On May 3, Utica State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi spoke to a room of students and community members about his campaign to become the next congressman for New York’s 22nd district. Brindisi is running uncontested in the Democratic primary, with a platform centered around health care and the local economy.
The seven-year assemblyman is attempting to unseat Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney, who recently gained national notoriety after making a controversial statement on gun violence following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
Brindisi gave an overview of his platform, concerns and goals, specifically talking about his experience working in Oneida County. He discussed his push to create more technical job training for young people, his fight against merging telecommunication companies and his goal to subsidize dairy farms, which is the district’s largest agricultural export.
For his campaign, Brindisi said he plans on talking about issues that he believes affect residents the most, such as the economy and the opioid crisis.
“People always ask me, ‘What committee do you want to be on when you get to Congress?,’” Brindisi said. “Tenney chose the financial services committee, which is great if you’re on Wall Street, but this area could really use someone on the agricultural committee, the transportation committee — someone who can actually get something done for this area.”
Brindisi told the crowd that he was tired of the lack of action in Congress and wanted to be elected so he could help enact real change.
“I decided to get involved in this run for Congress because I’m just not happy with the direction Washington is going in,” Brindisi said. “It seems like folks in Washington just don’t know how to work out their issues so they retreat to their sides and nothing gets done.”
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo also gave her endorsement at the event. Lupardo said she trusts Brindisi to work successfully with others and address the needs of the district. Afterward, both politicians answered various questions from the audience.
Lupardo spoke candidly about the decision over whether she or Brindisi should be the Democratic nominee for Congress. In the end, Lupardo said this was not her time and she had full confidence in Brindisi’s abilities.
“When you run for political office, it’s a political calculation and it’s also about where they see themselves in the future,” Lupardo said. “I was trying to tell [Brindisi] that it’s not really about you so much, about your aspirations, about your interests in being in Congress but it’s really about the future of the country. I told him something like, ‘You need to go to Congress to save the planet.’”
Brianna Cea, a senior double-majoring in political science and philosophy, politics and law and the founder and CEO of Generation Vote, a progressive advocacy group, said it was important that students get involved and learn about the candidates in order for them to have their voices heard. She said Generation Vote decided to support Brindisi because of his dedication to issues that students really care about, such as the environment and criminal justice reform.
“At Generation Vote, we hope to flip the political process upside down by training our student to not only mobilize on candidates, but also on issues,” Cea said. “We support candidates like Brindisi who are willing to actually incorporate youth voice into their platforms and campaigns.”