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John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr. is an Americanmarker Republican politician, and former member of the United States House of Representatives from New Yorkmarker. He represented New York's 29th congressional district for two terms before being defeated for reelection by Eric Massa on November 4, 2008 by margin of 51%-49%. After waiting for two weeks pending recounts, Kuhl conceded to Massa on November 21, 2008.

Early life and education

Kuhl was born April 19, 1943 in Hammondsport, New Yorkmarker, where he now lives. He graduated from Union Collegemarker in Schenectady, New Yorkmarker with a B.A. in civil engineering in 1966, and then got a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1969. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1970.

New York legislature

Kuhl was a member of the New York Assembly from 1981 to 1987 and the New York State Senate from 1987 to 2004. His career included posts as the attorney for several municipalities including Steuben Countymarker. He was appointed the Senate's Assistant Majority Leader for Operations at the beginning of the 1995 legislative session. During his time in the legislature, he was a practicing lawyer with an office in Bath.

In 1997, while serving as a state senator, Kuhl was arrested and convicted of drunk driving. His driver's license was revoked for six months.



House of Representatives

2004 election

In 2004, Kuhl ran for the House seat of retiring U.S. Representative Amo Houghton, a Republican multimillionaire who had displayed a moderate bent during 18 years in Washington. In the Republican primary, Kuhl, who was supported by Houghton, defeated Monroe Countymarker Legislator Mark Assini. He then defeated 27-year-old Democrat Samara Barend.

The campaign finished out with harsh television commercials casting Barend as devious and untrustworthy and Kuhl as a drunken driver whose breakup with his wife in the 1990s shed doubts on his fitness to hold office. Kuhl, who had been heavily favored in the Republican-leaning 29th District (registered Republicans outnumbered registered Democrats 3-2), won with 51% of the vote, as opposed to Barend's nearly 41%. (Conservative Party candidate Mark Assini, who dropped out of the race in September 2004, garnered 6%.) He was succeeded in the Senate by Republican George Winner.

Political positions

Kuhl, a seasoned New York politician, was the most politically experienced freshman of the 2004 House class. He was considered a fairly reliable conservative who generally voted against abortion rights, gun control and tax increases. During his final term in the 110th Congress, he had the second highest lifetime rating (87.5%) from the American Conservative Union out of the 29 Representatives from New York state. He was, however, a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership.

Kuhl supported making then-President Bush's tax cuts permanent. In addition, he also advocated for a 10-cent reduction in federal gasoline taxes .

He supported the Iraq war and rebuilding efforts, saying "we must see this effort through." However, after the Democratic Party takeover of the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections, Kuhl shifted his focus somewhat. He went on record as opposing the military's "stop-loss" policy and addressed the issue of families in which both parents serve in the military .

Kuhl was a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.

In September 2007, Kuhl was noted in the news as being one of the most outspoken opponents of a plan by then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to allow illegal aliens to apply for driver's licenses. He also became a prominent opponent of the SCHIP expansion, a stance for which he earned significant animosity from various groups including MoveOn, the Service Employees International Union, and even former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

During his time as a state senator, Kuhl was an advocate of New York City secession and unsuccessfully introduced several bills to separate Upstate New York from downstate.

He voted for the Bailout bill on October 3, after voting against it the first time.

Committee assignments

  • Agriculture Committee
    • Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture
  • Education and Labor Committee
    • Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education
    • Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness
  • Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
    • Subcommittee on Aviation
    • Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
    • Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
  • Deputy Minority Whip


Personal

Randy Kuhl graduated from Hammondsport Central School, and earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Union College (1966). In 1969 he received his Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law. He successfully ran for the New York State Assembly in 1980, the New York State Senate in 1986, and the U.S. House of Representatives from 2004 until 2008.

Family

Randy Kuhl currently lives in Hammondsport; he is the father of three sons and is divorced.

2006 re-election campaign

Kuhl's Democratic opponent in the 2006 elections was former Navy officer Eric Massa of Corningmarker, a former Republican.

In March 2006, Kuhl invited President George W. Bush to Canandaiguamarker. Bush spoke at Canandaigua Academy, a public high school. After the high school visit Bush's motorcade visited Ferris Hills, a senior living community for upper-income residents. (The trip had previously been billed as including a visit to a "nursing home".) Bush took questions for about fifteen minutes from these seniors about his new prescription-drug plan, Medicare Part D.

In September 2006, Kuhl welcomed Vice President Dick Cheney to a major fundraiser in Rochester. Kuhl said he couldn't agree more with Cheney's assessment that combating terrorists around the world stands as the top issue of this campaign. A flow of bad news from the war zone needs to be countered by a frank discussion of reality, he said. "They don't necessarily understand the full importance of our presence there," he said of his Finger Lakes and Southern Tier constituents.

Preliminary results from the November election showed Kuhl narrowly beating Massa by a margin of approximately 5,600 votes (out of about 193,000 cast). Massa had initially refused to concede the election and was expected to file a challenge, but on November 15, 2006 Massa conceded the election and contacted Kuhl to congratulate him. According to the final election results, which were certified by the New York State Board of Elections on December 14, 2006, Kuhl won by a margin of 6,033 votes (out of 206,121 cast).

2008 re-election campaign

Kuhl's again faced Democratic nominee and former Navy officer Eric Massa, losing the rematch by a narrow 51-49 margin, roughly reversing the outcome of the 2006 elections. Kuhl finished behind Massa in Cattaraugus County, a county Kuhl carried by a 56-44 margin in 2006 (and one that voted for Presidential candidate John McCain in 2008), likely contributing to the loss. Because the race was so close, Kuhl did not concede the election until November 21, 2008.

Since his concession, Kuhl has not publicly been seen or heard, and his campaign site has been allowed to expire.

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