Pat Ryan Visits Cooperstown and Cooperstown Distillery

Pat Ryan Visits Cooperstown
and Cooperstown Distillery

Sam Aldridge

Gene Marra, owner of Cooperstown Distillery, left, and Pat Ryan, right, at Cooperstown Distillery on July 15

With political tensions simmering one degree below boiling this summer, the very first special election for public office is taking place here in District 19 between Pat Ryan (D) and Marc Molinaro (R) on August 23. Ryan visited Cooperstown on Friday, meeting with officials from Bassett Hospital, touring the Hall of Fame, and tasting the spirits of Cooperstown Distillery.

“I had really good conversations with healthcare leaders, the town supervisor and mayor, and others. The big issues that stood out are affordable housing and the need for real investment in water and sewer infrastructure,” said Ryan, speaking in the shade of a tree on Railroad Ave.

Ryan and Molinaro are vying for control of former Representative Antonio Delgado’s seat after he was instated as Lieutenant Governor. The winner of this special election will defend their incumbency again in November

Whoever wins the election will vote on several critical issues, namely the proposals to close VA facilities in Albany and the Hudson area, and how the biggest infrastructure bill since Eisenhower will make its way into communities.

“These are personal to me,” Ryan said. “We need a rep who will support our vets and make sure that we are improving water systems, housing, and enabling small businesses to succeed.”

Ryan was a runner-up in the 2018 Democratic primary that brought Delgado into office, and he currently serves as Ulster County Executive. In that role, he has coordinated COVID relief funds, affordable housing developments, and mental health services. A native of Kingston, New York, Ryan is a veteran and has operated a small business before entering politics.

“One of the few things most Americans can agree on is that Washington is not working. We need folks that have actually walked the walk on military service, who have experience being successful in business, and who can break through complete dysfunction,” said Ryan, citing what he sees are the differences between him and his opponent.

“Duchess County Executive Molinaro has been in elected office since he was 18. When I was that age, I was taking an oath to serve as a West Point cadet, then served two combat tours in Iraq as an Army intelligence officer.”

Local though it may be, Ryan sees this moment as a bellwether for political sentiment nationwide coming so soon after the Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion, gun rights, and the government’s ability to legislate on climate issues.

“This will be an indicator of what will happen in November, so for those who care not only about local issues, but also want to send a message about the direction of the country, this is their first chance.”

At the Hall of Fame, Ryan was pleased to see how many of the inductees are veterans, noticing the plaque that honors them and their stories.

“Maybe it’s because it’s a beautiful Friday, but overall I have felt really good optimism and positivity here in Cooperstown.”

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