Mitrano formally launches campaign

Democrat Tracy Mitrano of Penn Yan launches her second campaign to unseat Rep. Tom Reed on Thursday in Corning.

CORNING — Saying that “something shifted in the last several years,” Democrat Tracy Mitrano officially launched her second bid to represent New York’s 23rd Congressional District, formally announcing her campaign Thursday.

Politicians “who used to represent the center of American politics have become puppets to big-moneyed, corporate interests,” said Mitrano, who is looking to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Tom Reed in 2020.

“In their pursuit of profit they do not care about our environment, all-consuming debt, separating children from their parents at the border, polluting the beautiful resources of our planet, predatory interest rates, failing infrastructure, the farmers in this district under water, literally and figuratively, the onerous tax burden on the middle class or the working poor who can’t make ends meet,” she said.

In 2018, Mitrano emerged from a crowded field of, at one point, eight contenders seeking the nomination in the Democratic primary. After Mitrano came out as the primary winner — absentee ballots gave her a razor-thin margin of 26 votes — she lost to incumbent Reed in the Nov. 6 election, 53.7 percent to 43.9 percent.

She indicated shortly after election night that she would run again against Reed, serving his fifth term and running again in 2020. Mitrano faces opposition in the Democratic primary, as Ithaca oral surgeon Scott Noren has indicated he will run.

Referring to “a cynical and corrupt president” and members of Congress who “enable his chaotic administration,” Mitrano said “this great country was founded against tyranny, a half-looped king and greedy Parliament that did not care about its colonialists. It was never meant to be ruled by a small group of rich and powerful people.”

Among the supporters for Mitrano, who launched her election bid in Reed’s hometown, was Steuben County dairy farmer Tony Marco, who said he was a former Reed supporter. Marco said, after years of being politely ignored by Reed and other Republicans he had supported in the past, he reached out to Mitrano during the 2018 Democratic primary.

“She cares about me,” said Marco. “Me. A person with no significant economic or social status … who is not even a Democrat and could not vote for her in the primary.” To Marco, that proved Mitrano “cares about all of the people she will represent, no matter what their political beliefs are.”

Steuben County legislator Steve Maio also spoke in support of Mitrano, along with Rick Gallant, a teacher and board member of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), and Dora Leland, a teacher, NYSUT member and chair of the Chemung County Democrats.

Mitrano says she pledges to pursue “an aggressive, research-based” response to climate change and advocates universal healthcare, including mental health services and prevention of and treatment for addiction. She said the nation should address student debt by leveling interest rates, while she will support women’s reproductive rights and combat sexual assault and domestic violence.

A cyber-security expert, she would lead House efforts to protect national security through cybersecurity, as well as the rights of both citizens and consumers who use the Internet, while backing reasonably priced child care, “sensible” immigration reform and “resources for infrastructure for extreme weather events, safe roads, public transportation and broadband internet.”

She pledges to “work to get corporate interests and dark money out of politics, including repeal of the immunity to civil suits Congress gave gun manufacturers and sellers,” while she would “oppose raising taxes on working- and middle-class people,” and lower the deficit by “making sure that the wealthy pony up.”

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is