For Don Hassig, the race for New York's 21st Congressional District isn't about winning or losing; it's about bringing more attention to the risks associated with persistent organic pollutants.
But the Green Party candidate from Colton says his campaign platform goes beyond POPs, his pet issue over many years. This week, he issued a statement detailing his positions on a variety of issues, including ethics, equality, the military, the financial sector and protection of farm animals. He also told the Enterprise recently that he's concerned about tax fairness.
Hassig is running for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh. The other candidate is Republican Matt Doheny, a businessman from Watertown.
Green Party candidate Don Hassig talks at a recent campaign stop in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Morris)
A recent poll conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research, commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, had Hassig with 4 percent of the vote, trailing Owens and Doheny, who polled at 50, and 38 percent, respectively.
On Thursday, Hassig was ejected from the New York State Fair in Syracuse for dancing in a youth building managed by Cornell University, according to a statement issued by Hassig. Interpretive dance is one of Hassig's signature activities.
Campaign spokesmen for Owens and Doheny declined to comment on Hassig's platform.
Hassig said "powerful people" aren't being held accountable for their actions.
"This can be changed," he said in a press release. "We need to conduct a national ethics review, which would entail holding public forum style meetings across the country to discuss how to create accountability for unethical behavior among government employees and officials and among corporate executives."
Hassig said he wants to create a national code of ethics and a board charged with enforcing that code.
Hassig said he thinks Americans should be afforded equal access to education. That means free public education from grade school to graduate school, he said.
He also wants "a totally different view of taxation," he told the Enterprise.
"The people that are working so hard and only earning a relatively small amount of money would not have to support the activities of our government to the extent they have in the past," Hassig said. "It's not right. People shouldn't have to struggle to survive - work two jobs, work three jobs and then have to pay taxes on top of that."
Hassig advocated for a pollution tax, the revenue from which would be used to offset the cost of government services like public health and infrastructure.
The U.S. spends too much on its military, Hassig said. An "all-defensive military" would solve that.
"The all-defensive military will employ a much smaller number of people because we do not need a vast number of people in the military when the sole purpose of the military is self-defense," Hassig said in his press release. "The huge savings from this change in military forces will produce monies that can be used to provide free public education and free legal assistance for civil rights litigation."
Hassig said the U.S. never should have sent troops to Afghanistan, and he hopes the country doesn't get involved in the Syria crisis.
Hassig said the nation's financial sector needs stricter regulatory measures, and called for greater accountability among financiers and bank executives.
"Enforcement of the strong regulations that are developed to control the financial sector will bring an end to cheating on a colossal scale," Hassig said.
Congress needs to ban exploitation of farm animals, Hassig said.
"A key element of this ban will be the banning of factory farms," he said.
Hassig said the use of growth hormones and "highly concentrated feeds" amounts to animal abuse.