Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D)
Elected: 1992, 9th term.
Born: Oct. 27, 1938, New York, NY .
Education: S.U.N.Y. New Paltz, B.S. 1968, M.A. 1969.
Family: Married (Allison Lee); 3 children.
Military career: Navy, 1956–59.
Elected office: NY Assembly, 1974–92.
Professional Career: Cement plant worker, 1959–64; NY St. Thruway toll collector, 1959–68; Analyst, NY St. Dept. of Educ., 1971–74.
The congressman from the 22nd is Maurice Hinchey, a Democrat elected in 1992. The son of a cement plant worker, Hinchey grew up in Greenwich Village in humble circumstances. After high school, he enlisted in the Navy at age 18 and served on a destroyer in the Pacific. When he got home, he worked in the cement factory for five years. But Hinchey wanted to go to college, and since his parents couldn’t afford to send him, he worked his way through as a New York State Thruway toll collector. After getting his degree, he was an analyst for the state education department. Then, in the Democratic year of 1974, Hinchey was elected as the first Democrat from Ulster County to the New York Assembly since 1912, and served for nine terms. When he ran for Congress, Hinchey called for national health insurance, a repeal of Reagan-Bush tax cuts for upper-income taxpayers and corporations, and “reindustrializing America.” His Republican opponent, Bob Moppert, a Binghamton moving company owner, campaigned on reducing government spending and trimming the size of the federal bureaucracy. Hinchey won 50%-47%.
|Maurice Hinchey (D-Ind-WF)||168,558||(66%)||($735,253)|
|George Phillips (R-C)||85,126||(34%)||($150,490)|
|Maurice Hinchey (D-Ind-WF)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (100%), 2004 (67%), 2002 (64%), 2000 (62%), 1998 (62%), 1996 (55%), 1994 (49%), 1992 (50%)
Hinchey has one of the most liberal voting records for a nonurban member in the House. He is frequently the leader of lost causes. In 2008, he co-sponsored a bill calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush. When Republicans controlled the White House, he once sparked a House debate with a proposal to prohibit the private donation of food and beverages for official events at the vice president’s residence; it was defeated, with 54 Democrats voting no. In 2004, he was one of 16 House members voting against a resolution of sympathy for the victims of the September 11 attacks. He objected to the Republicans’ inclusion of “political” language with the “destruction of two terrorist regimes” in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the measure “back-slapping, self-congratulatory.” Following an incident at a Rosendale street fair in July 2008, a local official of the National Rifle Association filed harassment charges against Hinchey for allegedly hitting him on the head following a heated exchange. An Ulster County judge dismissed the charges in November 2008.
Hinchey has been a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, and condemned the “deplorable” humanitarian conditions that the United States had created there. With other Democrats, Hinchey organized the Future of American Media Caucus to “address critical media policy issues,” where he has advocated a return of the Federal Communications Commission’s Fairness Doctrine requiring equal time for differing political viewpoints. He says that the television networks give disproportionate airtime to conservatives on their Sunday morning talk shows.
On the Appropriations Committee, his focus has been ensuring the independence of the Food and Drug Administration from the pharmaceutical industry, and demanding that owners of oil and gas leases pay “fair market prices.” When Republicans in 2008 sought repeal of oil-drilling restrictions, Hinchey countered by seeking increased penalties for gas-price gouging and pressing for more use of renewable fuels. He joined the Defense Subcommittee in 2009, where his focus is seeking money for local defense contractors. Earlier, he directed several appropriations grants to the revitalization of downtown Poughkeepsie.
Hinchey was the subject of unfavorable press coverage in recent years when New York newspapers reported extensively on his more than 20 privately funded foreign trips to exotic places, ranking him among the top members of Congress who received travel gifts. The New York Post dubbed him a “junket junkie.” He has since cut back on his foreign travel.
Early in his House tenure Hinchey was a Republican target, but since the mid-1990s he has won re-election easily. His district became more secure after the 2002 redistricting with the help of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a friend of Hinchey’s from their time in the Legislature.