Election 2010: Voters Choice
Read what two local Congressional candidates have to say about the issues — and preview three state races that will have an impact on the Valley
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Squaring off: Hayworth challenges incumbent Rep. John Hall (below, right) in the 19th District (a seat Hall has held since 2006)
Hudson Valley: Why are you running for Congress?
Nan Hayworth: Conviction and passion. When the supermajority was elected in November ’08, I became concerned about their reach and the continued expansion of the federal government that had already begun before that election. But they proceeded to carry the involvement of the federal government and the financial future of all of our citizens far beyond what the Constitution says.
There’s one word to describe me: I am a constitutionist. I believe fervently this is the greatest nation ever to exist, precisely because of the design of the Constitution that created a federal government with limited powers and that granted unprecedented freedoms to citizens. Because of that passionately held belief, I felt I could be an effective advocate.
Even my professional background, running a small business with my first practice, and my experience as a physician in a service profession; wife of 29 years and mother for about 20 years; I have elderly parents who lived in the district for 22 years — I think I have something to offer in terms of knowledge, experience and the desire to serve. I love to meet people and listen to them, take their concerns to heart, and try to work on solutions.
Had you considered a political career before? Or was it something that first came about in 2008?
In December ’08, my husband, actually, said to me: “You should run for Congress.” It was one of those moments, when someone will say something and it will strike a chord: “Well, maybe I should.” And that began a fairly extensive round of trial balloons with friends and colleagues. I’d tell them, “I’m thinking of running for Congress,” and see how they responded.
Did they respond positively?
They did. Many of them questioned my sanity, but in the nicest possible way.
You grew up in Indiana, then went to Princeton for college and Cornell for medical school. What made you choose to move to the Hudson Valley?
My husband Scott took a job with the Mount Kisco Medical Group in 1988. So we moved to Mount Kisco, and I felt at home from the very start. My favorite form of relaxation is to take a walk around the center of town. But I really haven’t had much time to do that in the past year and a half, unfortunately.
What else do you like to do to relax, when you do manage to find some time?
My moments of relaxation come down now to giving my cats a hug and a kiss. And enjoying the company of my family whenever I can manage to spend some time with them. I have the great blessing of being with cherished friends much of the time so I don’t find the campaign trail to be burdensome.
There are all kinds of challenges, but there are so many compensatory blessings that it would be small-minded of me to say I’m stressed.
So you’re a cat person?
I am. We just lost my precious Laura, who died of complications of heart disease last week. But she lived a charmed life, to say the very least.
We just adopted a little girl [cat]. One of my friends said, “You know, you have so much love to give, and there are so many little ones who need it. Don’t wait. Bring another cat into your life.” She was found full of sores, on a street in the Bronx, three months ago. She was nursed back to better health, and she’s in good shape now.
A Democrat who lives in Dover Plains, John Hall — who faces off with Hayworth for the 19th District seat — was profiled by Joe Queenan in HV’s October 2006 issue
How has your husband been involved in the campaign?
He’s been extraordinarily helpful in many ways. It was his suggestion that I run — it was strictly because he thought I’d be a perfect congresswoman, not because of some self-aggrandizing motive or anything like that. And he’s undergone sacrifices. Family time is almost none. They go on vacations without me, because I’m here. He’s poured a lot of energy and effort into the campaign.
You have two sons?
Yes, they’re 19 and 17 years old. The oldest is a senior at Simon’s Rock, which is a division of Bard College. He’s actually deferred his senior year in order to help with the campaign. We’re delighted he decided to do that. He’s been indispensable to me.
What is your biggest concern as a parent raising children in the Hudson Valley?
My biggest concern is that they and everyone of their generation will have the opportunity that Americans have had since the founding of this country. No other country in history has moved so many millions from poverty and despair to prosperity.
I do fear that a federal government that spends as extremely as this one does, that is nationalizing enormous chunks of our economy and seeing itself as the regulator of all things, will stifle a vibrant economy, as well as innovation and creativity. [I fear that] all of the great things we think about when we think about free enterprise, that those things won’t be available, not only on the personal side but in terms of our strength as the greatest democracy in the world. We have to defend this country, and we are weakened when our economy is weakened.
Do you feel you’ve experienced any special challenges — or advantages — as a woman running for office?
I’ve always been one of those people who doesn’t look at gender when I go into an endeavor. Other than childbearing, of course. (Laughs.) But being a mother has certainly informed my view of the world, and I think it has been very helpful. One of the things you appreciate as a mother is you can encounter substantial challenges to your own view to the way things can be ordered. But in terms of my gender per se, I haven’t perceived it as an impediment.
On your Web site, you say taxes are “killing” the Hudson Valley. What do you mean by that?
On the ground in the district, my fellow citizens describe overwhelmingly that they are having trouble — if not in their own lives directly, in the lives of their friends and their neighbors and their loved ones. They’re worried about being able to afford to stay New Yorkers. The federal tax burden, federal spending, and new regulations have a chilling effect on enterprise, on businesses big and small, on all of the endeavors we use to keep body and soul together. We have empty storefronts. We have employers who are leaving the area, or who are reluctant to hire or grow because they don’t know what this government is going to do. It’s the number one concern of the people who live in District 19.
What we tax, we suppress. You get less of what you tax. Now, certain reasonable taxes can be levied on the things our government really needs to do on the local, state, and federal level. This federal government is spending like mad on a jobless stimulus. There have been no net benefits from the $1 trillion, when you add it all up, that has been spent in the stimulus. We’re the ones who are paying the taxes that are bailing out industries that have not had a bearing, in terms of benefits, on the lives of the people in our district. We feel as though we’re spending for a lot of stuff and getting very little for that money, if anything. We have projects that need to be done in the district, that our municipalities should be able to fund. They can’t fund them because they’re losing their tax base. People’s incomes are shrinking, people are leaving. We could do so much better.
Which taxes do you believe should be lowered?
You’d like to see taxes reduced across the board, with corresponding cuts in spending. It’s easy to say, I recognize. It will be an ongoing challenge to accomplish that. But what do we intend to do? As expeditiously as possible, we intend to perpetuate the ’01 and ’03 tax cuts. I’d like to see them made permanent. I would definitely like to see the Alternative Minimum Tax eliminated, the death tax eliminated, capital gains or corporate dividend taxes reduced. That’s true stimulus because when the resources and money stay in the private sector, good things can happen. Even if the money’s simply in the bank, the bank can use those funds to make loans.