Standing in front of an empty storefront on County Road 39 in Southampton, his opponent's hometown, congressional candidate Randy Altschuler explained Monday why he is again challenging incumbent after .
“I decided to seek a rematch with Congressman Bishop this year because many of the problems that spurred me to run in 2010 still exist,” said Altschuler, R-St. James. “In fact, they’ve gotten worse.”
Altschuler was there to present his "10-Point Jobs Plan for Long Island," an addition to his campaign that he didn't have in 2010. He envisions Suffolk County becoming the Silicon Valley of the East Coast.
Altschuler’s plan calls for:
- R&D tax credits
- extending operating loss carry-forwards for start-ups
- simplifying the tax code
- cutting taxes on small businesses
- eliminating the estate tax
- repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax
- eliminating the new surtax on investment income
- lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent
- ensuring U.S. companies operating globally aren’t taxed twice
- repealing and replacing “Obamacare”
- expanding domestic drilling
- pulling the government out of investing in energy
- blocking “cap and trade”
- reforming fishing regulations
- creating a renewable visa program for farm workers
- and providing tax credits to businesses for hiring veterans.
Altschuler also says he will form a small business advisory panel for the First District to identify harmful mandates he will legislate to repeal and his first staff hires will be an economic development coordinator and, to connect local businesses with funding sources, a capital coordinator.
He painted the election as a choice between a “career bureaucrat turned politician” and a “self-made person … who came from humble beginnings to put himself through school and build two American companies.”
In 2006, Altschuler sold OfficeTiger, an outsourcing firm he co-founded. Later, he co-founded CloudBlue, a technology recycling firm of which he still serves as co-chair.
Speaking after the press conference, Altschuler called Bishop, D-Southampton, the former provost of the defunct Southampton College, a “failed college administrator.”
“There’s no substance behind that,” Bishop spokesman Oliver Longwell said of Altschuler’s remark. “That’s an absolutely baseless charge.”
Long Island University closed the campus in Shinnecock Hills in 2005, three years after Bishop stepped down to run for Congress; Stony Brook University bought the campus in 2006.
Altschuler also said during his remarks in Southampton that politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Bishop, have sunk future generation into debt while promising constituents that Medicare and Social Security will be there for them, “despite knowing these programs are on the fast track to insolvency without action today.”
He predicted that instead of debating the issues, Bishop will run a negative campaign, saying, “Every other word out of his mouth for the next sixth months will be ‘outsourcing.’”
After the press conference Altschuler said, "I've created over 1,000 jobs in America. I've created jobs overseas. I'm a job creator."
Longwell said Altschuler claims, in a formulaic response, that he is not an outsourcer, then defends outsourcing, then turns it around and says Bishop is the true outsourcer.
“He understands that voters in Suffolk County reject outsourcing,” Longwell said.
Longwell said that Altschuler is “uniquely poorly qualified” to encourage businesses to move their operations to Suffolk County. “How is he supposed to deliver the message to other business leaders to relocate to Suffolk County and hire Suffolk County workers when he wasn’t willing to hire Suffolk County workers himself?” Longwell asked.
He also questioned how Altschuler can expect a Suffolk technology corridor to take root while supporting a federal budget proposed by House Republicans that he said cuts funding for Brookhaven National Lab, Stony Brook University and the Department of Energy.
Bishop ally and County Executive Steve Bellone, D-Babylon, also went after Altschuler. In a prepared statement, Bellone said, "Considering that outsourcing millionaire Randy Altschuler didn't even consider putting his own company in Suffolk County, I'd be hard pressed to think of a worse person to fight for Suffolk County jobs."
Bishop and Altschuler aren’t the only two candidates in the race. Former Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutor George Demos, R-Brookhaven, is challenging Altschuler for the GOP nomination in a June 26 primary.
At Monday's press conference, Altschuler was joined by Republicans Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi, Southampton Town Tax Receiver Theresa Kiernan and East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, Conservative Southampton Town Councilman Jim Malone and General Manager Paul Monte.
He followed up the event with similar press conferences in Calverton and Shirley, to which Demos sent a man in a chicken suit with a sign stating that Altschuler is "too chicken to debate."
Alschuler spokeswoman Diana Weir said Monday that Demos' camp has never contacted her to schedule a debate.