When President Franklin D. Roosevelt died, a funeral train carrying his body made its way from Georgia to Hyde Park, New York. At a stop in Washington's Union Station, a reporter noticed a man in tears.
The reporter asked, "Did you know him?" The man replied, "No, but he knew me."
FDR formed genuine connections with the people he served, remained steadfast in his convictions, all while ferociously advocating for the public's interest.
Somewhere along the way, things changed. Those in power lost touch and stopped caring.
Nowhere is this felt more than in Upstate New York—a region in which people often feel overlooked, ignored, and cheated.
Can you blame them?
In Upstate New York, big corporations dumped toxic waste and then left – taking jobs with them and leaving us to deal with the environmental and economic aftermath.
New York State now leads the nation in population loss because families can't make ends meet. Individuals dealing with mental health and substance use disorders face daunting journeys for quality treatment, and many in the disability community are unable to participate in the pursuit of happiness because of archaic barriers.
Instead of taking on these issues, we see extreme politicians in Albany and Washington create new ones with policies that may sound “good” in a vacuum, but never in the real world.
Take Albany’s bail reform for example. New victims are created every day because dangerous criminals are set free. Or, look at Washington, DC. Out-of-control, reckless spending fueled inflation, jacking up the cost of nearly everything. Now, the big box of cereal at Walmart is double the price and half the quantity.
To make matters worse, New York City, the most resourced city in the world, has started relocating migrants to underfunded communities in Upstate New York—apparently deciding it no longer wants to be a Sanctuary City.
For most of these politicians, little to no thought is given to how these changes will actually impact the average working family.
FDR would be mortified.
We have to rekindle a spirit of genuine connection, conviction, and advocacy.
That's why I'm running for reelection. To continue listening, learning, and fighting for you.
I have made public discourse and feedback a hallmark of my first year in Congress. I have hosted over 25 town halls, listening sessions, and telephone town halls. I visited hundreds of towns and had thousands of conversations with families, farmers, and small businesses.
From these conversations, I have been empowered to carry Upstate New York’s unique voice in Congress and advocate for solutions to the challenges facing our community.
I've taken action — voting in favor of the Lower Energy Costs Act to make it more affordable to drive to work and keep your home warm, and I’m championing bipartisan efforts to create economic opportunity in Upstate New York.
I backed a bill to push Albany to ditch bail reform and passed my own legislation to prevent our kids’ schools from being used as migrant shelters.
I’ve fought for more funding to expand mental health and substance use disorder treatment, authored a package to break down barriers for those with disabilities, and supported infrastructure projects aimed at improving water quality and safeguarding our natural treasures.
Perhaps most boldly, I pledged to vote against my own party if they brought forward legislation to cut FDR’s signature program, Social Security.
These issues matter to Upstate New Yorkers, so they matter to me — a novel concept right?
Not for me. Our government and our policies should reflect our people.
As long as I’m fortunate enough to represent Upstate New York in Congress, I will be listening, learning, and leading.