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Richard Wager was a Republican candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the 20th Congressional District (map) of New York. He was seeking the Republican Party, Conservative Party, and Constitution Party nominations to challenge incumbent Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), but lost a primary to Sandy Treadwell on Sept. 9, 2008.
Positions, record and controversies
Born in Hyde Park NY, Dutchess Couny, Mr. Wager is 36 years old. He holds a law degree and a MBA from Fordham University and served in the administrations of New York City mayors Rudolph W. Giuliani and Michael R. Bloomberg, where he specialized in economic development and restructuring government systems to make them more accessible to the public. Mr. Wager most recently supervised a widely-heralded $100 million technology upgrade for the City of New York that simplified the way citizens interact with government and pay fees. Richard has had a life-long interest in public service. After graduating from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree, he joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, dedicating almost three years of his life to the cause of low-income housing in rural Alabama. He has remained devoted to the mission of affordable home ownership ever since and serves as a board member and officer of Bethel-Ensley Action Task, Inc., in Birmingham, Al. 
Mr. Wager is married to Margaret Johnson Wager, 28, an attorney at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. They share a home in the Village of Millbrook in Dutchess County. He is the son of Richard K. Wager, the former publisher of the Poughkeepsie Journal and Vice President of Gannett Northeast Group. His mother, Ellen, breeds nationally-recognized champion boxer dogs. Ellen and Dick Wager have been married for 42 years. 
Positions & Record
Richard Wager strongly criticized Congresswoman Gillibrand on her 2007 estate tax vote.
He was the first candidate to take a strong stand against Gov Spitzer's widely unpopular Drivers License Plan for Illegal Immigrants.
In September of 2007 Mr. Wager strongly rebuked Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand for her weak response to the well publicized Moveon.org ad which referenced the decorated and very well-respected US Army General Patreaus as General "Betray-us." 
Richard Wager, whose own family was personally affected by the attacks of 9/11, is known to be a fierce proponent of the war on terror: "This is not a partisan issue; it is a reality issue. And I’ll work in Congress with members on both sides of the aisle to get New York the funding it needs. I’ll also work to give law enforcement every tool it needs to track terrorists inside and outside this country." 
On Iraq, Richard Wager feels strongly that America must remain committed to defeating radical Islamic terrorist networks that attacked us on 9/11 and that seek to attack us again: "Mistakes were made early on in Iraq, but our soldiers have done an extraordinary job under the most difficult circumstances imaginable. Their nation is forever in debt to them, especially to the families of those who paid with their lives for long-term American security." 
Richard Wager feels massive immigration and related security reforms are imperative to America's future. He is quoted on his website as saying: "Washington’s failure to act on illegal immigration is unforgivable. There are an estimated 12-20 million illegal immigrants currently in this country, with hundreds more streaming across our borders every week. This is not just an immigration problem any more. In a post-9/11 world, it is a national security risk. Immigrants seeking new lives and opportunity in America have been one of nation’s greatest strengths, but illegal immigration is making a mockery of our laws. And porous borders are an invitation to our enemies. We need to get a handle on it now." 
New York's Economy
On New York's economy Richard Wager states: "Educated young people from Upstate New York have become one of our leading exports. As a result, the Empire State is shrinking, and that cannot be allowed to continue. History teaches us that jobs go where taxes are lowest, and New York taxes are the highest in the nation. I’ll oppose unfunded federal mandates and fight for tax cuts in Washington and Albany. Because lower taxes and less spending are the keys to bringing jobs back to New York." 
Spending and Tax Cuts
Wager is a strong advocate expanding the Bush tax cuts: "American families and businesses spend money more wisely and more productively than the federal government. I don’t know anyone who disagrees with that. Yet Washington wants to spend more money every year at the expense of families and job growth. That doesn’t make sense to me. Every time the federal government cuts tax rates, the economy expands and more jobs are created. And families use the savings they get to invest in things that matter, like a college education, a home or a well-deserved retirement. I’ll cut spending and lower taxes. Because it’s the right—and smart—thing to do." 
Richard Wager believes the American health-care system needs more free market based reforms: "American medicine remains the best in the world. People travel to this country every day to receive life-saving procedures that they cannot get at home, either because they are unavailable or because they would have to wait months or even years to receive the treatment. I will work to encourage free market reforms in healthcare, like tax-free health savings accounts, portable insurance plans and increased competition among insurance providers. I’ll also work to promote preventive care in America and to encourage insurance providers to reward healthy behavior through reduced premium structures....I believe that free market solutions, not more bureaucracy, is the right way to go." 
Richard Wager feels that America's dependence on foreign oil from some of the most volatile regions in the world leaves our nation vulnerable to possible supply disruptions, and our enormous appetite for fossil fuels is taking a toll on the environment. "Our country is now rapidly developing technologies that could change the face of energy worldwide. I am an enthusiastic supporter of public-private research and development in this arena and I will vote in Congress to fund more of it. These technologies will eventually be self-sustaining by private industry." 
For more information on Wager's positions on the issues, visit his website at: http://www.wager08.com/theissues.php
Wager was seeking the Republican Party, Conservative Party, and Constitution Party nominations to challenge incumbent Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), but lost a primary to Sandy Treadwell on Sept. 9, 2008.
Money in politics
Wager will be assigned committees if and when he is elected to Congress.
Articles and resources
- 2008 U.S. congressional elections
- Portal:New York and the U.S. Congress
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 New York, TheGreenPapers.com, retrieved September 10, 2008
- ↑ Wager Criticizes Gillibrand on Estate Tax Vote
- ↑ Wager Radio Ad
- Maury Thompson, "Wager files committee paperwork," Post Star, April 2, 2007.