Auto worker runs for Congress in Buffalo

Charlotte Kates ckates at
Thu May 9 19:28:27 MDT 1996

**Auto worker runs for Congress in Buffalo**

(Reprinted from the May 11, 1996 issue of the People's
Weekly World. May be reprinted or reposted with PWW credit.
For subscription information see below)

By Eileen Reardon

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The race for U.S. Representative in New
York's 27th CD offers an opportunity to defeat an
influential member of the Gingrich Gang on Nov. 5. Tom
Fricano, regional director of United Auto Workers (UAW)
Region 9, is challenging four-term Republican Bill Paxon.

Paxon chairs the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee
which recruits GOP candidates and funds their campaigns. He
played a key role in the 1994 takeover of Congress by the
"Gang of 73" and is a strong supporter of the Contract on

Speaking to the more than 400 supporters at his kickoff
rally on May 1, Fricano said his election is "doable"
despite the fact that the district is heavily Republican in
registration. "Republicans who are working hard everyday are
no different than Democrats who are working hard every day.
They're not Newt Gingrich or Bill Paxon kind of Republicans.
They're people who are trying to feed their families every
day," Fricano said.

Fricano said his campaign theme would concentrate on "what
is right and what is wrong." Some of the things he thinks
wrong are: corporate mergers that lay off thousands of
workers and the economic insecurity this is creating; the
$270 billion that the Republicans want to cut out of
Medicare to fund a $245 billion tax cut to the wealthy;
gutting environmental regulations; cutting veteran's
benefits by $400 million; subsidizing corporate farms but
not protecting family farms and the 38 percent tuition
increase at the state's universities. "That leaves a lot of
working class families out of the picture as far as
educating their children," he said.

"America needs a raise," Fricano said as he listed the $4.25
minimum wage as another "wrong." He said that Congressional
salaries have increased substantially over the last few
years and criticized Paxon, whose salary is $133,500, for
not supporting an increase in the minimum wage. "We need to
stop balancing the budget on the wrong people's backs" and
put "compassion and caring back in Washington," he said.

A UAW retiree told this reporter, "Tom Fricano knows what
it's like to be a worker. He started on the shop floor and
worked his way up through the ranks." Fricano started
working when he was 12 years old at a bowling alley and
picked berries at the farms in Silver Creek, N.Y. where he
grew up. He went to Erie County Technical Institute and then
worked at the "Chevy" Forge, starting as an apprentice

Fricano said he wants people to know there is a real
difference between him and his opponent and he wants people
to " feel that the democratic process is worth participating
in." The 27th Congressional District includes all or parts
of nine counties and includes three media markets --
Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester -- making a congressional
campaign very expensive.

With Fricano in the race, voters in the 27th CD have an
opportunity to elect someone who will represent their
interests rather than the corporate interests that Paxon
protects and defends.
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