As a Junior Congressman, Joe DioGuardi did many things that were not only unheard of but that also demonstrated significant challenges from a junior member. From creating a bill that still saves the nation money to refusing a pay raise during his term, the now 70-year-old Certified Public Accountant is again ready to face challenges in DC, this time as a senator.
Despite the passing of 25 years since his last vote in Washington, DioGuardi’s message has not changed and has become even more relatable today. “We are spending money we don’t have, and if we continue [down] this path, we are putting America on a grossly unsustainable fiscal course.”
As was the case in his last race, the author has not stopped campaigning for a moment. The former legislator accepted my interview while on his way to one of many campaign functions. With eight days remaining until Kirsten Gillibrand’s district begins to line up outside of schools and town halls, DioGuardi proudly stated that he will campaign “right to the end.”
Entering the primaries lacking the support of the Republican Party, DioGuardi said he took his beginning trials as a way to “show the first three words of the Constitution, ‘We the people,’” with many followers who trekked the state to acquire the 15,000 signatures needed for him to enter the primary race without GOP support.
Soon after receiving support of The Tea Party, the Conservative Party and the Taxpayer Party as well as veterans’ organizations, DioGuardi quickly became a candidate who pundits promised should not be counted out as a prospective electoral success story.
Fiscal issues that he says are bankrupting his city and leaving negative aftermaths, like the State colleges’ graduates leaving for employment that New York should have been able to give them, has been his main stance in his campaign. Using his former Congressional voting card as a weapon in his fight against Gillibrand, DioGuardi contrasts it to a citizen’s credit card, saying that there is a “credit-card mentality” in government, with no limit to how much can be spent, which unfortunately imposes a severe limit on the nation’s future. In fact, DioGuardi cast his view in the same light 17 years ago, leading many to believe that he predicted the recession we are in now.
Discussing the recent situation, DioGuardi comments that while regular people change spending habits when hitting their credit limit, “They (the Government) keep raising the debt limit, and no one wants to stop spending.”
Sounding as if he is about to sigh, the self-professed conservative-independent asked, “When is it going to stop?”
Discussing his opponent, nominated into the office by Governor Patterson to replace now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he averred that not only has Gillibrand helped to raise the deficit but has in her past actions profited personally from one of the major fallouts. During her time in the Clinton Administration, Gillibrand helped create the New Markets Initiative, which has been attributed to being a part of the housing crisis that followed. During this time, her husband purchased “put” options in sub-prime lenders such as Countrywide, which made the family $40,000 while the housing market had a meltdown, or has he described it, she profited “on the pain of the people.”
Returning to the subject of her political career, DioGuardi stated that she continues to “flip-flop” between the Democrat whom Senator Harry Reid recently called the “hottest,” to the Conservative Democrat described by him as “Annie Oakley,” as she represented herself to be at her own nomination.
Continuing to discuss Gillibrand, DioGuardi stated that she has been given two years and has done nothing to assist her district’s situation. “Give me two years,” he said. “If she wants to come back in two years, we’ll have a nice even race at that time.”