Nov. 7, 2012 – 12:09 a.m.

113th Congress: Dan Maffei, D-N.Y. (24th District)

Saving automobile dealerships, which abound in the Syracuse area, was a major priority for Dan Maffei when he served in the 111th Congress (2009–10). This time, he’d 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 isn’t satisfied with the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program, claiming that he hasn’t 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 people’s studies,” Maffei says. “It is bad if you’ve 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 he’d 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. “I’m hoping we can break these logjams, but right now both parties . . . have played to their bases, and it’s something that maybe I can’t change alone but maybe can be a part of changing.”