It’s a tremendous honor to be running for United States Congress from our beautiful and diverse district and it is a particular honor to present my candidacy in this publication. The Valley News was a fixture in my childhood, and I have great memories of playing with my sister with the leftover newsprint rolls my mother collected at the Denton press in E’town.
We first came here as a family in 1968. Though my life as a filmmaker has taken me all around the world, Elizabethtown is the place to which I have always returned. For me, rebuilding our family home here after it was lost to fire was a commitment to making sure my family’s future is here as well.
I am running to represent our New York 21st because I want to see our region thrive - and because I am deeply troubled by the course of our politics in Washington. At a time where public satisfaction in Congress is at an all-time low, we need citizen representatives unencumbered by the special interests in Washington, D.C. and untainted by the toxic partisanship in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Indeed we need someone in Washington who has been schooled in North Country pragmatism - a sense that we don’t have to agree on everything with everyone in order to get things done. I’ve had my lessons in some of the community work I’ve done here working with diverse political interests, whether it was helping to form a policy recommendation that both saved our NYCO mining jobs in Lewis while improving and protecting our forest preserve, or building trails across the Champlain Valley to promote tourism and healthy living.
Of all these efforts, I am most proud of my role in creating the Go Digital or Go Dark campaign. The campaign helped save ten of our North Country movie theaters, leveraging local contributions to get low-interest loans and state grants. Thanks to this support, other shops on our Main Streets will thrive and we’ll keep our community-building business anchors.
My top priority as Congressman will be to support opportunities for job growth across the district. I will fight to reform the tax system so billionaires no longer have lower tax rates than most middle class Americans. I will create incentives for farms and small businesses in the North Country to thrive and I will also expand internet and cell service access throughout the district so we can compete in the 21st Century economy. I’ll work to provide loans to companies that bring their production facilities back to America and support eliminating tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs overseas - and I’ll crack down on unfair trade practices by countries like China. And if elected, I will not accept taxpayer-funded Congressional perks because our Congressional representatives should live by the same rules as their constituents.
I also believe Social Security and Medicare are part of a sacred trust between citizens and our government. Working men and women paid into the system all their lives, and they deserve to know the program will be there for them in full when they retire. It’s as simple as this: No cuts to Medicare, no cuts to Social Security.
And, as I look into my three year old daughter’s eyes, I’m determined to build a world where women receive equal pay for equal work, where they never feel threatened on the street, in the workplace, or in the home, and where women have the freedom to make their own decisions regarding their body and health in consultation with their doctor and their families.
We must provide educational opportunities and training for women and men equally for 21st Century jobs, ensuring our daughters and sons possess the confidence and training they need to pursue their ambitions.
Let’s make sure they can find opportunity here, in traditional trades like forestry or agriculture -- updated for today’s economy as value-added products or sustainable biomass. Let’s continue to encourage tech jobs and research around our first-rate universities and non-profits. And let’s give all businesses the tools they need to thrive with cutting-edge transportation and electronic infrastructure and a tax system that benefits and does not burden growth.
It’s great that my daughter got to see her first fireworks this summer on the same field where I saw them as a kid and that she’s got a place to start pre-school here in the fall. But if she doesn’t have a job here when she finishes school, we’ve failed in our mission.
I humbly ask for your support in this race for the open 21st Congressional District seat. For more information, please feel free to visit my website at www.woolfforcongress.com, follow me on Twitter at @WoolfforNY, like my Facebook page, and call my campaign at any time at 518 225-2532.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of two columns submitted by candidates for the 21st Congressional District, the order of which was determined by random draw.