|Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 12:48 PM|
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> Candidate denies racism claims
> Daily Gazette, The (Schenectady, NY)-October 23, 2012
> Author: MICHAEL LAMENDOLA
> Gazette Reporter
> Green Party congressional candidate Donald Hassig said Monday he was
> not being racist when he said Mexicans should not be working on American
> dairy farms.
> He made the comment Thursday night at a forum in the hamlet of
> Wanakena in St. Lawrence County, part of the sprawling 12-county 21st
> Congressional District. It earned him a quick rebuke from Green Party
> co-chairs Gloria Mattera and Michael O’Neil. They posted a news release on
> the party’s website disavowing Hassig’s candidacy and saying that his
> position is contrary to theirs.
> “With his statements, Mr. Hassig has placed himself outside the
> Green Party’s platform and its values. Hassig petitioned to be on the Green
> ballot line, but we do not consider him a Green candidate,” Mattera said in
> the release.
> McNeil said Hassig’s “views are completely against the principles of
> Green politics and the Green Party. ” We call on Greens to condemn the
> suggestion of violence against migrant workers and instead work in
> solidarity to confront the global trade policies that induce so many to
> travel far from their families under dangerous circumstances for such
> precarious employment.”
> Hassig, 56, said he intends to continue campaigning until the Nov. 6
> election. He faces Democrat Bill Owens and Republican Matt Doheny.
> Owens, D-Plattsburgh, currently represents the 23rd Congressional
> District. He was first elected to Congress in 2009. Owens and Doheny faced
> each other in 2010, when Doheny lost by 2,000 votes.
> “I am still on the ballot line and am still in this campaign,”
> Hassig said.
> Hassig denied he is a racist and that he stands by his comments. He
> said his comments are central to his view that some farm workers abuse
> “I am an animal-rights activist and I said Mexicans should not be
> milking American cows. Mexicans can’t read and write English,” he said.
> He said the language barrier could result in harm to animals as
> foreign workers cannot read directions on equipment or on chemicals that are
> used every day on dairy farms.
> He said he was making an observation that the workers are from
> “I said Mexicans. That is what everyone calls them. It does not
> matter what they are. They do not speak English and they do not read
> English,” he said. “I know the voters up here. They like me saying they do
> not want people from Mexico milking cows. They want to milk the cows
> Hassig made the statement in response to a question that asked his
> position on the use of immigrant workers as farm laborers. Both Doheny and
> Owens support changing the H-2A visa requirements to allow migrant workers
> to remain longer on farms.
> In published reports, Hassig also said he would like immigrant
> workers to leave the country and that they are taking away jobs from North
> Country workers.
> Hassig said the debate question was a perfect way to talk about cows
> being abused in what he termed “factory farms.”
> He said a factory farm relies on growth hormones, antibiotics,
> high-yield feed, artificial insemination and other techniques to force cows
> to produce large quantities of milk as quickly as possible. The process
> shortens their lives by about half, he said.
> He said he respects all races and does not advocate violence against
> people; he just does not condone the abuse of cows in any form.
> “I was born to be a farmer, and I have taken care of cows all my
> life. It is not right. Cows are being abused. I care about cows,” he said.
> Hassig said no one from the Green Party contacted him before
> disavowing his candidacy and he called on the party to retract its statement
> or else face a lawsuit.
> “They never talked to me, they never said anything to me. This is
> all so dirty and unfair,” he said. “They got so many people jumping all over
> me. They do not know I am not a racist, that I love cattle,” he said.
> Hassig describes himself as an “environmental revolutionary.”
> “I am really about the revolution. We need to get the good people
> out onto the streets and bring an end to [expletive] rich businesses. No
> more banks, no more cheating, no more doctors. I would create an economy
> that produces what we need, not what we want,” he said.
> Reach Gazette reporter Michael Lamendola at 843-2856 or
> Edition: Schenectady/Albany; FinalSection: A: FrontPage: A1Column:
> 21ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
> Record Number: 142193B9AC9A4A08Copyright (c) 2012 The Daily Gazette Co. All
> Rights Reserved.
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