NORTH RIVER — Former U.S. speedskater and child victims advocate Brigid “Bridie” Farrell is running for Congress in New York’s 21st Congressional district.
In a video shared on Twitter on Wednesday morning, Ms. Farrell, a Democrat, announced her plan to unseat Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville.
“I cannot be bought, I won’t divide people for political gain,” Ms. Farrell said in her announcement video, over images of news coverage of Rep. Stefanik. “I will never forget the people I’ve been elected to represent.”
A north country native, Farrell was born in Saratoga and lives in North River, in Warren County.
Farrell is no stranger to politics. She spent the last few years advocating for laws to change the statute of limitations in cases of childhood sexual assault. Farrell survived months of sexual assault at the age of 15 at the hands of a 33-year-old male teammate on the U.S. national speedskating team, she said.
After speaking out about her experience in 2013, Farrell was upset to learn U.S. speedskating officials would do nothing, she recalled, and took up the charge and advocated for the passage of the Child Victims Act passed in New York in 2019. Farrell has pushed to expand the statute of limitations for childhood sexual assault survivors from age 23 to 55.
The Child Victims Act raised the statute of limitations in New York, and also created a one-year window for people already time-locked out of pressing civil suits against their alleged abusers and the institutions that supported them.
She has also pushed for similar laws in New Jersey and Arizona.
Farrell is the third Democrat, and fourth candidate, to announce a bid against Rep. Stefanik for the 2022 Congressional election. Wilton resident Ezra Watson and Whitehall native Matthew F. Putorti have both also announced their bids for the Democratic nomination this year, and Lonny Koons, a Carthage resident, has been campaigning for the Republican nomination against Rep. Stefanik for months now.
Putorti said in a statement Wednesday he looks forward to running against Farrell with a campaign that focuses on the issues integral to north country with values important to NY-21 voters – service, community, empathy and patriotism.
“Unfortunately, Elise Stefanik has betrayed those values in her fealty to a dangerous faction of the Republican party – a faction that puts lies above truth, personal political opportunism over the good ov the people and tribalism over patriotism,” Putorti said. “I look forward to earning the Democratic nomination and offering a strong contrast to Elise Stefanik.”
Rep. Stefanik’s campaign blasted Farrell after her announcement Wednesday and the other Democratic candidates as “far-left” supporters of President Joseph R. Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy. P. Pelosi, D-Calif., and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Alex DeGrasse, senior advisor to Rep. Stefanik, said Farrell only recently registered to vote in the district.
“Far-Left New York City Democrat Brigid ‘Birdie’ Farrell only registered in NY-21 just weeks ago – even more recently than Far-Left NYC lawyer Matt Putorti,” he said. “Our campaign welcomes these radical candidates to the race and to the North Country! Team Elise will continue to make sure voters know there is a clear choice between real results for the North Country and yet another Far-Left New York City Democrat who will rubber-stamp the reckless policies of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi,and Andrew Cuomo.”
Voting records show Farrell was once registered to vote in Brooklyn, where she voted from 2008 to 2018. Her information was purged from the Kings County Board of Elections voter rolls in June of 2019 when she informed the county of a move. Most recently she voted in the 2020 Presidential election from an address in Lexington, Greene County, just south of the Capitol District. She is currently registered to vote from her address in North River, in Warren County.
Less than a year remains before the primary elections in June that will decide which Democrat and Republican will appear on the November 2022 general election ballot.