Four candidates will face off at the polls Tuesday to represent the state’s 19th Congressional District, which flipped from Republican to Democrat in 2016.
The district includes 11 upstate counties, including all of Columbia and Greene, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster, and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties.
Polls will be open Election Day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.
EDUCATION: Ph.D. in philosophy working in complex-systems research, dissertation work completed at Santa Fe Institute; bachelor’s in English education and a master’s degree in linguistics from Hunter College.
OCCUPATION: Researcher for a university in St. Petersburg, Russia, and public scholar with the Fulbright Program in Russia.
RUNNING ON: Libertarian Party line.
Alexander, of Amenia, is ready to make her official political debut.
Alexander campaigned for New York’s 19th Congressional seat in 2018 on the Libertarian ticket, but at the time, the party line did not have ballot access, leaving her name off the certified candidate list.
Alexander is married to Nathan Roy. They have a 17-year-old son, Lucian.
Alexander volunteers as the webmaster for the League of Women Voters chapter in the Mid-Hudson region and helped found Rank the Vote NYC supporting ranked-choice voting. She previously worked with the Free and Equal Elections Foundation.
A homeschooling advocate, Alexander would change the nation’s approach to education. Remote learning is insufficient for certain subjects or teaching methods, she said, and voiced concern about isolation and the COVID-19 pandemic’s psychological impact on children.
Officials must make more intelligent evaluations of at-risk essential workers as the pandemic continues, Alexander said, detailing plans for coordinated volunteers to go shopping for the elderly or most vulnerable Americans and hospitals separating infected and COVID-negative patients in separate facilities.
“We did not protect the vulnerable,” Alexander said. “There was no attempt to provide additional protection to provide help or aid to people at risk.”
Alexander does not support broad lockdowns, citing widespread economic devastation while most millionaires and billionaires kept their wealth. If elected, Alexander would fight for adequate stimulus checks for middle-class Americans, she said.
“We’re in the midst of a huge transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy like we’ve never seen before in history,” she said.
Alexander endorses Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen, in the presidential race.
“She is the only candidate, besides Biden and Trump, who is on the ballot in all 50 states,” Alexander said.
Alexander supports abolition of the Federal Reserve System.
“There’s no reason to tax the bottom 90% of people to pay income tax,” Alexander said. “Together, we only contribute about 15% of the total revenue. We have poor people who don’t have enough to pay rent or to eat, and we’re taxing them.”
She believes social issues such as gun control should be left to states and localities to decide.
“I would rather see all major issues decided at the local level,” Alexander said.
The nation has militarized police, and law enforcement must stop being the only resource called to address mental health problems. Police must also stop prioritizing petty crimes over violent offenses, she said.
“Our police should not be militarized ... the only tool they have is a gun,” Alexander said, speaking against the use of armored vehicles or excessive weaponry. “Is that to be used against the people? That has got to end.
“...Quit celebrating the use of violence and force to address every problem. Police should not be allowed to put their hand on a human being and stop that person and arresting that person and taking away their rights for some petty thing they observe or they’re suspicious of somebody doing. That directly violates our constitutional right.”
Alexander is against recreational drug use, but supports decriminalizing drugs and treating addiction as a mental-health issue, not a crime.
“I want to heal this nation,” she said. “ I am deeply concerned about the state of our nation and the Republican and Democratic parties that are throwing gasoline on this fire.”
EDUCATION: Harvard Law School graduate; University of Oxford Rhodes Scholar; bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science from Colgate University.
OCCUPATION: Congressman representing New York’s 19th District. U.S. Rep. Delgado’s former professional experiences include working as an attorney and a music career focused on empowering youth through hip-hop culture.
RUNNING ON: Democratic, Working Families party lines
Delgado is seeking his second two-year term to represent the 19th District.
Delgado grew up in Schenectady and lives in Rhinebeck with his wife, Woodstock native Lacey Schwartz Delgado. They have twin 7-year-old boys, Maxwell and Coltrane, who just started second grade.
Delgado defeated Republican John Faso in 2018 after the former state Assembly minority leader held the congressional seat for one term.
Delgado has touted his record as a freshman congressman over the past two years, holding 47 town halls since his January 2019 swearing-in ceremony, or three in all 11 counties last year, formed four locally based bipartisan advisory groups and opened five in-district offices.
Delgado introduced more than 40 bills — half with bipartisan support, 18 passing the House and three President Donald Trump signed into law, including the Family Farmer Relief Act; Small Business Repayment Relief Act, which relieved small-business loan payments for six months during the COVID-19 pandemic; and the Rebuild Rural America Act. Other legislation he introduced addressed Lyme disease, health care and PFAS contamination.
If re-elected, Delgado plans to focus on passing an additional federal COVID relief package to provide aid to middle-class Americans, small businesses, states and localities. The House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act stimulus in late May, but the bill has since stalled in the Senate as lawmakers weigh negotiations.
“The last time we passed a bipartisan bill was in March,” Delgado said. “We’re going back and forth trying to get a deal.”
