Congressman Eric Massa, a Naval Academy graduate (class of '81), is a 24-year retired Navy Commander. While in the Navy, he served during several global conflicts including Beirut and Operation Desert Storm. His capstone military assignment was serving as the Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark, during the Bosnian conflict.
Following a terminal diagnosis of cancer, Congressman Massa returned to the States to undergo treatment. With the odds stacked against him, he survived and is now completely cured. Upon recovery, Mr. Massa spent his final year in the Navy as a cancer outreach advocate.
During his Navy career, the Massa family had to move all over the world, wherever Congressman Massa was deployed. After he retired, his family was able to decide where they wanted to live for the very first time. After falling in love with the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes, the Massa's chose Corning, N.Y.
For more than a year, Congressman Massa worked at a manufacturing company in Corning. Unfortunately, due to unfair free trade agreements, the company could not afford to keep those jobs in America, and so, like thousands of other manufacturing workers in Western New York, Mr. Massa was laid off.
During this difficult time, Congressman Massa commuted from Corning to Washington D.C. to take a job on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. As a professional staffer in this office, he was able to put his 24 years of military knowledge to good use. However, when the planning for the Iraq War began, Congressman Massa opposed the flawed strategy being set forth by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his allies in Congress. For standing up against the failed pre-war planning, Mr. Massa was forced out in 2003.
Shortly afterwards, Congressman Massa joined the Presidential Campaign of his friend General Wesley Clark. In his new role, he oversaw General Clark's campaign field operation in New Hampshire. It was there that the Congressman learned about the critical role grassroots politics plays in America.
Following the reelection of President Bush in 2004, Mr. Massa decided that he had to try to change the direction our country was heading in and in 2008, Congressman Massa defeated the Republican incumbent and now represents New York's 29th Congressional District.
Congressman Massa's values have been forged through the challenges he's faced. He believes that all Americans deserve access to quality, affordable health care because he learned firsthand how important this is while defeating cancer. Congressman Massa knows that we must end the outsourcing of our jobs because he too suffered the effects of unfair free trade deals. He knows that we must end the war in Iraq, complete the job in Afghanistan, and strengthen our defenses because he spent his life in uniform protecting our nation.
Congressman Massa resides in Corning, N.Y. with his wife Beverly and their teenage daughter Alexandra. Their son Justin is currently a student at Syracuse University.