PLATTSBURGH — While Bridie Farrell believes Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) and others like her motivated many to run for office, the North River Democrat says her candidacy was also about timing and to give back.
The race felt like a natural next step after his advocacy for the Child Victims Act and presented a way to fulfill his desire to give back to the country that allowed him to achieve so much while speed skating for the American team.
The Saratoga Springs native also considers the North Country her backyard.
“I really, really think there’s greatness in the North Country and it’s being overlooked by the outside and by our own representative,” Farrell told the Press-Republican this week.
“Now is the time to change leadership and change that and I feel really well placed to do that.”
Farrell is one of five Democrats who entered the race for New York’s 21st congressional district, along with Ezra Watson of Wilton, Matt Putorti of Whitehall, Matt Castelli of Wilton and Keith Sherrill, who registered with the Federal Election Commission but has yet to officially announce his campaign.
Additionally, Republican Lonny Koons of Carthage hopes to challenge Stefanik in the GOP primary.
In recent stops in the tri-county area, including Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Ticonderoga, the top issues Farrell, 40, heard from voters were jobs, health care, child care children, broadband and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked about solutions she might support to address child care, Farrell explained that she sees the role of a congressional representative as a bridge between people in need and government programs that can help, and felt that there was currently a disconnect there.
“You have to go to Washington to work for the people of the North Country, not for your own political party.”
When it comes to fighting the pandemic, Farrell would like people to see it from the perspective of helping their neighbors and the community.
She was unhappy when a downstate Supreme Court judge overturned the state’s mandate requiring the wearing of masks in public indoor spaces earlier this week – a reprieve has was granted the decision pending appeal – but complied with the decision. Still, she sees masking as a small step towards eliminating COVID.
“Does this have any implications for children in school? Of course we are, but if we ever want to get the kids back to school, if we ever want the teachers back to school, all those things, those are the kinds of steps that should be taken and need to be taken .
“Right now it’s so politicized that there are only two sides to it regardless of whether it’s science or just a public view of what makes sense and what there is more thoughtful to do.”
Farrell said one of his biggest motivations for running for Congress had to do with the North Country being a rural district.
While the conversation tends to focus on the challenges of urban education and health care, those issues exist in rural America and require different solutions, she said.
“The district and its rurality and beauty, in my opinion, is really one of the motivating factors for me to run for this race because I just feel like our current rep is too caught up in the corrupt machine from Washington and is not that does not interest me.
Regarding workforce development, Farrell pointed to affordable and accessible community colleges and SUNY schools, as well as vocational technical programs.
She herself attended BOCES her senior year, where she earned her Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification before studying computer science at community college.
She credits this mathematical way of thinking, along with her degree in policy analysis and management from Cornell University, with helping prepare her for both her work on the Child Victims Act and her current run for Congress. .
RIGHT TO VOTE
Farrell recently tweeted that in Congress she would support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Supporters of the bill have said it would help prevent voter suppression while critics, including Stefanik, have argued that it would centralize election control within the federal government.
Farrell views voting as a key tenet of democracy and the United States, and believes in increasing voting and voter turnout.
She also highlighted the time and work that went into investigating the results of the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County, Arizona, and how the result still hasn’t changed.
“We’ve proven that the voting system we have works and we need to attract more people, not fewer,” Farrell said.
PLANS TO WIN
Farrell argued that, based on his interaction with voters, Stefanik is popular nationally, but not locally.
She referenced a recent fundraiser Stefanik hosted at Mar-a-Lago with former President Donald Trump, where some tickets went for $25,000, describing it as tasteless and out of touch with life in the North Country.
“I think people can see through that and want someone they can relate to.”
Farrell thinks she should get the Democratic nomination because the district needs someone who understands what it’s like to be from the area and has experience with a legislative body.
When asked if she would support whoever wins the Democratic primary, Farrell said she plans to win.
“The person who comes out of primary has to be the most fit to beat (Stefanik) and I think I’m the right person for that.”
Farrell said she plans to stay in the district even if she loses the election.
STEFANIK CAMP RESPONDS
Stefanik’s senior adviser, Alex DeGrasse, said it’s clear that Farrell “doesn’t know the well-known and recognized results of Congresswoman Stefanik because she never lived or voted here before running for Congress.”
Farrell grew up in Saratoga Springs, which is just outside of the current NY-21 setup. The Watertown Daily Times previously reported that she was living in other states while competing on the USA speed skating team before returning to New York to continue her education.
DeGrasse went on to say that Stefanik garnered record support when she was on the ballot, and highlighted her accolades, including being ranked among the top 10% most bipartisan members of Congress and being named the most bipartisan Republican lawmaker. efficiency of the House by the Center. for effective trade policy legislation.
“Unlike all the far-left Democratic candidates who have just moved to the North Country from Downstate, Congresswoman Stefanik will be running on her extended results record like her announcement (Wednesday) that she has been honored with a prestigious national award from the National Head Start Association for his achievements in funding early childhood education programs in the North Country,” he added.
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