The bill must include sufficient funding for COVID-19 testing for all Americans and sufficient contact tracing operations nationwide, Delgado said.
“It needs to be significant because the whole point of this is to support folks who are struggling and trying to sustain themselves through these challenging times and also to make sure we don’t find ourselves taking one step forward and two steps back,” Delgado said.
Procuring and funding adequate Personal Protective Equipment and testing will help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus across the nation, which Delgado said will help rejuvenate the national and state economies.
Delgado spent most of the early days of the pandemic visiting family farms throughout rural NY-19 — the nation’s eighth most agricultural congressional district — and struggling small-business owners, first responders and essential workers.
He secured $9 billion for farmers nationwide in the CARES Act through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, and Delgado’s Small Business Repayment Relief Act helped 27,000 small businesses in the 19th District.
“I was focusing on this issue and I’ll keep focusing on this issue until we get a bill done,” Delgado said of extending small-business relief.
Delgado plans to focus on expanding high-speed broadband internet access, which will attract businesses to the district and help create jobs.
“We have so many rural communities living without access to broadband,” Delgado said. “To me, it is a shame, it is a setback and it inhibits us to have the growth we need to employ more and more people.”
If re-elected, Delgado will advocate to invest in workforce development and restructure related programs, such as partnerships with local community college and trade programs to help New Yorkers secure necessary skills for employment, or public transportation for 19th District residents to get to work, he said.
He supports amending the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, instead of raising taxes on the state’s ultra-wealthy to help close the state’s nearly $50 billion revenue gap over two years because of pandemic spending. Delgado supports parts of the bill, but said it creates an additional $2 trillion deficit and mainly benefited the nation’s richest individuals and large corporations.
“I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, which is to communicate the necessity of getting something done continuing to advocate for our small business owners our families and doing their part by the way since COVID-19 hit and make sure I’m advocating for their needs,” Delgado said.
Delgado supports Democrat Joe Biden for president.
“The former vice president’s basic character was to unite, and that’s what we need,” Delgado said.
Delgado stressed his desire to work successfully with Republicans and lawmakers with differing viewpoints. He was ranked 33rd for bipartisanship out of 435 members in the House of Representatives.
“I’ve tried very hard to find common ground reaching across the aisle,” Delgado said. “More than half of my bills have been bipartisan. I’ve tried to really do the work. It’s not always easy in a very divided time, but I’ve remained true to NY-19 and how folks here at home orient myself. The times are challenging, but the way forward is to find that common ground.”
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University.
OCCUPATION: Musician, playing the saxophone and keyboards throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley.
RUNNING ON: Green Party line.
Steve Greenfield is fighting to secure a third-party voice in Congress.
Born in the Bronx and growing up in Queens, Greenfield moved to New Paltz with his wife in 2001. They have three teenage daughters, including a 19-year-old studying in the art conservatory at Tufts University, an 18-year-old who graduated from New Paltz High School last year and a 16-year-old junior at the high school.
Greenfield formerly served as a two-term member of the school board in New Paltz and serves as a community member of the Legislative Action Committee. He has also served as a volunteer firefighter for 17 years, responding to more than 3,400 emergency incidents and has numerous state fire-training certificates.
Greenfield ran for the 19th Congressional District seat as a Green Party candidate in 2018 — when Delgado won his first term in office. He previously ran for the 22nd Congressional District against Democrat Maurice Hinchey in 2002.
Greenfield, a long-time member of the Jewish Congregation of New Paltz, was recently elected to serve as vice president of Local 238-291 American Federation of Musicians and represents the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.
Greenfield is an avid challenger of the nation’s two-party system, and has been arrested on multiple occasions for his activism. At the start of his campaign last February, he pledged not to accept donations from Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, war profiteers, lawyers and lobbyists.
All rent, mortgage, student or vehicle loan expenses should be suspended for anyone unemployed in the wake of COVID-19, Greenfield said.
“We haven’t invented any new system,” he said. “If people are behind on their rent, or mortgages or student loans, we have to make what they own whole. Sustain life. Throw out the flotation device. Keep everybody alive.”
Agriculture, climate change, renewable energy, mass incarceration of minorities and public education also top Greenfield’s list of critical issues.
Greenfield supports Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins for president.
“There should be no controversy over that in a state that will have its Electoral College vote won by a 2-million vote margin,” the New Paltz man said.
Greenfield supports immediately placing every unemployed or uninsured American on Medicare.
“No questions asked,” he said. “If you’re wondering where the money is going to come from — the Treasury Department. Issue them on their balance sheets. Electronically issue a payment to every provider these people go into for treatment.
“I’m sick and tired of hearing Democrats say ‘they’ll make funding available,’” Greenfield said, adding an estimated 68,000 Americans die each year due to inadequate medical insurance. So don’t tell me paying for people’s COVID treatments is satisfactory. It’s not. Why is a COVID patient in a special class and a cancer patient is not? How does that make sense?”
Greenfield supports Medicare For All, but said the plan is not politically feasible under the current two-party rule.
Greenfield advocated for widespread coronavirus testing, contact tracing and strengthened quarantine protocols, in addition to the equivalent of a 90-day civil defense program to incentivize public cooperation to take COVID-19 precautions.
