Written April 21, 2015     
 

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© 2015 Bob Lonsberry

 
 
WHY I LIKE CHUCK SCHUMER

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Out running yesterday, I saw a line of people in a parking lot on Park Avenue.

I presumed it was a food truck.

But when I cleared some trees, and could see what they were doing, it was a press conference.

A Chuck Schumer press conference.

He has a lot of those.

I stopped to take a picture for the radio station website and then, the event having broken up and the senator free, I asked if I could take a picture with him.

We exchanged pleasantries and the picture was taken and, after I posted it, I went back to my run.

By the time I was done, any number of online folks were recommending that I disinfect myself and make sure he hadn’t stolen my wallet.

For them – conservative like me – being seen with Chuck Schumer was not a good thing.

So I’d like to set the record straight.

I like, respect and admire Chuck Schumer.

Though most of the time I disagree with him.

Passionately.

He’s a gun-banning liberal Democrat and I’m a flag-waving conservative Republican.

So, on policy and principle, most of the time I think he’s wrong. But I’ve watched him enough years to, even in disagreement, appreciate him a great deal.

Sure, if I had my way, he’d have been retired an election or two ago. But I’m a redneck in a state whose city-dominated electorate is arguably the most liberal in America. This state is never going to elect anybody who thinks like me.

So it is what it is.

Chuck Schumer is my senator.

And he works pretty hard at it.

Yes, he does love his press conferences, but the reality is that Senator Chuck Schumer spends more time upstate than any other statewide official I’ve ever seen.

In Rochester and Syracuse, our federal senator comes to town far more often than does our governor. Same goes for the attorney general, the comptroller, and our other federal senator.

Chuck Schumer shows up.

And at a certain level, people take note of that and appreciate it.

Chuck Schumer barnstorms the state as if every day was the eve of an election he was afraid of losing. But Schumer can’t lose in New York. He’s got a lock on the Democratic line as long as he wants it, and there are enough automatic straight-ticket Democrats to give him a guaranteed victory.

And yet he keeps coming back.

He doesn’t need to, he wins either way, but he does.

And that’s impressive.

So is the man’s work ethic. He rams back and forth across the state, while carrying his regular duties as a senator, the additional duties of being the next Senate minority leader, and being close with his family.

Even people who can’t stand Chuck Schumer’s politics admire his grit, and the fact that he busts his arse doing his job.

And it’s not just press conferences.

Anyone who’s attended a college graduation in New York knows that Uncle Chuck is apt to speak, and university presidents across the state know to save him a spot on the program. The amazing thing is that the talk is usually well received, fun and inspiring.

If we have to have a liberal senator, I’m glad it’s Chuck Schumer.

In part because he and his staff are crazy intense about constituent services – especially when someone is getting the short end of the stick from the government, or if we’re talking about meeting the needs of police or members of the military.

I will never forget one event where Chuck Schumer impressed me. A young man had been killed in the war, and had died with the rank of private first class.

The family hoped he could be promoted posthumously to specialist, but that normally perfunctory process was gummed up. Until Chuck Schumer got involved, and applied just enough pressure to get the Army to fix its problem.

At a ceremony for that soldier’s family, commemorating the belated promotion to specialist, Chuck Schumer came up to me, after the crowd and cameras had left, and extended his hand and said, “This is one thing, no matter what, that we’re always going to agree on – We owe so much to men and families like this, and we must always respect them and show our gratitude.”

I also admire the fact that Schumer hasn’t named things after himself all over the state, that he lives in Washington humbly in a tiny apartment he shares with four or five others, and that he is usually in the mix when senators from both parties try to meet in the middle to honestly figure things out.

And I am intensely proud as a New Yorker that he is going to be the new Democratic leader in the United States Senate.

Our state deserves it, and our hard-working senator deserves it.

So, yes, I posed for a picture with Chuck Schumer yesterday, and proudly posted it on Facebook and Twitter. It was an honor.

Because though I disagree with this man, I also respect him and am inspired by him.

I know he is working hard for our state, and that he actually visits our state.

He might be a commie lib, but he’s our commie lib, and when I don’t have to be in a peeing match with him, I’m not going to be.

So, yes, I posed with Chuch Schumer.

I did it because I admire and respect him.

Even in intense disagreement.


- by Bob Lonsberry © 2015

   
        
   
 
    

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