Stepping outside the party lines is sometimes the way U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, does his job.
For example, in March, he joined Democrats and other supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment at a rally in Washington. There, Hanna urged women voters: “I’ll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side — my side — has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can’t succeed without your help.”
With a new political landscape, Hanna is seeking a second Congressional term in November. Since 2010, he has represented the 24th Congressional District. Under redistricting, that area has been reshaped and renamed the 22nd Congressional District.
As of mid-April, Hanna had two challengers. One of the challengers is Tea Party activist Michael Kicinski of Earlville. He is challenging Hanna in a primary on June 26, 2012 for the GOP nomination. The other challenger isDemocrat Dan Lamb of Hurley. The general election is on Nov. 6, 2012.
“Congressman Richard Hanna looks forward to continuing to serve the Mohawk Valley as a thoughtful representative who lives in this district,” campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Battista said in an email interview.
Redistricting is required every 10 years under the Constitution to account for changes in population. In the 2010 census, New York state lost two Congressional districts, down to 27 from 29.
Under redistricting, Hanna’s district remains slightly more Republican, with the GOP at 41 percent — or 166,000 voters — and Democrats at 33 percent — or 132,000 voters. And that gives him a re-election advantage, said Philip Klinkner, a political science professor at Hamilton College.
“The issue,” said Klinkner, “is going to be whether he gets a serious challenger.”
Hanna, 61, was born in Utica and raised in Marcy, N.Y. He graduated from Reed College in Portland, Ore., with a degree in economics. Hanna and his wife, Kim, have two young children, Emerson and Grace. He has lived in Barneveld for the past 27 years. He is the owner and founder of Hanna Construction and a 25-year member of the Operating Engineers Local 545.
The union is endorsing Hanna for the election because of his longstanding relationship and support, said Terry Hogle, the union manager. “Hanna’s a good guy to work with,” said Hogle.
Hanna is also a member of the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce and a member of the National Rifle Association, according to his House website. In the House, he serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
From 1994 to 2004, Hanna served on the board of The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties. For two of those years, he was the board chairman. He received the foundation’s Rosamond Childs Award for Community Philanthropy in 2007, according to his House website. The award commemorates a donor for his or her philanthropic work.
In his campaign, Hanna cites major issues as agriculture, the economy and jobs, education, energy and environment, healthcare, national security and veterans.
“Richard built his life right here in upstate New York, has employed more than 450 people during his 30 years in the construction business and has given back to his community through numerous charitable causes,” campaign spokesperson Battista said in an email interview. “Richard is focused on job creation throughout upstate New York and promoting our regional defense assets.”
For fundraising, as of Dec. 31, 2011, Hanna had raised approximately $478,926, spent $200,118 and has $308,550 on hand, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group in Washington, D.C.
(Kathleen Lees is a graduate student in magazine, newspaper and online journalism.)