Back in the 70's John Hall was a rock 'n' roller with Orleans, the band he co-founded and with whom he wrote such classic hits as "Dance With Me" and "Still The One". The John Hall of 2006 wants to be the next Congressman from Upstate New York's 19th district, which includes all of Putnam County and portions of Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Westchester counties. Hall's locked in a heated race with six-term Republican Sue Kelly, and if he has anything to say about it, Kelly's on her way back home to Katonah. Can John Hall win one of the 15 seats Democrats need to take control of the U.S. House of representatives? Absolutely. He's an aggressive campaigner with an overall message that resonates with a majority of Americans today. We recently interviewed Hall to get his thoughts on a number of topical issues:
Ostroy Report: John, you're running against a 6-term Republican, in a district which President Bush won by 9 points in '04. What makes you think you can win?
Hall: First of all, voter registration shows this district to be almost evenly divided between Democrats, Republicans and those with no party affiliation. And from what I'm hearing around the district, voters--of all stripes--want change in Washington. They want leaders who are ready to make bold decisions about our future. Sue Kelly has been a steady, loyal supporter of the ruinous Bush administration policies. Voters are telling me they've had enough.
Ostroy Report: You're on record as saying "I believe that Bill Clinton was impeached for personal misbehavior and lies about it, but that President Bush has committed more serious and deadly actions which are possible abuses of power and may be impeachable offenses." If elected, will you support censure and/or impeachment of President Bush?
Hall: Independent investigations should take place to show proof of wrongdoing before anyone rushes to judgment.
Ostroy Report: Have voters in your district lost their faith and trust in Bush?
Hall: On a whole I believe they have. Interestingly, I'm hearing from scores of rock-rib Republicans who say the President's actions and Sue Kelly's rubberstamping of his policies are causing them to vote for Democrats this time around.
Ostroy Report: Let's talk about what most voters say is the number one issue: the Iraq war. What's your position, particularly with how and when to withdraw our troops? Are you in support of a Kerry/Murtha type timetable?
Hall: The fact that the Bush administration doesn't seem to have a plan other than "staying the course" should trouble all Americans. We should extricate our troops as quickly as possible by transferring control to a true multinational force. We must renounce any claim on permanent military bases and on control of Iraq’s oil. If this administration is not willing to give up decision making power to the Iraq government, the U.N. or a true coalition of other nations during a transition, then I would vote for orderly but immediate withdrawal. The Iraqi people, in public opinion polls, say they want the U.S. gone. Americans, in their majority, now oppose the war.
Ostroy Report: Let's shift to the Mark Foley scandal. Is the former Congressman guilty of any criminal violations, especially the laws he himself helped outline in his Adam Walsh Child Protect and Safety Act?
Hall: I won't comment on former Rep. Foley's misdeeds. A better question is, was there a systematic cover-up by the Republican leadership of Foley's actions, which reports say stretched back through the time my opponent was Chair of the House Page Board? And, why won't anyone stand up and take responsibility for letting this take place to begin with? For the Republicans, like my opponent, who are embroiled in this scandal, saving their political hides is much more important than the the safety and care of these children.
Ostroy Report: Onto a critical domestic issue: the budget deficit. How can we control spending and reduce our record debt?
Hall: We've spent nearly $400 billion on the war in Iraq, continue to subsidize profitable corporations with taxpayer dollars and have given the richest Americans a tax break amounting to nearly $2 trillion when all is said and done. Even rolling back these actions a trifle would save us huge amounts.
Ostroy Report: We're just three weeks away from the midterm elections, where the Democrats chances of winning both the House and Senate have never been better. How concerned are you about election fraud?
Hall: Around the country, in general, it's an important issue and should be addressed in a bi-partisan effort. I don't see it as a problem in the 19th CD.
Ostroy Report: In your opinion, what's the biggest issue facing America today, and how will you help address it?
Hall: The biggest issue of the days are ending the war in Iraq, achieving universal health care with an affordable prescription drug plan and finding safe, clean, renewable solutions to our energy needs. I will work hard for all these objectives. My ideas on how to attain all this can be found on my website http://www.johnhallforcongress.com/.
Ostroy Report: Before we let you go John, your prediction for November:
Hall: I think that Democrats will do extremely well this November given the present political climate. People look at the Bush administration's continuing record of failures and see Republican leaders in Congress without a clue on how to right the ship. I want to go to Washington and change things and return government to the people.
Ostroy Report: Thanks John. Good luck.
John Hall is the kind of Democrat we need to send to Washington. I urge you to do your best to support his candidacy. Click here to contribute to his campaign.