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Eric J.J. Massa (born September 16, 1959 in Charleston, South Carolinamarker) is an Americanmarker Democratic politician from Corning, New Yorkmarker, currently serving as the United States representative for the 29th Congressional District of New York.


Born in Charleston, S.C., the son of a career naval officer, Massa grew up in various locations, including Argentinamarker and New Orleansmarker. Massa graduated from the U.S.marker Naval Academy at Annapolismarker in 1981 and went on to serve in the Navy for 24 years. He qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer on the USS New Jersey marker, and eventually served as aide to former NATOmarker Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark. Near the end of his Navy career he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, from which he later recovered. A former Republican, he left his party over the issue of the Iraq War and campaigned in New Hampshire during the campaign of his former boss, Wesley Clark's failed presidential bid.

During the 2006 campaign, Massa positioned himself as strongly opposed to the Iraq war and unrestricted "free trade," favoring instead "fair trade". Other issues in his platform included expanding farm aid programs, as well as bringing homeland security money to the 29th District. Massa is also active in Band of Brothers/Veterans for a Secure America whose goal is to help veterans who are running for Congress as Democrats. He also supported a system for universal health care.

Massa has recently worked as a business consultant for Strategic Insight, a defense consulting firm in Alexandria, Virginiamarker. Massa, during a press conference in June, 2007, stated that he has since "curtailed all other activities in April (2007) when he became an active candidate".

Massa lives in Corning, New Yorkmarker with his wife Beverly, daughter Alexandra and son Justin. His eldest son Richard lives in California.

Massa was listed in the 2007 Esquire 100.

2008 election

Almost immediately after conceding defeat in 2006, Massa prepared for a rematch against Kuhl in 2008. The race remained tight through the campaign; however, Massa emerged victorious, defeating Kuhl 51% to 49% (a margin of approximately 4000 votes), although Kuhl did not immediately concede defeat. All voting machines were impounded at Kuhl's request (pending a re-count), with 12,000 absentee ballots to be counted. The recount yielded a margin of victory of 5,000 votes for Massa, and Kuhl conceded November 20.

Some press reports attribute Massa's victory to the plurality he attained among voters in Cattaraugus County, which voted for Kuhl in 2004 and 2006, in the latter by approximately 4,000 votes over Massa. Others point to the 57%-43% margin of votes Massa garnered in the portion of the 29th district located in Monroe Countymarker, essentially southern suburbs of Rochester, traditionally the most Democratic portion of the district (which had also voted for Massa in 2006 and voted for Samara Barend in 2004).

111th Congress

Massa was openly seeking a position on the House Transportation Committee (Kuhl had also held a seat on the same committee), to advocate for the expansion of U.S. Route 219 in New York from Springville to Salamanca. However, he failed to retain that committee assignment.

Because he is a military veteran, he was given a seat on the House Armed Services Committee, though he did not seek it, inherited Kuhl's seat on the Agriculture Committee, and earned a seat the House Homeland Security Committee. Massa is also a member of the Populist caucus, which was formed in February 2009.

Massa voted in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, but has said he finds faults with the legislation.

In April 2009, Massa was noted for his suggestion to close the United States-Mexico border as a response to the 2009 swine flu outbreak, which originated in Mexico. He also was a leading critic of Time Warner Cable's abortive plan to charge a tiered service rate for its high-speed Internet service.

Though he generally supports a health care reform plan, he opposes, and voted against, the current plans put forth by the Obama administration, due to the cost, and prefers a single-payer health care system instead.

During the 2009 Netroots Nation convention held in Pittsburgh, PA, Massa told a group of Netroot activists that he "will vote adamantly against the interests of my district if I actually think what I am doing is going to be helpful." in regards to single payer health care system. He also stated that Sen. Chuck Grassley's comments about end-of-life care constitute "an act of treason."

Committee assignments

Electoral history

See also


  1. House Results - NY 29 - CNN
  2. Massa ready to hit the ground running in Washington -
  3. "No 35: Eric Massa, the Angry Citizen" -
  4. Local Republicans may have had big hand in Massa success. Olean Times Herald. 6 November 2008.
  5. Miller, Rick. Massa steps into Indian tax fray. Olean Times Herald. 18 December 2008.
  6. [1]
  7. Hutchinson, Laura. Massa Asks Committee to Close Mexican Border. WENY-TV.
  8. Stiehl, Renata. Time Warner Cable to Shelve Consumption Billing. WENY-TV. 16 April 2009.

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