Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New York: John Hall Announces Run For Congress in 19th District

John Hall, a former Ulster County legislator, school board president, activist and renown musician – perhaps best known as a founding member of the band Orleans, which had hits "Still the One" and "Dance With Me" -- has announced his candidacy for United States Congress in New York's 19th Congressional District.

Hall, 57, has entered the process for the Democratic primary, which he hopes will end in him running next year against seven-term Republican Sue Kelly.

Kelly is a rubber-stamp Bush Republican who is one of the biggest feeders at the Tom DeLay campaign trough, accepting over $12,000 from ARMPAC, DeLay's political action committee.

"I've always been proud of our country, but we all deserve to be proud of our government," said Hall, in a message on his web site. "Dishonesty, cronyism, and pandering to special interests have damaged the reputation and interests of the United States of America both at home and around the world."

"If elected, I will be a voice for truth. No more 'Clear Skies' initiative that allows more greenhouse gases in our air; no more 'Healthy Forests' plan that lets timber companies build roads and cut prime trees in our national forests. No more tax 'reform' bills that result in a greater gap between rich and poor, and especially no more wars based on false premises."

Others hoping to gain the Democratic nomination include Yorktown Councilman James Martorano, lawyer Judy Aydelott and Ben Shuldiner, 28, a Brooklyn high school principal from Cortlandt.

The House Democratic Campaign Committee in Washington, which has identified about 45 seats nationwide as targets for a switch from Republican to Democrat next year, says Kelly's seat is "definitely a top target," according to spokeswoman Adrienne Elrod.

But it is Hall who has a compelling blend of demonstrated community activism coupled with the show-business fame that may prove to be the best formula to unseat Kelly. He has been active in environmental and community affairs in the Hudson Valley for more than three decades. He now lives in Dover Plains with his wife Pamela Bingham Hall, a Vassar graduate and former Tennessee Assistant Attorney General. He has a twenty-six-year-old daughter who is in graduate school.

"In addition to military strength, we must recognize that education, healthcare and energy independence built on clean, domestic, alternative sources are vital to our national security," said Hall, who says a major part of his platform is to "redefine national security."

"In Congress, I will be a real voice for real people, advocating for honesty and competence throughout our government," Hall continued. "If fifteen seats change hands in the House of Representatives, Democrats can start to restore checks and balances to this one-party government."

Whomever gets the Democratic nomination faces an uphill battle as Kelly was re-elected with 67 percent of the vote in a predominantly Republican district that will also see no shortage of GOP money pouring in as the national party fights to save this seat

While this is true, there are a lot of Democrats in liberal areas of Westchester County and New York City who may leap at the opportunity to fight locally and do our part to take back the House of Representatives in 2006. So whoever gets the Democratic nomination has the opportunity for a lot of financial and volunteer support.

Having fought with the Bush administration once already in getting them to stop using his song "Still the One" on the Bush-Cheney campaign trail last year, Hall sounds like he's up for it.

"I've been watching the news and get upset, and my wife told me to stop yelling at the TV and do something, or just change the channel," he said. "So I decided to do something."