Businessman Fischer emerges as Tonko foe

Saratoga County GOP backs candidate

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
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— Ballston businessman Jim Fischer has emerged as an early Republican challenger to square off against incumbent U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko during the election this fall.

Fischer, who founded the wireless communications sales and service company Crystal Clear Communications, said he will vie for the 20th Congressional District this year in an effort to unseat “career politicians” like Tonko. He said Tonko and like-minded federal legislators are taking the country in the wrong direction and will leave it in a poor condition for “generations to come.”

“I am focused on strengthening our economy and middle-class families while protecting our constitutional rights,” he said in a statement. “This is how we ensure our nation is better and stronger for our children and future generations.”

Fischer, who was endorsed Monday by the Saratoga County Republican Committee, said he’s focused on ensuring federal policies work to grow the economy and support job creators. He pledged to work toward repealing the Affordable Care Act — colloquially known as Obamacare — so that it can be replaced by a system based on free-market principles.

Saratoga County Republican Committee chairman John Herrick said Fischer was endorsed unanimously. Herrick said Fischer seems to have solutions to fix what is ailing the nation’s government.

“His entrepreneurial experience will be paramount in bringing small-business principles to governance, which is exactly what our country needs right now,” Herrick said in a statement. “Jim’s innovative ideas will help steer our country back onto a path of success and economic growth.”

A graduate of the state University of New York at Cortland with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Fischer is an active elder at the East Glenville Community Church, founded the Bill Swanker Memorial Golf Tournament benefiting the New York State Trooper Foundation, and is a member of the National Rifle Association as well as the National Organization for Marriage.

Tonko, a Democrat from Amsterdam, has been a formidable opponent since winning the seat vacated when U.S. Rep Michael McNulty retired in 2008. The longtime state assemblyman fought off four challengers in a primary before handily defeating Glenville Republican Jim Buhrmaster during the general election.

Tonko has since cruised to victory during his two re-election campaigns. In 2012, he won a third term by besting Glenville Republican Robert Dieterich by a roughly 2-1 ratio; he outspent Dieterich by slightly more than 4-1 in the campaign.

The 20th Congressional District includes all or parts of Schenectady, Saratoga, Albany, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties. Tonko is expected to seek a fourth term, though he hasn’t made any formal announcement.

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January 14, 2014
4:27 a.m.
tues8capt says...

Government, at whichever level, is a business, and should be run as such, but, alas, political affiliation with its 'perks' and 'entitlements' seems to be what it's all about. It seems that every time I vote for a businessman running for office, he, or she, loses the election. I can't remember the last time someone knocked on my door at election time and asked me my ideas or views, or told me what they would do to enhance the quality of my life. Our system is a mess, as evidenced by the current administrations in Albany and Washington, but until we question the status quo, nothing will change.

January 14, 2014
8:02 a.m.
grant18 says...

It's very easy to sit on the outside & spout "government should be run like a business." Those who are so sure of that shibboleth should participate in government at any level, i.e., fire commissioner, library trustee, school board member, etc. Pretty soon they'll learn the truth that "government should be run like a government." In other words, you cannot equate public safety with making a profit just as you cannot equate educating the next generation with offering a school run at a ratio of one teacher to fifty or a hundred students. There are so many other examples that it's easy to see why voters prefer someone who has a demonstrated understanding of the needs of real people to someone whose primary qualification is how to minimize the number of wires in a telephone cable!

January 14, 2014
11:50 a.m.
editorial says...

Does it make sense to run government like a business? The short answer is no. Bear in mind, first, that “efficiency” in the private sector means profit. Hence, to ask that the government be run like a business is tantamount to asking that the government turn a profit. The problem in a nutshell, is that not everything that is profitable is of social value and not everything of social value is profitable.

To reiterate, the key issue is this: not everything that is profitable is of social value and not everything of social value is profitable. The proper role of government is the latter. Those arguing for a business model for government must necessarily be ready to shut down all government functions that do not earn a profit, regardless of their contribution to our well being. And, if the public sector is being run properly, that should mean every single one. If it’s profitable, they shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place.

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