A Binghamton University associate professor of computer science has become the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for New York state’s 22nd congressional district, which includes parts of Broome County.
Patrick Madden, who has taught at BU since 1998 and specializes in integrated circuit design, said he is running to bring problem-solving and facts back to Congress in an announcement at the Pegasus Statue Monday morning.
“As a computer scientist, I follow a simple formula: stick to the facts, tell the truth, think carefully and find solutions,” he said. “The commitment to facts and solving problems has been lost in Washington. Instead, Congress puts the special interests ahead of our interests.”
The Congressional seat for which Madden is running is currently held by Republican Claudia Tenney, who has come under fire in recent months for her reluctance to attend town hall meetings with constituents. Last November, Tenney defeated Democrat and Broome County Legislator Kim Myers and independent candidate Martin Babinec, receiving 44 percent of the vote to Myers’ 38 percent and Babinec’s 12 percent.
“I know it’s an uphill battle,” Madden said. “If Kim Myers had won, I wouldn’t be doing this at all. I think the Republican part of this district — the Republican voters — I don’t believe [are] 100 percent on board with the Trump agenda the way Claudia Tenney seems to be.”
The 22nd Congressional District includes the entirety of Chenango, Cortlandt, Madison and Oneida counties as well as parts of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego and Tioga counties. Since 1983, five of the district’s six congressional representatives have been Republicans.
In April, Madden attended a training session for individuals with technical backgrounds who are considering running for elected office. He said he expects to be one of a dozen Ph.D. scientists running for Congress in the next midterm election.
“I’m hoping that there is a coalition of us and that we throw our weight around a little bit,” he said. “I think everyone in the scientific community has looked at what’s happened with the election and decided to act. Normally, you gripe about the government and there’s an ambient unhappiness, but this is a five-alarm fire.”
Carl Lipo, the director of BU’s environmental studies program and professor of anthropology, was present at Madden’s announcement Monday.
“We need more people with backgrounds in the sciences making decisions for our country,” he said. “I’ve known Patrick [Madden] for years and I think if anyone can do it, it’s him.”
Madden has served as chair of numerous committees within the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest scientific and educational computing society. Prior to becoming a faculty member at BU, he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a Ph.D. in the field from UCLA.
Madden describes himself as a progressive Democrat, and said he supports some form of universal healthcare and free college tuition.
“Binghamton is inexpensive; I’m proud of that,” he said. “I get paid a relatively low salary compared to other professors and that’s good. I want kids to be able to go to school without walking out with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt.”
Although he will run on the Democratic ticket, Madden said he won’t view the elections through a partisan lens.
“I don’t want to look at this as Democrat against Republican,” he said. “We’re all in the same boat here; we all live in the same district. The economy either goes up and everybody does well, or it goes down and everybody does worse.”
Madden will continue to teach two days per week during the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters. If elected, he plans to take a sabbatical from teaching, the length of which will depend on his Congressional tenure.