November 1, 2010

The Sun Endorses…

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FOR CONGRESSMAN: Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.)

Today, as voters in New York’s 22nd Congressional district head to the polls, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) faces his stiffest electoral challenge since 1994’s Republican Revolution. While the national political climate has turned more conservative-friendly since 2008, Hinchey has maintained a firm commitment to his progressive principles. Now more than ever, Congress needs representatives who are willing and able to fight for ambitious reform, regardless of the political implications. In just the past two years of his long tenure in Congress, Hinchey has proven himself this sort of representative. He deserves not only The Sun’s support, but the support of voters at the polls today.

In his last term alone, Hinchey supported two landmark pieces of legislation that directly affect the lives of college students. The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsbility Act increased the maximum Pell Grant to $5,500 in 2010 and instituted monthly loan caps that will ease the burden of student loans on the recently graduated starting in 2014. In addition, Hinchey supported the accompanying Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — a.k.a the Obamacare bill — that allows young people to remain on their parents’ healthcare plans until the age of 26.

Hinchey has also exhibited a strong commitment to sustainability. Most significantly, he co-author the FRAC Act — a bill that would close a loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act and require natural gas companies to disclose the chemicals they use in the hydraulic fracturing process. Regardless of one’s opinion on hydrofracking, it is hard to argue that the public does not have the right to know which chemicals are being used in its district.

Maurice Hinchey’s commitment to reform and progress will be vital in what is expected to be a right-leaning 112th Congress. He deserves, once again, the wholehearted support of the 22nd.

FOR GOVERNOR: Attorney General Andrew Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo’s biggest ally in the 2010 New York gubernatorial race may have actually been his opponent, Carl Paladino, who, through a series of embarrassing political decisions and inflammatory remarks, revealed himself as a poor candidate for governor. Since the Governor of New York is an ex oficio member of the Board of Trustees, it is imperative that voters choose a pragmatic and rational individual.

But Cuomo, the current state attorney general, is a worthy candidate unto himself, and voters should support him at the polls today. He has a good “big-picture” idea of what it will take to drag the Empire State out of its current pitiable political mess — his approaches to ethics and budget reform in Albany are far more comprehensive and serious than Paladino’s vague “smaller government” rhetoric. But possibly more important to members of the Cornell and Ithaca communities are his stances on higher education.

As New York State Attorney General, Cuomo furnished his reputation as a consumer protector partially due to his investigations into colleges’ contracts with health insurance providers and credit card companies. In both cases, he was ensuring that colleges did not receive money to push students into contracts they did not want or need. Cuomo’s familiarity with the business of higher education has worked its way into his plan for a revitalized New York State economy. He notes that although New York, due in no small part to its higher education network, spends the second-most among all states on research and development, that research does not always translate into more jobs or profitable businesses. Cuomo’s plan to direct money specifically into research that can be converted into business activity aligns with Cornell’s mission as a land-grant university, and should provide the University, and New York residents, with additional prosperity down the line.