Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Exclusive Interview with Mike Cassaro

Daniel Solzman: Thank you for joining the Kentucky Democrat today. How are things going in Louisville?
Mike Cassaro: It’s going great in Louisville! The Cards are on a roll. The Wildcats are coming back. The Humana Play Festival (which I will regrettably miss this year) is upon us. Except for that one icy-snowy day, this winter has been balmy. How can things be better?

Daniel, I must confess to you that (like you) I am a big baseball fan; fanatic would be more like it. I wanted, when I was a kid, to be the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. I am a Reds fan. Don’t worry, I am not a St Louis Cardinal hater.

Like you, I enjoyed listening to Jack Buck. He was a great voice for baseball.

DS: When did you officially decide to run for Senate and what factored into that decision?
MC: I was the first candidate to announce for the Senate seat in late November.

I am running for Senate because (as a family man, concerned citizen, physician, and small business owner), I am frustrated and irritated with official Washington policies. Career politicians, like Mitch McConnell, have created policies that have served as roadblocks to small businesses, our health care system, and educational institutions. I have been on the receiving end of such policies for over twenty years.

DS: How do you feel that the Iraqi situation needs to be handled? With our armed forces stretched so thin, what should happen in the event that America does something about Iran?
MC: Those are two very good questions. I cannot answer the military question concerning Iran because I am not privy to high-level security information. I pray that our young people do not have to fight a war there.

I have been against the Iraq War since the get-go. This war has been a terrible strain on America’s economy and families. We have spent over a trillion dollars on an ill-advised war. This same amount of money could have helped solve our healthcare and educational problems. What a waste!

DS: Do you plan to outreach to bloggers or, as they are being called, the netroots?
MC: I absolutely plan to reach out to netroots. A public servant or candidate for office would be crazy not to.

This is the first of my many virtual interviews. I also plan to have Jim Pence do one of his famous “You Tube” interviews.

Members of the netroots community can reach me at mike@cassaroforsenate.com.

DS: Do you have any thoughts on the way that blogs have revolutionized politics altogether?
MC: Bloggers have revolutionized politics by quickly spreading political news everywhere. Blogs also afford the opportunity for people to hear many diverse political voices.

DS: Do you feel that the state party is heading in the right direction?
MC: Under the vigorous leadership of Jennifer Moore and Nathan Wilson, the state party is very much alive and well. We have taken back the Governor’s mansion; we will take back McConnell’s seat; we will re-gain control of the State Senate (most likely in 2010); we will retire Jin Bunning in 2010.

DS: How about the national party given the perception in the commonwealth?
MC: The Democratic National Party is also having a renaissance in Kentucky. It has been ages since I have seen such enthusiasm for the presidential candidates and such interest in state primaries. (I am eagerly anticipating voting in Kentucky’s presidential primary. For the first time in a long time, my vote might have meaning in the nomination process.)

While Kentucky Democrats might not agree with all the actions of the Democratic National Council (DNC), we are once again proud to identify with it. This is a fabulous change from recent years when Kentucky Democrats ran quickly and far from the DNC.

DS: Do you think it's possible that the party will make more gains in the US Senate?
MC: The McConnell seat will be a big gain for Democrats. Capturing this seat will make a big change in Washington, and that is why I am focusing my energies on unseating McConnell.

I have not been following the latest news on the other Senate races. I have heard that the Democrats should gain between three and five Senate seats in this election cycle.

DS: Several folks want to unseat Mitch McConnell. What is your plan for doing so?
MC: My plan is to get more votes on November 4th than McConnell gets. That’s my plan!

DS: Jon Stewart or Bill O'Reilly?
MC: Jon Stewart! The Daily Show is one of my teenage son’s favorite shows.

DS: On that note, what is your stance on kittens and woodchoppers?
MC: The two should never meet. If kittens and woodchoppers should (G-d forbid) meet, neither one would ever be the same.

DS: What do you believe should be the three most important priorities for Congress?
MC: The economy is the top priority. We must bring quality jobs back to Kentucky and America, which will improve the economic prosperity of Kentucky and the Country. Bringing jobs back to America will lower our dependence on other countries for goods.

Real health care reform is another top priority. Americans need a long-term rationale and methodical solution to our health care problems. We cannot afford another band-aid approach like those we have seen for the last three decades. We have gone three wasteful decades down that road. I can write an essay on this problem, but your blog does not have the space.

We need to concentrate on developing educational policies that most effectively help teachers instruct their students. Effective instruction involves helping students acquire the knowledge and develop the skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century.

Unfunded federal mandates (such as the No Child Left Behind Act) have not done any service to our educational systems. In fact, Congressional focus on educational accountability (which benefits four major educational corporations) has done a disservice to America’s education. Congress needs to concentrate on funding programs that would help our educational institutions produce knowledgeable, flexible, and skillful students who can succeed in the new global economy.

DS: Thanks for joining the Kentucky Democrat and keep up the good fight!
MC: Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to chat, virtually, with your readers.

Thank you for all the good work that you have done with this blog and for Kentucky Democrats.

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