The challenge of congressional incumbency is so daunting that in 2014 only Republicans dared challenge Rep. Richard Hanna. But with the announcement of Rep. Hanna’s retirement the New York 22nd congressional seat became an open race. This created a relative deluge of candidates from most political parties in New York (including 4 Republicans, 1 Democrat, and now a Libertarian). One of those parties, the Libertarian Party, joined the race in February 21, 2016, with the selection of their candidate David Pasick of Herkimer County. In our continuing efforts to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the NY-22 race, we spoke with Mr. Pasick on February 22, 2016 and set a date for a phone interview.
We conducted our phone interview with David Pasick on February 24, 2016. This was an in-depth interview covering his knowledge of the issues facing any potential member of Congress, as well as the positions he holds on political issues that are major concerns of the public at this time. Several of the questions we asked were asked of other candidates we have interviewed in this race (including Claudia Tenney, Aaron Price, and David Gordon).
In many ways, and on many subjects, David Pasick was quite similar to Democrat candidate David Gordon. Both men were largely unaware of key Bills recently passed by Congress. Both interviews displayed an emphasis on talking points and 30 second soundbites that have been floating in the airwaves, as opposed to specific details or explanations of their positions. Notably, several times in the 60 minute interview, Mr. Pasick was unable to provide sources for specific statements he paraphrased. At multiple points in the interview, when asked to provide examples of the positions he claimed to defend or support, Mr. Pasick either declined to give example [See video Part 2] or noted his lack of knowledge to do so.
“David Pasick: What I’m talking about is a general course of action. Or a general standard operating procedure, if you will. Of what we see is a symbiosis. A symbiosis between big government and big corporations to the mutual benefit of both of them…
Michael Vasquez: What would be an example of that? So we would be able to know what you are talking about.
David Pasick: I think this is pretty broadly understood.” – See video Part 1
But one of the things that Mr. Pasick was very clear on was the issue of criminal justice reform. A subject that leans heavily on his experience as a teacher of criminology, he was clearly in favor of changing the legal system. Mr. Pasick stated he supports legalization of marijuana, current efforts to emphasize treatment over incarceration of drug addicts (in particular in regard to the Heroin crisis), and implied a revamping of penalties for numerous lesser violations of law. This is in part, apparently, based on his view that police are overpowered in efforts to enforce the law – with those laws being the root cause of at least some cases of excessive force. An example he gave was in the case of Eric Garner from 2014.
“My claim here, the root cause of that was over-criminalization. Why were police apprehending him to such a degree for a crime, is it that serious? Selling loose cigarettes? These are the reforms I am talking about. To what extent has Government overstepped its bounds and to what extent do we need a correction?” – See video Part 3
Separate of those issues, the first time candidate, was far less emphatic in his responses to our questions. With regard to international economics, such as with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) where Mr. Pasick could not clarify his objection beyond the Democrat talking point of corporate greed and big brother control. In regard to the 2nd Amendment, he noted his support and concerns for improved focus restrictions for those that have mental illness, yet was clearly unaware of President Obama’s Executive Orders or their impact on gun owners. Even on the continuing hot button topic of the Iran Nuclear Deal, Mr. Pasick was hesitant in his explanation beyond a very general characterization of Democrat talking points in support of the deal. Worse was his incorrect paraphrasing of a presidential candidates remarks on illegal immigration coupled with an apparent lack of understanding on the national security concerns that prompted the misquoted statement [See video Part 2].
“My understanding of the [Iran Nuclear] Deal, my understanding of the inspection process, and given the consensus…it seems there is a pretty good consensus among the scientists in the field that say this Deal is sound.” – See video Part 4
To be fair, David Pasick is a first time candidate, with no experience in politics beyond the realm of academia. It is clear that his passion is the focal point of his campaign, criminal justice reform. But as was clear in this interview, and that with WUTQ’s Talk of the Town program (also on Feb. 24, 2016), he is unsteady in discussing his political platform or the larger issues facing a member of Congress.
There were a host of questions we were not able to discuss with Mr. Pasick in this interview due to time constraints. Jobs, the 4th Amendment concerns coming from the recent battle between Apple and the FBI, replacing Supreme Court Justice Scalia, taxes, and many other issues that a member of Congress must be able to address for the constituents they represent. We hope to cover those subjects in a future interview.
While we were unable to discuss what support David Pasick has, or the battle for campaign funding that all candidates face, it is a known fact that 3rd Party candidates face an uphill battle in elections. Whether or not Mr. Pasick will be able to surpass that stigma remains to be seen. But it is clear that the open seat for the NY-22 district will continue to draw greater attention as we enter petition season and the road to the June 28th primary.
***** Note: We have and continue to extend an open invitation to all declared candidates in the NY-22 race (or any election) to be interviewed via phone or in person to discuss their views and political platform. We support no candidate, and provide all interviews verbatim for the general knowledge of voters. *****