January 5, 2009

AIM HIGHER, RUDY:

What New York needs in a senator (Rudy Giuliani, 1/05/09, CNN)

As the nation's biggest city, New York City needs an advocate with the toughness to fight for everything to which we are entitled. That means winning the internal battles in the Senate, as well as standing up to the rest of Congress and the White House and administrative agencies.

The mayor of New York City -- or of any big city -- has to be able to picture his state's U.S. senator standing up to legislators from other parts of the country advocating for their own region's needs.

For example, one of the first things Sen. Moynihan did after being elected in 1976 was to initiate a yearly survey that compared how much a state's residents sent to Washington compared to how much the state received back in federal aid.

While many Americans assumed New York received a lot more than it gave, Sen. Moynihan proved the reverse was true, and used that fact to advocate for New York.

A senator also needs a deep understanding of the many formulas that are used to calculate federally distributed aid. Some of these formulas are structured in a way that benefits less-populated areas.

Medicaid, for example, has been based on a state's per capita income, regardless of that state's number of recipients or healthcare costs. So a state like New York, which has high per capita income but large numbers of recipients and high health care costs, might receive from Medicaid as little as 50 percent of its costs. Other states get more than 70 percent of their costs covered by the federal program.

That's the sort of thorny policy issue that requires a senator to possess deep knowledge of an obscure distribution formula. But a senator should also bring a point of view -- a set of principles and beliefs that allows a consistent message to be articulated.


Run for governor--don't settle for the Senate.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 5, 2009 5:32 PM
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