It's primary election season.
And political candidates are starting to make the rounds.
Tom Tarantella, a Democrat seeking his party's nomination to challenge Republican Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-5) this fall, was in Warren on Thursday night to speak to the Warren County Democratic Committee.
He stopped at the Times Observer office after the meeting.
"I decided to run during the government shutdown when our representative, GT Thompson, voted to shut down the government when they were protesting the World War II memorial," said Tarantella.
"I'm a 22-year veteran United States Army," he said, explaining that one of his children suggested that he run. "'Don't think about it, be about it'," he said.
Tarantella highlighted four areas of concern that he would seek to work on if elected veteran's affairs, Social Security, job creation and unfair tax structure.
As far as solutions, Tarantella said reforming the tax code would be "very easy. As far as taxes, one in four corporations don't pay any income tax at all."
He also decried the "income tax deduction" for taking jobs overseas. "Bring the work back to America," he said. "Does it make sense that I am going to let you take my job to China?"
Regarding veteran's affairs, Tarantella said, "The Senate said there wasn't enough money to take care of our vets. (There) was enough to go to war (and) a deficit when they came back."
He said a program that would have provided a $6,800 grant for veterans in need of a ramp or other home modification "was voted down. We deserve better."
Regarding aid and attention benefits for veterans, "These are the people, we sent them to war and we promised them this," he said, citing an average 264-day wait for the benefits to be processed by the Veterans Administration. "Forty-eight thousand Afghani and Iraqi veterans are homeless. We deserve better. They deserve better."
He also said that the solution to Social Security is "very simple."
"Raise the cap," he said, "because Social Security is not an entitlement. It is a tax the people paid and their employers paid and it is their money."
"The Republican Party has wanted Social Security to go away since 1933. Take the cap off (regarding income limits and contributions.) Then pay back the trust fund."
These problems Tarantella identified continue, he said "Because we are allowing this to happen. Thirty years ago we were the middle class. Now we're the working poor."
"Get out the vote," he added. "(You) gotta vote your conscious. Don't let big business or big money sway you. It's wrong."