By: Ermira Babamusta, New York/
Former NYS Senate candidate, Emin Eddie Egriu is actively considering running for New York’s 26th congressional district, U.S. House of Representatives. Egriu plans to announce his decision to run for the House seat on January 29, 2014.
Emin E. Egriu has helped improve Buffalo, New York since the creation of his first firm in 1989, EMIN (Everything Must Improve Now). Egriu has created a self-supporting community by developing new businesses, medical clinics, churches, homes, etc. His work with PUSH has stabilized communities and revitalized neighborhoods. Emin E. Egriu has been fully involved in politics since 1999. Egriu has focused on education, immigration, businesses, senior citizens and human rights issues. He has been at the forefront of the PUSH (Program Uniting Albanians) movement, a commitment he shares for New Yorkers, the Albanian community and all immigrants.
What makes Emin Egriu a strong candidate for Congress is because he cares about people. He tells the truth and puts people before politics. His experience, clear leadership, problem-solving skills, his commitment to community and vision for change make Egriu well suited for elected office. As a an honest and hard-working Democrat Egriu’s winnability has convinced not just New Yorkers and Albanians who fully support him, but also American-Albanians in Connecticut, Chicago, Detroit, NJ and from around the world. Egriu has built a strong national and international profile. For more info visit www.Pushusa.com and www.facebook.com/Egriu.
Interview with Democratic Candidate for US Congress (NY), Emin Eddie Egriu
Why this candidacy for US Congress, House of Representatives?
Emin E. Egriu: There needs to be change in Congress. The Congressional house at this time in our history is the most corrupted and segregated with approval rating of only 5-9%. My Congressman in the last 8 years has spent more than 8 billion dollars in Western NY, 90% percent of the investments are nontaxable. Even more crucial is that our unemployment has not changed. Western NY is losing its citizens at a rate of 20,000 residents a year; mostly our youth are leaving with hopes of better opportunities. He is a polished politician and only works for the inner circle and for the benefit of the Elite and not for the average citizen.
What is your platform?
Emin E. Egriu: 1) Lower taxes by removing duplicate government services. 2) Support local manufacturing and small business, change Free trade to Equal trade and tax anything above Equal. 3) Raise minimum wage to living wage $10.50 hour. 4) Invest in green energy, Science and technology.
What previous work experiences make you fit for this position?
Emin E. Egriu: I believe in hard work and building relationships in our community. At the age of 16 I opened my first business called ‘Touch of class” painting and wallpaper hanging, and managed 4 employees. By the age of 21 I moved to Buffalo NY and opened a couple of restaurants together with my brother and at the same time I continued to work construction. In 1989 I opened a development firm called EMIN (Everything Must Improve Now). Within 1 year I had 16 employees working with me in my company.
Since I moved to Buffalo I have established and developed many entities including medical clinics, Churches, Mask’s, Gas stations, Plaza’s, Restaurants, Homes, revitalized dilapidated business strips, redeveloped dilapidated communities, hired more minorities than any other company in existence here in Western NY. Throughout my 30 years in Buffalo I have created about 2,500 jobs for Western NY. And 95% percent of the businesses that I helped establish are still in existence. I have worked with the courts and the faith based groups to help make Buffalo a better place to live.
In 1999 I ran for the first time for public office for council member at large and ever since then I have been fully in touch with our communities and with making Buffalo a better place to live. I have fought for the minorities, working families, uniting people’s voices, bringing peace among ethnic diversity, raising minimum wage in NY. In 2004 together with the Working Family party I worked with numerous religious entities and courts to bring them to work together for a more open dialog and a better understanding among each other’s grievances.
I am a people’s person, I fight for the people that have been neglected and that have been segregated from society.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Emin E. Egriu: In 2006 PUSH Buffalo (People United for Sustainable Housing) together with UCC (Urban Community Corp) reached out to me for a program to help the youth. I put all my energy and time for the cause and accepted the position of Project Director, and I must say that this cause was the best accomplishment I have ever achieved. Together we went into one of the most dangerous neighborhood and revitalized a few properties. We also involved and trained youth with pay at $8.00/ hr and up and volunteers. Today this area has risen in property value by 1,000 – 2,000 percent. Today PUSH is one of the most respected and most funded programs in Western NY. My 3 years working with our youth is my highest honor and most successful achievement I have had!
