Updated 04/05/2012 06:23 PM
New challenges for incumbents
Congressional elections this fall carry many new challenges for the people who are already serving in Washington. Across the region, members of Congress are busy reviewing legislation and dealing with constituent issues. YNN's Bill Carey says they now have an additional task: Meeting thousands of new people.
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NEW YORK -- For most people, it's just a map. For four others, it's a new reality.
Voters have been rearranged this year into new congressional districts as the state loses two seats in congress.
In the Utica area, republican Richard Hanna says the campaign ahead is really no different, no matter what the boundaries.
Hanna said, “You have a very short period of time to tell people, basically, three things. Who you are. What you stand for. And how you're going to work.”
Many of the incumbents have the advantage of representing what is the very core of their new district. But, at the same time, Richard Hanna says he can't rely on just that core to return him to Washington. His colleagues carry the same message, as they begin to reach out to areas they have not represented before.
“It's just about really getting out there and having an honest conversation with every resident of the district to say, this is what we see. This is what our vision is. But, more importantly, listening to people,” Representative Tom Reed said.
Republican Ann Marie Buerkle is facing many more democratic voters in her new district, but she says she is already on the road and pleased with the reaction in places like her home town, Auburn.
Buerkle said, “Did a luncheon with about 60 people in the community. And introduced myself and talked a little bit about what I stand for. So, we'll continue to do that.”
There are challenges ahead. Democrat Bill Owens' district grew in size by a couple of thousand square miles. But he says it is not foreign territory in the end.
“We're hearing essentially the same message from everybody we talk to. It still remains jobs as the number one concern. The deficit is out there. We also know that ag is a huge issue,” Owens said.
Hanna, too, says, in the long run, the message, no matter what shape the district, is the same.
“There is no piece of New York, that isn't representative of Upstate, that isn't, in some significant way, representative of the same issues and problems and concerns that every other area is,” Hanna said.
The incumbents have seven months to spell out their agendas and to make the needed connections.