Greenfield stressed the need for green energy and revitalized infrastructure — especially to help tackle climate change.
“We need it on a mass scale and we need it quickly,” he said. “Just hire people. It’s the U.S. Department of Energy, it’s concrete electricians and everybody under the sun. Start this stuff and give people paychecks that they earn.”
Greenfield criticized politicians who say an idea or solution is not feasible.
“That is not the job of a public servant — your job is to make it feasible,” Greenfield said.
Greenfield would fund his plans through borrowing Treasury bonds and requiring large corporations or billionaires with unlimited cash reserves — such as business giants Bill Gates or Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — to foot the bill.
“I don’t want anyone to say, ‘Where do you get the money?’” Greenfield said. “The federal government is in control of the currency. We have fiat money, paper money. That’s, by law, labeled as legal tender. ... You end up taking the exact same money the Treasury Department would use to make people whole and put those businesses to work.”
Greenfield does not believe in gun control, but advocated for the importance of firearm safety, including universal background checks and a mental health threat assessment system to prevent tragedies like mass shootings. Greenfield opposes high-capacity magazines over 30 rounds.
America’s problems are solvable, Greenfield argued.
“Any reasonable person can solve these problems,” he said. “They want us to think we can’t because the argument between the two sides is how they do their fundraising and how they outrage people to attract votes. You need me to save you from them.
“No, those people suck. You need me because America will fall apart. We’ve completely lost sight of how to democracy.”
EDUCATION: Albany Law School graduate; bachelor’s from UMass Amherst political science and economics; Army ROTC cadet battalion commander, receiving airborne paratrooper badge and distinguished military graduate award.
OCCUPATION: Trial and litigation attorney with Corbally, Gartland & Rappleyea in Poughkeepsie.
RUNNING ON: Republican Party line.
After serving the country with boots on the ground, Kyle Van De Water is making his debut for national public office.
A major in the U.S. Army, Van De Water went on active duty in 2006 and completed one tour in Afghanistan. He served as a judicial advocate in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Van De Water was discharged in 2014 and remains in the U.S. Army Reserves.
He and his wife, Melissa Van De Water, have four children: Middle school-aged triplets Thomas, Lincoln and Annabelle; and 6-year-old Levi.
Van De Water is a former Millbrook village trustee. He was appointed to the seat in 2017 and served for one year and eight months. He has not held, or sought, other public office.
Van De Water decided to run for Congress this year, he said, after becoming deeply disturbed by the ideals of the Democratic Party and the state’s one-party rule with a liberal governor and Senate and Assembly majority.
“I don’t want the country to turn far left,” Van De Water said. “I feel bad for the Democratic Party — I think it’s been kind of feared by the far left.”
Van De Water criticized Democrats for spending unnecessary time and taxpayer dollars with multiple investigations into President Donald Trump and his administration, citing the Mueller Report or official Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.
“The more we investigate the investigators, there were certain members of the FBI in the early stages of that investigation who were questioning why they were doing it,” Van De Water said.
The candidate’s daughter, Annabelle, suffers from a rare medical syndrome, which has given the Van De Water family insight into the nation’s troubled health care system.
If elected, Van De Water would focus on lowering prescription drug costs and Americans taken advantage of by the pharmaceutical industry. He supports interstate, international, free-market competition to lower health care and medication costs, and believes in taking the health insurance market competition outside individual states.
The Republican plans to gradually phase out Obamacare to avoid lapses in coverage.
Coronavirus mandates, such as limiting public gatherings or requiring face masks to be worn in public, should be left to counties and local governments, the congressional hopeful said.
Van De Water said the federal government should cover the cost of the coronavirus vaccine for Americans who want to get the immunization when it becomes available, following a quick, but safe approval process.
He is against further lockdowns or restrictions on operating businesses.
“At this point, we have to defeat the virus and the pandemic,” Van De Water said. “We have to open the restaurants. Those restaurants are staples to local communities. Without restaurants, businesses next to them are going to fail.”
Van De Water would work to set up economic opportunity zone investment programs throughout the district, similar to Trump’s Opportunity Zones initiative created within the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The program provides tax advantages to low-income areas.
“That leads into boosting the economy again — the greatest economy we’ve ever had,” Van De Water said. “The economy was so good prior to the pandemic.”
If elected, the Republican will focus on ensuring high-speed broadband and cellphone service access across NY-19, one of the nation’s most agricultural districts.
“Businesses don’t want to come to some of the rural areas when they lack these essential tools,” Van De Water explained. “If you don’t have cellphone service and get stuck, that’s a serious health and safety issue.”
Van De Water sharply criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s demands in the long-negotiated subsequent federal COVID-19 stimulus package.
“She’s saying there’s not enough and has failed in helping out the American people and helping businesses,” he said. “There’s too much politics going on.”
If elected, Van De Water assured voters he would work across the aisle, he said.
“In the household where I grew up, most of the members of my family are Democrats,” he said. “It’s the people on the far left that are really hurting this country, in my opinion.”