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Oct 30, 2012 2:19 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Bishop Seeks Sixth Term In Congress

Nov 2, 2012 12:42 PM

As a former provost of Southampton College, Tim Bishop used to tell graduating students to get off the sidelines and take a chance at making a difference.

Then 51, the Democrat from Southampton took his own advice—he ran for and was elected to serve the 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now, 10 years later, Mr. Bishop is hoping to get reelected for a sixth term in Congress. He is waging a tough campaign against Republican Randy Altschuler, a second-time challenger who came within less than 600 votes of unseating Mr. Bishop two years ago.

The congressman said he believes he’s served the district “at a pretty high level” for the last 10 years—an experience that clearly sets him apart from his challenger.

“I know the job,” the 62-year-old congressman said. “I’ve done the job for 10 years. I know the area. I didn’t just parachute into the district four years ago and announce that I was going to run for Congress. I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve worked here my whole life.”

One issue on the minds of voters this year is the economy—more specifically a still-high unemployment rate and a whopping federal deficit. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul D. Ryan has introduced a spending plan that has divided Congress along party lines. It’s a plan that would hurt the country’s economic growth, Mr. Bishop said, citing figures claiming that Mr. Ryan’s budget, if enacted, would put 400 million people who are currently employed out of work two years later.

Cutting the deficit won’t spur economic growth, said Mr. Bishop. Instead, he’s advocating for a partnership between the public and private sector that would help put people back to work. “Austerity does not put people back to work—it puts people out of work,” he said.

Mr. Bishop and Mr. Altschuler have faced off in a number of meet the candidates nights and debates across the district this year, offering their views on a number of topics. They’ve talked about immigration reform, Mr. Ryan’s budget, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”), bipartisanship, and the two most heated talking points and campaign ad subjects during this election cycle—Mr. Bishop’s ethics and Mr. Altschuler’s past business practices in outsourcing jobs.

Mr. Bishop’s ethics were called into question in August when claims surfaced that his campaign solicited a donation after helping a Southampton constituent secure environmental permits for a fireworks show to mark his son’s bar mitzvah. Shortly after, Mr. Altschuler’s campaign responded by calling for an investigation into whether the congressman violated House ethics rules.

The ethics allegations followed recent attacks by Mr. Altschuler’s campaign focusing on the business relationship between Mr. Bishop’s daughter, Molly, who is his political fundraiser hired by the congressman.

But Mr. Bishop has denounced the ethics allegations and said he did nothing wrong. His campaign has since donated the $5,000 campaign contribution in question to three Long Island veterans groups.

If reelected, Mr. Bishop said he’d like to continue work on a bill that would increase the federal government’s role in supporting local governmental investments in wastewater infrastructure—primarily municipal sewer systems. He said there’s a “dramatic national need, and, without question, serious local need” for the measure, a bill he said he’s worked hard on.

He’s also working on a bill to lift a ban on fishing in the Economic Exclusion Zone, an area between Block Island, Rhode Island and Montauk Point. The ban would be “a big help to local fisherman,” he said.

In his last two years in office, Mr. Bishop said he’s prioritized maintaining the district’s four inlets. About a year ago, he said he helped secure funding for an emergency dredging of Montauk Inlet. Shinnecock Inlet is also about to be dredged again soon, he said, and the congressman is also working to get money to dredge Mattituck Inlet.

In essence, Mr. Altschuler and Mr. Bishop have been waging two parallel campaigns that have entirely different tones, Mr. Bishop said. On the one hand, in public debates, the two have been largely civil, and the discussions have proceeded at “a fairly high level,” in terms of policy, Mr. Bishop said. But the race has also been characterized by bitter and personal attack ads. And while Mr. Bishop has been criticized in past campaigns for hiring his daughter as his fundraiser, he said he’s never seen it play out at this level. “It’s different because it’s vastly more ugly and vastly more personal,” he said.

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Nice FREE ADVERTISING for L'il Tim. Pitiful, just pitiful.
Vote for the businessman not the career politician.
By bigfresh (4661), north sea on Oct 31, 12 1:38 PM
Hey, bigfool, where were you when Atschuler got the same "free advertising?" Are you capable of any rational thought, you zombie ignoramus.
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Oct 31, 12 1:51 PM
If you think we need even higher taxes, more regulations, bigger and more expensive government, and fewer jobs, then go ahead and vote for Tim Bishop because that's exactly what he's delivered for NY's first congressional district over the past 10 years. He has no plan whatsoever to get us out of this mess, and he is the epitome of our failed government. I don't care if Altschuler showed up yesterday, he's a FAR BETTER choice for our future, and that of our children. We owe it to ourselves ...more
By shampton (30), southampton on Oct 31, 12 3:30 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bigfresh (4661), north sea on Nov 2, 12 5:22 PM
If you do not believe in a womens right to choice, if you do not believe in global warmer, if you do not believe in a true social safety net, if you do not believe in Social Security, if you do not believe in Medicare, if you do not believe in Medicaid, by all means vote for Randy Altschuler. It is more than a contest between two men, it is a contest between two competing philosophies. So if you believe in the tea party agenda then by all means vote for Altschuler.
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Nov 4, 12 1:49 PM
1 member liked this comment