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Oct 26, 2010 5:43 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Election 2010: Altschuler Hopes To Unseat Incumbent, Balance the Budget

Oct 26, 2010 5:43 PM

As Randy Altschuler tells it, a life-changing event propelled him from business into politics three years ago: the birth of his son, Noah.

“That’s when I wanted to ensure that my son had the same opportunities I did, or, hopefully, even better opportunities,” said Mr. Altschuler, a 39-year-old business owner who lives in St. James. “I have lived the American dream, but I’m worried about changes that are happening in this country that are going to prevent future generations from achieving that dream.”

Those changes, according to Mr. Altschuler, are economic in nature: a stagnant economy, mounting federal debt, the overextension of government into the private sector, unfair federal mandates, and record unemployment rates, to name a few.

His solution is to prop up the private sector by cutting government spending, lowering taxes and peeling back “red tape” that he contends makes it difficult for businesses to operate.

That is the core of Mr. Altschuler’s campaign to unseat the four-term Democratic congressman who represents most of Suffolk County, U.S. Representative Tim Bishop of Southampton. Mr. Altschuler, a first-time candidate, won both the Republican and Conservative party nominations in hard-fought primaries this September to get on the November 2 ballot.

If his campaign centers on the economy, Mr. Altschuler said it is for two reasons. First, concerns about jobs have eclipsed all other issues in the minds of voters this election season. And second, Mr. Altschuler comes from the world of business, and says that experience can help him guide his community—and the country at large—out of fiscal trouble.

Mr. Altschuler, a Manhattan native who holds degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Business School, started his first company in 2000. At the time, he was living in student housing at Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan, where his wife, Cheryl, was enrolled. Ms. Altschuler is now a pediatrician, and the couple moved from Manhattan to St. James in 2007.

His first company, OfficeTiger, grew to employ about 4,000 people across the world, including 500 in the United States, according to Mr. Altschuler. He sold it for millions in 2006, and started an electronics recycling company, CloudBlue, which currently employs about 250 people in locations across the country, according to Mr. Altschuler.

OfficeTiger has proven to be both a boon and bane for Mr. Altschuler’s new political career. It is the source of his fortune, which he has used to finance his campaign—he has contributed more than $2.7 million of his own money into his campaign as of October 13, according to campaign financial disclosure records—but it has also drawn sharp rebuke from his primary opponents and Mr. Bishop for allegedly sending American jobs overseas. OfficeTiger hired people in other countries, including India, the Philippines and Germany, to provide clerical services for companies throughout the world. Mr. Altschuler maintains that his business practices did not result in the loss of American jobs; in fact, he points out that he hired hundreds of people in the United States.

While Mr. Altschuler allows that government might have a role to play in propping up the country, particularly by investing in new technologies, he is opposed to heavy government spending. He has criticized both the industry bailouts and stimulus funds the federal government has used to stabilize the economy in recent years.

Essentially, he thinks the federal government should step back and allow the private sector to revive the economy. He has spoken out against the high corporate tax rate in the United States, and against government bureaucracies that he says stifle commerce. He has also criticized the recent health care system reforms, stating that he would repeal them if given the chance.

The candidate said he wants to shrink the nation’s $13.7 billion deficit, but opposes all tax increases, instead favoring spending cuts. He said he will look to trim “pork”—certain allocations attached as earmarks to bills—as well as find savings in “corporate welfare” and certain economic development programs he said could be combined. He added that he would also seek to trim federal jobs and salaries.

“It’s not a revenue problem, it’s an expense problem,” he said of the nation’s financial situation. At the same time, Mr. Altschuler said he would not cut Medicare or military spending.

Mr. Altschuler is hoping to ride the growing wave of anti-incumbent, anti-Democrat sentiment stirring this election season. In addition to his own contributions, he has raised an additional $1 million from individuals, $84,700 from political groups, $5,000 from his party, and $80,000 from other sources.

Additionally, national Republican figures have come out in support of Mr. Altschuler, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, as well as local figures like Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. Certain business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, have also thrown their support behind the challenger.

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. . . But refuses to explain how he will do it. Vote Bishop.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Oct 28, 10 9:05 AM
All incumbent Congressmen and women have spent us into decades of debt, they alone are responsible for appropriations. THEY ALL MUST GO !!!!
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Oct 28, 10 11:57 AM
Randy Altschuler is a guy who tried for political office in New Jersey and failed, so he moved to Long Island two years ago for another try. (New Jersey! What an insult!) Randy Altschuler is a guy who made a fortune as a big-time outsourer, taking 10,000 American jobs and shipping them off to India, saying "In India you get a much higher standard of person doing assistant work." (Thanks for the vote of confidence, Randy.) Randy Altschuler is a guy who claims he created American jobs, but the ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 28, 10 11:04 PM
Turkey Bridge=Tim Bishop
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Oct 29, 10 11:30 AM