Congressional candidates weigh in on Ryan
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BUFFALO, N.Y. --- "We've all been anxiously waiting for Mitt Romney to choose his running mate,” said Chris Collins.
The wait for 27th Congressional District republican candidate Collins ended at a rally in Virginia Saturday morning, when republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced he’d chosen Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan as his running mate.
"I was a little surprised,” democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul said. “But certainly it's the presidential candidate's prerogative. It is what it is."
At a rally in Norfolk, Ryan said he was excited to be part of the country’s “comeback team” and that team could change the game for candidates and constituents in the 27th Congressional District.
"I'm very happy that he's done this about a week earlier than we thought. This gives us about an extra week to talk about the issues,” Collins said.
The Wisconsin Congressman is best known for his budget plans to cut federal spending and overhaul Medicare, during his tenure as the Chairman of the House Finance Committee.
"I certainly am familiar with his work as budget director in putting forth the two budgets, the one that changes Medicare as we know it and other substantial cuts,” Hochul said.
And with less than 10 weeks left until the November election, Hochul's republican challenger for the new 27th congressional district plans to use Saturday's announcement, and Ryan's body of work, to his advantage.
"We can now get focused where we need to get focused. Right now, it's the economy and jobs, deficits, debts and Obama care," Collins said.
Ryan's 2012 budget focused on structural changes to Medicare, Medicaid and ultimately died in the Senate, but Collins said his ideas have the potential to be a game changer in the primarily conservative district currently represented by Hochul.
"I think it gives us a chance to show the true differences between candidates. We did it a year ago and this gives us another chance," Hochul said.
Meantime, in the Southern Tier, politicians on both sides of the aisle are also offering their thoughts on Romney’s running mate.
Democratic candidate for the 23rd Congressional District, Nate Shinagawa says leaders in Washington need to focus building up the middle class.
Shinagawa says Ryan's ideas on Medicare will benefit private insurance companies, while forcing seniors to pay more out of pocket.
"I believe that we need to actually give middle class people a tax cut, but increase taxes on the wealthy so they pay their fair share, so we could have the money to invest in roads, and affordable education and a 21st Century infrastructure so we can get our economy going again," said Shinagawa.
His opponent, Republican incumbent Tom Reed, 29th Congressional District, argues Ryan's selection is in fact a step in the right direction, not just for the Republican Party, but for the nation.
"Mitt Romney brings the job, the business experience to the table,” said Congressman Reed. “Paul Ryan's going to bring the legislative, national debt, fiscal issues that face us on a budgetary level, and Washington, to the table."
Reed says Ryan's current district in Wisconsin is similar to the 23rd in that they're both rural communities. That background, according to Reed, will allow him to take on issues important to constituents in the Southern Tier.