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Saving automobile dealerships, which abound in the Syracuse area, was a major priority for Maffei when he served in the 111th Congress (2009-10). This time, hed like to lead efforts to preserve Medicare and Medicaid and push for a transportation bill that would promote job opportunities in his district.
Education is another area in need of an overhaul, Maffei says. He isnt satisfied with the Obama administrations Race to the Top program, claiming that he hasnt seen any results in his region.
His recent experience as a part-time instructor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry exposed him to the pressures and hardships that students face, and he wants to make college more affordable. "That would help improve peoples studies," Maffei says. "It is bad if youve got multiple jobs and you still come out with so much debt that it really affects your job possibilities and your ability to start your life on an even keel." Loan forgiveness is one option hed explore, particularly for students in high-demand fields such as nursing.
Maffei sees the deficit as a major obstacle to getting things done in Congress: "I do think we need to balance the budget the right way."
Maffei, who worked as a Congressional aide from 1995 through 2005, says the Hill today is very different. "Im hoping we can break these logjams, but right now both parties . . . have played to their bases, and its something that maybe I cant change alone but maybe can be a part of changing."
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