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Phillips says he's got bigger plans for Binghamton's economy

Phillips and his family in Binghamton. Phillips says he has an eye on upstate's future.
Emma Jacobs
Phillips and his family in Binghamton. Phillips says he has an eye on upstate's future.

Politicals analysts have called the tightening race for New York’s 22nd congressional district a race to watch. The contest made Politico's top 10 list of competitive House races last week. Today, Republican challenger George Phillips focused on the national and local economy during his final press conference before the November elections.

"I brought young George, my son with me here, and my wife Diana, because I believe our closing argument is this election is about the future," Phillips explained.

The 22nd is currently held by Congressman Maurice Hinchey, who maintains his lead in the race, according to outside polls.

Phillips said that high taxes and regulation Hinchey has supported have driven business overseas. Hinchey's platform includes supporting some tax cuts. You can read his voting record on tax reform here.

Phillips said he will bring jobs back to the area, while criticizing support for "pork-barrel projects." (The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste’s 2010 "Pig Book," ranked Hinchey at 50 out of 435 for the size of his budget earmarks.)

Phillips mentioned his endorsement from the Southern Tier Landowners Coalition for his support of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Congressman Hinchey has become a vocal and visible opponent of gas drilling. He is also a key sponsor of the so-called "FRAC Act," which would end the exemption of hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Don Prue, of Apalachin, N.Y. was one of a small group of supporters in attendance. Prue owns land he hopes to lease his land for gas exploration, and said he has been waiting for someone to challenge Hinchey and the country’s economic policies.

Prue noted that, "National politics has pretty much wended its way into the local story."

Prue's talking about jobs and employment but national politics have also been a factor in the Phillips' campaign’s finances. Phillips began the last week of the campaign with more money than his opponent, and has been supported by major ad buys from outside Republican groups. Phillips said his campaign is moving forward independently, and isn't coordinating with outside groups.

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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