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Democratic meeting focuses on Congressional candidate's campaign

PLATTSBURGH The word change has been used throughout this years presidential campaign from both the Democratic and Republican candidates and its a word being focused on in the race for the 23rd Congressional District seat. During the annual Clinton County Democratic Party meeting held at the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts Oct. 18, change was a major topic of discussion. David Wilkins, campaign manager to 23rd Congressional District candidate Michael P. Oot said change is the theme of their campaign. We talk about the war. Mike ... wants to remove troops from Iraq as soon and safely as possible ... It is now time to come home, said Wilkins. Wilkins also noted Oots views on the current economy and comparing them to the 23rd Districts current congressman, John M.McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor. If you look at McHugh who has consistently voted to deregulate, who has consistently voted with the Bush administration in terms of their economic and foreign policies, you should question who he really is beholden to, Wilkins stated. When you look at Mike, hes been a workers compensation attorney for 32 years. His job has been to put money in the pockets of families, put food on their table, and medicine in their medicine cabinets. Wilkins continued, stating Oot has represented more than 17,000 people during his 32 years as an attorney, all within the 23rd District. So, there is no question whose side Mikes on, Wilkins said. Oot also spoke during the evening on his own behalf, letting the people know he is a part of a grassroots campaign. Were so literally a grassroots campaign that I am covered in poison ivy from putting my own signs up on the side of the road, laughed Oot. This election is very important, he continued. Its not just important at the national level, its important at the district level as well. Because were voting about differences ... The difference between myself and my opponent John McHugh is startling. I am absolutely convinced that he is absolutely disconnected in his position of the way middle Americans and working class people think. Oot continued to explain his other ideals that differ from McHughs include their disagreements about the current war in Iraq and the economy. But, this election is wonderful because you have the opportunity, for the first time since reconstruction, to put a Democrat in office, said Oot. A special guest during the evening was Congressman Steven Israel from the 2nd Congressional District, who came to support Oot. I cannot wait for Jan. 3, 2009, when I stand next to Congressman Mike Oot. When I watch him raise his right hand and take his oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, said Israel. Recently, Israel went overseas to visit New York troops in Afghanistan. Fifteen hours of flying there, 18 hours on the ground, and another 15 hours flying back, with a stop in Rochester before attending the Democratic Partys meeting in support of Oot, signified his commitment to the candidate. I wouldnt do it if I didnt believe that we need to elect Mike Oot number one, and number two if I didnt believe that Mike Oot was going to be elected. Israel continued on to explain why he feels it is important to elect a Democrat to Congress. Everywhere I go I see blue. And not only do I see it here in the North Country, not only do I see it in Suffolk County, not only do I see it in Rochester. I saw it in Afghanistan believe it or not, last week, when I spoke with military personnel ... I talked to members of the New York Army Reserve ... who said Weve had it. We want change. I want you to work hard to make sure that we elect more Democrats, continued Israel. Not because we want to win. But because we have to win in order to do the right things ... to bring down the cost of college and the cost of gas, to cut middle class taxes, to invest in clean energy - all the things that Americans want to do and to protect our troops in dangerous places.

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