Publisher’s Note: We sent out an e-mail asking the candidates for the major political races in November to share information about themselves, so our readers can get to know them a little better. We asked them:
A. Please tell us about yourself.
B. If you were elected to office, what are your top priorities and why?
We will run these answers over the next few weeks, in hopes this will help in your decision-making process on Tuesday, November 8. Please get out and vote!
Meet the Candidates for
Representative in Congress, 21st District
Matt Castelli—DEM, MOD
A. I have dedicated my life to serving our country and community. Raised in Upstate New York down the road from a dairy farm, I learned early on the importance of integrity and honoring your word. My mom, a lifelong Republican, and my dad, a lifelong Democrat, taught me the importance of putting aside differences and working together for the greater good.
After the 9/11 attacks, I focused my life’s work on protecting our country through counterterrorism and national security. I became a CIA Officer, where I led intelligence collection and counterterrorism operations; serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. My team hunted down some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, working within the same unit that found Osama Bin Laden.
My success at the CIA led to the opportunity to serve as Director for Counterterrorism at President Obama’s National Security Council. In that role, I developed strategy, policy, and operations to keep America safe from terrorism and extremism. My work degraded Al Qaeda and ISIS, and strengthened security cooperation with our allies. I stayed in this role for the first year of the Trump White House before returning to the CIA.
In 2020, as the world faced a devastating pandemic, I took a leadership position with a veteran-founded New York-based company dedicated to eliminating barriers to care for groups are often left behind in the healthcare system, including veterans, seniors and rural communities.
B. We can lower costs and strengthen our economy by producing local goods and energy, smart investments, and a fair tax system, unleashing the full potential of Upstate New York.
Funding local law enforcement and first responders, addressing the climate crisis, providing for our military and veterans, and expanding access to care creates safety and security for everyone.
I will always stand up for women’s reproductive freedom, Second Amendment protections, and the right to love who you love and be who you are. And I will honor my oath to defend the Constitution, our democracy, and the fundamental right to vote.
Elise M. Stefanik—REP, CON
A. As the only candidate born and raised in Upstate New York, I grew up in a small business family, where I learned firsthand how challenging it is to run a business and create jobs in New York State.
I was the first member of my immediate family to graduate from college, and I ran for Congress to fight on behalf of hardworking Upstate New York families. Since my first election, I am proud to have delivered real results for the hardworking families of NY-21, including solving over 13,000 individual constituent services cases and delivering over $500 million in federal funds back to Upstate New York and the North County.
As the chief advocate for Fort Drum, I have delivered $5.5 million in VA benefits to local veterans as well as an historic pay increase for our military. I am proud to earn endorsements from every local and state police union and our brave border patrol officers. I’ve written legislation to end dangerous “Bail Reform,” and I will always back the blue!
I am proudly independently ranked as one of the most effective and bipartisan Republican Members of Congress by the Center for Effective Lawmaking and by the Lugar Center. I have participated in nearly 2,000 district constituent events since taking office, and I will continue to work my very hardest to represent families, small businesses, farms, veterans, and seniors in NY-21. I am humbly asking for your vote to continue to be Upstate New York’s fighter in Congress.
B. I will lead the fight to stop the reckless spending fueling inflation; unleash American energy independence to lower the price of gas, heating, and utility bills; support law enforcement; protect our Second Amendment Rights; and uphold the Constitution. I will fight to secure our southern border and end the flow of illegal immigrants and deadly fentanyl into our communities.
I am committed to a government accountable to the people and will conduct critical oversight on Cuomo’s deadly nursing home order and the FBI’s involvement in the deadly Schoharie limo crash on behalf of Upstate New York families.