climate on which we all rely. In addition to fighting and obstructing any efforts by President Obama or congressional Democrats to confront the serious and urgent problem of climate change, congressional Republicans are now so completely corrupt that they oppose basic, longstanding environmental protections. After the Republicans gained control of the House they voted nearly two hundred times in 2011 alone to weaken or eliminate fundamental environmental protections that were previously endorsed by Democrats and Republicans for four decades (Bob Deans, Reckless: The Political Assault on the American Environment, p. 1 (2012).

The U.S. Republican Party is an outlier among democratic governments - No other democracy economically comparable to ours has a major party that is so hostile toward the idea of environmental protection, or so dominated by climate-change deniers. And that fact is a sad product of our significantly corrupted political system, in which elections are often decided not by which candidate’s ideas most appeal to the majority of his or her constituents, but by which candidate is most willing to serve the very wealthiest interests in our society by accepting PAC and lobbyist donations.

We cannot adequately meet the challenges of confronting climate change, protecting our environment and public health, and expanding economic opportunity in a sustainable way until we elect far more good people to Congress who are passionate about public service, rather than merely advancing their own careers. When I am elected to represent New York’s Seventh District, I will work aggressively with other members of Congress to meet these challenges head-on. Because I do not accept campaign donations from corporate PACs or lobbyists, you can be confident that I will be completely dedicated to serving New Yorkers in the great communities I represent.

The American clean energy sector is already expanding significantly and creating good-paying jobs, thanks largely to the investments contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009 (and not a single Republican House member voted for). But our country is capable of doing so much more to promote clean energy and create good-paying jobs. While helping to ameliorate climate change, a vibrant clean energy economy can help build the pathway to prosperity for tens of millions of Americans. We also need to invigorate our educational system to pay teachers more and invest in science, technology, engineering and math studies so the next generation of Americans will be better prepared to confront these growing challenges. I will fight to enact the policies that will turn that potential into reality. But I need your support to help make it happen. Thank you. 

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