Are you a Forum guy or a Debate guy?

Anecdote: I was at a Democratic club meeting on Staten Island recently, chatting with a few party members, and they mentioned that soon there will be candidate forums. "Forum, or debate?" I asked. "Typically they are forums, where candidates refrain from talking about their opponents," they replied. I don't know about you, but I'm a debate kind of guy (note: so far, all Democrats running in the 11th are guys, alas).  Let's not adopt consultant-speak and pretend like it isn't a debate.   "Forum"?  Bah!

Help Houston fight Hurricane Harvey - Donate to Team Rubicon

Houston is battling near-biblical flooding right now, and it's going to linger at least through the weekend.  This is a massive, massive catastrophe, and the cost in lives, environment, and economy is going to be enormous.  Much of the long term recovery will be handled by thoughtful (we hope) government action, but in the short term, the more "boots on the ground" their helping with rescues the better.Team Rubicon is great young charity that deploys trained, volunteer teams of US military veterans to assist first responders in disaster situations.  I love this idea because it harnesses the brains+brawn+heart of veterans to immediately helping people in need.  I'd like to raise $1,000 for them (a 501c-3 charity) by this weekend, and will match 1-for-1 any donations towards that goal over the next 24hours.  Here's the fundraising link: Here's their CharityWatch report card (A-):

June 8th Bay Ridge Democrats Video

I jumped at the opportunity to speak at last Thursday's Bay Ridge Democrats meeting.  Fortunately, my good friend JL was there and captured it on video.  I talked about my campaign purpose and strategy for about 10", and then opened the field to a spirited Q&A.  Here's the whole thing:  

Official Response: Joe Borelli's B-List

In the aforementioned DNAInfo article, South Shore City Councileman Joe Borelli was quoted saying, "If it's such an Anti-Trump effect, I’m not sure why it's such a B-list of candidates," referring to the crop of young, dynamic Democratic candidates challenging the status quote this year and next. My official campaign response to that comment is: "Over the past decade, Mr. Borelli and his party's apparatchiks have sat in power in Staten Island while it has suffered from a horrific rise in overdose deaths.  And he has the temerity to label first time candidates for office as "B-list"?  Sneering disdain like that is the reason most people loathe politicians. The businessmen of Staten Island, of which I am one, are not B-list, Mr. Borelli.  The fathers of Staten Island, of which I am one, are not B-list, Mr. Borelli.  The voters of Staten Island, who are sick of watching opioid-pushing CEOs earn eight-figure paychecks, are not B-list, Mr. Borelli.  If you want to see B-list, look in the mirror, and look at your slick politician friends here and down in DC.  It is the politicians who are failing the people, not the other way around."

Bringin' the Wrath of God's Nick Rizzi published a great write-up of my status-quo busting campaign for Congress: "One of those candidates is bond trader Zach Emig, a motorcycle-riding MIT graduate who decided to run against Donovan in 2018 after volunteering for Hillary Clinton's campaign. ...Emig added that the party has relied too heavily on seniority to pick nominations in previous elections, leading others to not run. "The party apparatus has been picking the next guy in line for several cycles in a row and it's a product that's not selling," said Emig. "People who aren't next in line, people from different backgrounds are stepping forward..." Continue reading

June 8th Bay Ridge Democrats Club Meeting

The Bay Ridge Democrats were kind enough to invite me to speak at their monthly meeting this Thursday.  The meeting starts at 7:30pm and is at the Bridgeview Diner.  I'll be talking the basics: a bit about my background, and thereafter focus mainly on 1. what my goals are as the NY-11 Congressman and 2. how I plan to beat Dan Donovan.  If there's time I'd love to get into a free-spirited Q&A (the tougher the questions the better).

Failure is the Greatest Teacher

In business literature, it's so common as to almost be a cliche to say that we "learn more in failure than in success."  Yet how often have we heard our elected officials talk about their failures and failings? It would benefit everyone if public servants were more open and reflective about their failings and what they've learned--benefit them, for not having to live such an uptight, walking-on-eggshells life; benefit the public, for showing that politicians are just people too. I'm a lead by example guy, so I'll go first. My greatest failing is that my marriage has ended in this divorce.  Divorce is an atrocious experience for everyone involved, made worse by money-grubbing lawyers and a painfully slow civil court system.  But, as the cliche says, I have learned as much from this whole nearly-half-decade experience as any other episode in my life, starting with becoming a better father to my children...   Continue reading

Questions are the Lifeblood of Democracy

I love questions.  But more importantly, you should love questions too, because our democratic republic needs an engaged, thinking, critical public to keep it from slipping into tyranny.  And for at least the last 24 months, our public figures have done a piss-poor job of fostering a healthy environment for critical dialogue. Continue reading

Local 3 Spectrum Strike

I participated in the Mass Rally in support of Local Union No. 3 IBEW's strike against Spectrum/Charter Communications today outside the Spectrum HQ in the Flatiron district.  Charter is a $97 billion cable and telecommunications behemoth, and the strikers have been at it for weeks after contract negotiations broke down.  The breaking point for the union was efforts by Spectrum to cut their benefits package. I don't presume to be an expert in labor negotiations, but what was most moving to me were the stories that the individual strikers told me.  Each man and woman on strike has voluntarily given up their paycheck.  They're burning through savings, borrowing against a 401k, looking towards the day when they become eligible for unemployment checks, i.e. taking on a tremendous amount of daily stress for collective goal of getting a little more security for their future.  It doesn't seem so crazy an ask, these electricians and technicians who do the work to keep New York's TVs and internet running, does it?  It can't be that hard for a company who makes profits in the billions (nearly $4bln last year), does it?   Continue reading

Resist with Quist Phonebanking

Patriotic progressives winning back the House in 2018 is just as important as my campaign to flip NY-11 from Republicans.  Continue reading