Prof. Anthony Pappas Running for Congress

Αssociated Press

Professor Anthony Pappas (Photo: ΤΝΗ/Eleni Sakellis)

NEW YORK – Professor Anthony Pappas is running for Congress in the 14th Congressional District of New York against Rep. Joe Crowley, the incumbent Democrat. Prof. Pappas, who is running as a Republican, visited the offices of The National Herald to talk about his campaign platform, “sensible solutions for a kinder, caring world.”

An Associate Professor in Economics and Finance at St. John’s University’s Peter J. Tobin College of Business, Pappas has an impressive academic record. He earned his BS in Economics and Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then continued his studies at Yale University earning an MA, MPhil, and PhD in Economics at the illustrious Ivy League institution. Pappas, the son of immigrant parents from Epirus, told TNH that one of classmates at Yale was Janet Yellen, the former Chair of the Federal Reserve.

The key issues for his campaign focus on economic and social issues that have long been in the news, but politicians never seem to reform or resolve. Among the issues, Pappas noted the importance of establishing a fairer tax system with progressive taxation on corporate profits, establishing tax brackets so that huge corporate profits are taxed at a higher rate. He would also restore the deductibility of state and local taxes for taxpayers in New York and other states, and would make international deals to eliminate tax havens for companies and individuals in the Cayman Islands and other places. Controlling government spending to reduce the tax burden is another issue on Pappas’ agenda. He noted that “the New York City budget is $85 billion; the New York City population is 8.5 million, that works out on average to $10,000 per person or $40,000 for a family of four. Think about that.”

Enforcing anti-trust laws by resisting corporate mergers and monopolies is also on Pappas’ campaign agenda as well as protecting the environment by joining international climate agreements, clearly indicating that he is not a typical Republican candidate. The issue that is most important to Pappas is criminal justice and civil justice reform. He plans to “stop the over-criminalization of America,” noting that the United States “has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners but only 5 percent of the world’s population.” Among the reforms he would see implemented are establishing “humane conditions in prisons” and assisting the “transition to civilian life after release from prison.”

Establishing checks and balances over the judiciary branch of the government, holding judges accountable, and overturning judicial immunity are on the top of Pappas’ list of needed reforms. His personal experience having gone through a divorce years ago informed his decision to run and seek to reform the system that needs to keep up with the times.

Pappas shared his story with TNH in a 2014 interview, and since then has seen the toll court decisions have taken on people’s lives, especially with regard to divorce and custody issues. He noted several cases where people resorted to suicide after falling into depression over court decisions that kept them from seeing their children, for example. The extremely slow process of filing motions and getting the court’s permission to attend a child’s graduation because it happens to be on the other parent’s weekend with the kids, may seem trivial to some, but over time, the stress can lead to psychological issues. Judges, he noted are people, they make mistakes, but the mistakes can be devastating to people’s lives. There should be accountability. “No one is above the law,” Pappas said, noting that Governor Andrew Cuomo made a similar comment about New York’s former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who was accused of physical abuse by four women.

The need for reform is clear and Pappas hopes his run for Congress will at the very least bring attention to the issues that are in many cases ruining people’s lives. He added that Election Day is November 6.