A former Congressman for District 2
of New York
, on Long Island
Really pleasant guy, he's my neighbor, ran on the Republican ticket but billed himself as a pretty moderate guy. He was strongly involved in the local community, supported his constituents, had kids in public school, and loves New York. I can say he's one of the few Congressmen who have stood up to get emergency funding and some relief for the coastal property here, mainly Fire Island, as he has a summer house there.
Probably the biggest item in his career is or was the competition for the senate. Allow me to begin at the beginning. Hillary Clinton had a panel of political analysts decide that New York was probably the best stepping point for the Presidency. She began her thinly-veiled plan to tour New York and live upstate, in a calculated move to get support from those not in New York City. (I don't want to promote an arguement in this w/u, but I needed to mention this, so lemme get back onto the man.)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani was set to ascend to the race to compete with Hillary for the seat, but a divorce and prostate cancer made him withdraw from the ballot. Enter Mr. Lazio, with a bit of a late start. I think he had his work cut out for him, as the campaign had already gained national attention by having Hillary vs. Giuliani.
Good ol' Rick began his campaign telling how he really liked New York, and how he always lived here. He even went to Vassar College upstate. His father was a hard working store owner, and he continues the work ethic. Critics sneered and said "So?" I guess some thought Hillary Clinton was a better choice for her political stance, even though she had lived in New York for something like 6 months.
I actually got to meet him, as well as attend 2 of his most important political rallies. The first was when he announced his running for election, which got national headlines. The second was that he was endorsed by Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Governor George Pataki. He's probably the most pleasant politician I've met, and looks the youngest too. He's got Brown hair, brown eyes, no gray hair at all, and has this vitality to his charisma. I've also met Hillary Clinton and I somehow felt like Mr. Lazio was more trustworthy. He goes to the local town board meetings and Boy Scout ceremonies. He talks to his neighabors often. Perhaps his downside was that he spoke frequently of being a native resident that his stand on the issues didn't reach enough people.
During the campaign in the summer of 2000, he obtained a large tour bus and traveled to the corners of the state, carrying out a campaign that ran millions of dollars, second only to Hillary Clinton's. Hillary countered with her own campaign stops, including going to Lazio's home town of Bay Shore, even while Giuliani was still running.
The campaign was a harsh one, as Lazio suddenly found himself in the National spotlight. Aside from critics and those in other states advocating Hillary's adgenda, he also had to deal with problems within his own party, as there was some dissension. Within his hometown, the arguements intensified, with Lazio banners and bumper stickers being torn down in the night, along with Hillary ones also. The debates in which people took a stance and didn't move from it did little to sway others. Some nasty words flew, and some Hillary Go home bumper stickers, as well as those calling her a carpetbagger.
Although nearly 3 million New Yorkers voted for him, Hillary Clinton won by a moderately close margin. Luckily AFAIK he now has a job in New York city in a law firm, and thanked his constituents as well is still working to clear away some lingering campaign debts, which were high.
I like him because the people preceding and succeeding him just aren't as active as he was. A shame.
You could probably find a better timeline, as well as his farewell and thank-you letter at http://www.lazio.com
Oh, and after reading RimRod's writeup, I forgot to mention that a lot of his votes were because the election deterioriated for some people into a "Are you voting for or against Hillary?" movement. So anyone, including Dan Quayle could have gotten similiar vote counts. I've also had the conversation where the person would vote a woman over a man any day.