Nate Shinagawa ’05, M.A. ’09 accused his Republican opponent in the race for New York State’s 23rd Congressional seat as being a “part of the problem” in Washington, D.C. in an appearance on MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes on Sunday morning.
Tying his opponent, Congressman Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) to the conservative Tea Party movement, the Tompkins County legislator channeled the populist liberal message he’s championed on the campaign trail.
“He went in there, this whole Tea Party movement went in there, to change Washington, and he ended up becoming part of the problem,” Shinagawa said.
According to Shinagawa, Reed and other conservative members of Congress haven’t done enough to help average Americans who continue to struggle to keep their jobs and pay their bills because of the financial crisis.
“I think what voters are concerned about is that this status quo means that fairness doesn’t pay off in this country — and that there isn’t fairness in this country,” Shinagawa said. “And so working and middle class people feel like they’re being left behind, and that status quo that this Tea Party Congress is a part of, they’re continuing that.”
Shinagawa said he wanted to “bring back fairness to all the policies we have out there” and would support a budget that invests in infrastructure and education while making sure the wealthiest Americans “pay their fair share” to help fund it. Noting that his opponents have raised $790,000 from corporate political action committees, Shinagawa said that part of restoring that fairness is getting money out of politics.
“[The] influence of money is a huge problem. That’s why we need to absolutely be pushing, especially as progressives, for public financing of elections so we get the money out of politics and actually get democracy in the hands of middle class people,” Shinagawa said.
Shinagawa, 28, will become the youngest member of Congress if he can defeat Reed in the November general election. The race in the conservative, newly-redrawn 23rd District has been targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as one of the 25 critical to their efforts to retake the House of Representatives in 2012, The Sun reported on June 27.