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Edward KocheEdward Koche
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Session:         Page of 617


I am the secretary of the Democratic members of the New York State delegation, and I am also secretary of the bi-partisan New York State delegation, and I'm very proud of that role. And the fact is that the delegation meets because of my efforts.

When I came to Congress in 1969, the delegation had not met for years, and I suggested to a number of members, “Why don't we meet for breakfast and talk about problems and do it kind of regularly -- once a week?” And a number of members said, “That will be fine. But you've got to clear it with Celler,” who was the dean of the delegation. So I said, “Manny” (we were very good friends; he treated me like a son -- I really like him very much) “can't we meet regularly?” He said, “Oh, they won't meet. They don't want to meet. I tried this years ago. They don't come. It's a waste of time.” So I said, “Would you have any objection if I try to start the thing?” He said, “We'll try it. It won't work.”

So we called our first breakfast meeting, told them what we were doing, and immediately people said, “Well, the first thing is we don't want to meet once a week -- we'll meet every two weeks maybe or less. And there has to be a limit on what can be discussed.” And I remember one of them proposing, “If anyone says, This matter can't be discussed, then the matter can't be discussed.” So I said, “You can't run a meeting that way. We're not going to do anything necessarily. But you can't say that you can't discuss something

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