Dave Clegg, one of six democratic primary candidates competing for a chance to take on Rep. John Faso in next November’s 19th District congressional election, arrived at a meet and greet at Or in Hudson Dec. 12 with his wife and daughter.
The family drove from Clegg’s campaign office in Kingston, his daughter, Jennifer, said, who started greeting the small group gathered as soon as the door shut behind her. She ordered a beer for her father, a porter.
Clegg works as an attorney in Kingston, but also finds time to serve on the boards of several altruistic community groups, as well as teaching college courses at Woodbourne Prison and serving as a Deacon at his church, according to Clegg’s campaign website and his statements on the campaign trail.
During an interview and when talking to those at the meet and greet, Clegg spoke of the importance of slowing Trump’s agenda, income disparity, and why he’s the 19th District’s best hope for ousting John Faso.
In the larger picture, Clegg’s target is the liberal Antichrist Trump. Clegg and his wife of 40 years, Karen, said the current make-up of Congress, where Republicans control both chambers, enables Trump’s agenda, and the Senate or the House flipping during November’s election would stymie any initiative Trump wants to get passed.
Clegg is the primary candidate most likely to flip the district to the Democrats because he has been deeply involved in the community for decades, he said, adding his run is a “step up to a higher level of service.”
“I’ve been here for 36 years, and I could read you off a laundry list of the dozen charitable institutions I’ve supported, and work I’ve done with kids, and the work I’ve done with the homeless shelter (and) Habitat for Humanity, (and) the [Ulster County] Human Rights Commission, trying to develop legislation which will provide discrimination protection for transgender people,” he said.
“I’m somebody who can stand up to John Faso because I’ve done like 150,000 times more in this community then he does, in terms of actually improving it,” he added.
In Hudson, where the poverty rate is 60 percent higher than New York’s average, yet the main drag is filled with boutique furniture stores and high-end eateries, the issue of income disparity came up. Clegg referenced the Republican tax bill, which is still technically in negotiation, but plans to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.
“We’re not investing in our people, we’re not investing in our small businesses in the way that we really could…we can do better for everybody,” he said. “We can do better for people who need a hand up, we can do better for the small businesses, we can do better for the middle class, the working class, everybody, if we just approach this in a way that’s not just favoring the wealthy Wall Street folks, the hedge fund guys and the super-corporations.”
Clegg dug into John Faso, saying the incumbent’s positions on the tax bill shows his true nature.
“He votes…with a Republican agenda whenever he’s needed” instead of the best interests of his district, Clegg said.
Faso sided with House Democrats when he voted against the tax bill, but earlier, when the bill was in the House Budget Committee, Faso voted to move the bill out of the committee, which sent it on the path to being passed by the House, according to the Times-Union.
Faso’s vote mattered to Republicans when the tax bill was in committee — the vote was 19-17 — but Republicans had such a wide margin in the House vote, they did not need Faso to vote with them for the bill to pass, allowing him to play to his constituents, Clegg argued.
“He was trying to do what the Republicans needed for him to do in committee, and then they didn’t need his vote on the bill, they could pass it without his vote,” he said. “If they needed his vote, I do believe he would have voted for it.”
“[Faso] can take the color of the audience he’s in, and can seem to be sensitive and concerned about what their problems are, or how they can be helped, but when he goes back to Congress, it appears that he basically protects his donor class,” Clegg added.
Looking back to Hudson, Clegg mentioned the congressional “power of the purse,” and said he would rather see more funding for low-income housing than “giving multi-national corporations tax breaks they don’t need.”
More funding should be directed towards the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Clegg added.
There are no available polls for the democratic primary in the 19th district. A possible way of looking at support is through the candidate’s campaign pages on Facebook, where Clegg is currently at the bottom of the heap, with 746 followers, compared to Jeff Beals, who has the most followers, with 3,131.
Clegg also has the least amount of Twitter followers, though each candidate seem to spend vastly different amount of energy on the site, with Clegg only tweeting 11 times.