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Election Center 2012

Nate Shinagawa on Congressional Campagin

Twenty-eight-year-old Democrat Nate Shinagawa is vying for several “firsts” this November. He’s running to unseat incumbent Republican Tom Reed from his Congressional seat in New York’s 23rd District.

If elected, Shinagawa will become the youngest member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Asian-American from a northeastern state to serve in Congress.

Ithaca Now spoke with Shinagawa, a Cornell University graduate, Tompkins County legislator and former administrator at Guthrie Health Systems, on his congressional campaign and plans on the economy to the environment for New York’s newly reformed 23rd District.

Interview Highlights:

Shinagawa’s proposal to reduce federal deficits: 

“What we need to do is make sure we have revenues once again. One of the things that I’ve proposed is that we increase taxes on those making over $250,000 a year — back to the level of the Clinton years. That is enough to raise over $78 billion a year and $850 billion over the next 10 years. That’s money that will be absolutely crucial in making those critical investments and reducing our deficit as well.”

Credit: Nate Shinagawa

Why Shinagawa believes New York can act as a catalyst for renewable energy manufacturing:

“Take that money away from that fossil fuel technology and use that money to invest in renewable energy and technology, much of which we could do right here in this district whether it’s through wind, solar power or biomass. That’s something we can do immediately if we’re willing to put our hearts and our minds behind actually making that happen. I think there are some critical opportunities. Just locally, if you look at Corning Incorporated, they have photovoltaic cells, for example, that are 40 percent more efficient — solar cells — than anything else that’s out there. We should be providing incentives to actually making sure that’s actually manufactured in the district.”

How Shinagawa describes his vision for integrated health care:

“If we really are going to have meaningful improvements to health care that are going to improve quality while at the same time reducing health care costs overall, we have to be serious about reforming the way in which health care is delivered in this country. I think we need to move more toward a system where we have integrated health care. In other words, we have primary care doctors working with specialists, working with rehab and physical therapists, working with skilled nursing facilities all throughout a continuum of care — coordinating with each other, talking to one another, actually communicating through electronic medical record systems, so that way we can be as comprehensive as we can be but also so we focus on things like primary and preventive care, which will reduce health care costs in the long run.”

Why Shinagawa says his campaign is different from his opponent, Tom Reed:

Our campaign is different because we are a grassroots campaign. Keep in mind that I have no illusions about the money issue in this race. I’ve raised about a half-million dollars from my campaign — a significant sum of money. However, my opponent has over $700,090 for corporate political action committees, so he has more money than we do. So the only way we can get ahead is if we work harder and we talk to voters where they are.

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