In Nov. 2012 on the 100th year Anniversary of Albania Bashkim Kllobocista and I founded a new movement called PUSH (Program Unik Shqiptar) / (Program Uniting Albanians) this movement fights for Human rights, Freedom of Speech, Educational issues, and Uniting the Albanians communities throughout the Balkans and the world. We have branched out in Italy, Macedonia, NJ, NYC, CT and Washington DC. Within a year we have a combined total of 3,200 members and have been in the forefront of many important issues facing the Albanian communities here and abroad. I have been its President for a year now and I just resigned from my presidential post so we can show that we are not a dictatorship movement and no one carries the crown in this league. Democracy is what I believe in. It is the engine of my life.
What change do you envision for New York that you will bring if elected?
Emin E. Egriu: The changes I vision for the future are: JOBS, Immigration reform, and better opportunities for all and not just the few! I want to strengthen our work force and revitalize our neglected neighborhoods, schools and strengthen our skilled forces. This country cannot continue to keep supporting our lobbyist and our bankers; we must redirect our thoughts and concentrate on issues that affect all citizens. This country was built by hard work for the people not for the Bankers and for the Elite! The time has come for Washington to head in a new direction and give back the power to the people and protect the greatest constitution ever established in history. This is what I will fight for and this is what we must do to bring back our freedoms.
What kind of support have you received thus far?
Emin E. Egriu: My wife and children and my Uncle, Professor Ibrahim Egriu are my biggest supporters. I have had strong support from my Albanian-American community here in Western NY, my fellow Dibrans from my birth place, my fellow American Albanians in NYC, Connecticut, Chicago, Detroit, NJ and throughout the World. Here I have many local entities including political and religious figures that I cannot mention yet as I have not confirmed my candidacy. I can say that I have a tremendous amount of support among the minorities small business, Churches, Religious entities, Block clubs and the hard working families! Again I am a people’s person and a majority of the people here in Western NY knows that about me. This is why I am confident I can WIN!
What is your greatest strength?
Emin E. Egriu: Honesty is my greatest strength, people in general know that about me and they also know that I fight for things that matter to all races and that I protect anyone that faces segregation or racism. I also am a person that moves big things with little funds. I also do not shy away from speaking my mind and my beliefs. I have had many offers in the years behind me for secured and great job opportunities and I refused to accept those positions because I was not fighting for me I was fighting for the people. At the end my greatest strength is the people and their needs.
What characteristics could you bring to the office?
Emin E. Egriu: A person that can work with all fractions and political parties and a person that works directly with the people and understands the people’s needs. A person that understands business from the lowest level to the highest level. A person that lives by the rule of faith and acknowledges all the good books as they all preach to love they neighbor and that we are all one and that is we are all the children of God. A workaholic that I am is what Washington needs, when I speak on the people’s behalf I speak their cause and their needs not mine and a person that has international experience, and the know-how of how to bring people together to share their differences and to find solutions in solving our differences.
Why should voters choose you over other candidates?
Emin E. Egriu: Because the other candidate does not represent the people, but the 1 percent. He is a political hack, a polished politician who only works for his own career. I on the other hand do not depend on job security or on any patronage job. God has gifted me with hands and mind of gold and I have never taken any jobs from the tax payers or from the political establishment. I have always worked in the private sector and for the last 17 years all my work has been through word of mouth and not through any advertisement or favoritism!
I work every day to help the people’s cause and to better my community here and abroad. I am a person that has had many challenges and understands what it is like to lose your home to bank industry and to fall behind on bills, taxes and know the meaning on need… So you can say that I am the average American citizen who understands today’s struggles… in other words, I AM YOU!
What are your long-term goals for New York and the community?
Emin E. Egriu: Develop forgotten communities, strengthen small businesses, create jobs for the under educated citizens, secure and strengthen Social Security, raise minimum wages, redevelop our manufacturing, fight for equal opportunity, reform Immigration, fight for a better health plan so all citizens have coverage, stop wasted spending of the tax payers monies, fight against pharmaceutical industries to lower the cost of medicine, and protect our senior citizens. And finally protect our men and women in the armed forces and our veterans, who need security when returning from war.
I am not seeking to be a leader of any community, I am seeking to be their voice and fight for their needs. I know how to make people listen and respond and know how to reach out and negotiate to satisfy all different factions and beliefs.
We need people in Washington who can work together for this great nation of ours and prepare for the future as it changes every day. We need progressive thinkers to prepare the future of our children and fight for the reduction of our deficit so our children will not have to pay the bills that our generation has created.
So I ask that you trust me and give the opportunity to represent you. Let your voice be heard through me as I send your message to the Capital and to the entire nation. I will fight for you the people!