Putorti: “It’s about protecting my home” | News, sports, work

Democrat Matt Putorti first entered the race more than a year ago to unseat incumbent Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. The Whitehall resident said he decided to give up his love of country because he doesn’t think New York’s 21st Congressional District will get the representation it needs.

“As the only candidate who was born and raised in this district and voted in this district before I ran for office, I understand the people who live here and I care very deeply,” he said. Putorti says. “I am not running for Congress as an empty project. For me, it’s about protecting my home and improving the lives of people here.”

Putorti is one of two Democrats left in the race. The other is Matt Castelli, a former CIA and counterterrorism operative who lives in Glens Falls.

Putorti is a lawyer by profession and has never held public office. But throughout his campaign, he described himself as service-oriented and emphasized the generational connection to the North Country that makes him unique in this race. His parents own a grocery store in Whitehall, which was started by his great-grandmother in 1927.


Sitting at a picnic table in McDonough Park across from Plattsburgh City Hall, Putorti explains that he has two running backs. “buckets” on issues.

In the economic bucket, he puts permanent cost reductions in the face of inflation and investment in rural areas like the North Country. Social issues include things like abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, and gun control. Putorti says he supports the Second Amendment, but he has met people who agree with him on banning assault weapons.

“At the end of the day, in addition to being able to afford the necessities of life without bankrupting us, we want to make sure we can go to the grocery store without getting shot,” he said. he says.

Putorti has recently participated in several rallies focused on social issues. On August 3, she attended an abortion rights event in Plattsburgh, one of several she has attended since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Putorti says it’s important to show solidarity with gays and other groups whose rights are violated or disenfranchised.

At the event in downtown Plattsburgh’s Trinity Park, Putorti spoke to several people about his frustrations with Stefanik. Jay’s Debra Fox-Newman told her the congressman isn’t meeting with his constituents.

“A group of us had a meeting, an actual meeting to meet him,” he says. “He never showed, never called.”

Once, when about ten people gathered, Putorti gave a short speech. He spoke about the decision of the Supreme Court on the right to abortion and called on the people to gather and vote.

“And we have to elect people who are not Eliza Stefanik, because Eliza Stefanik is an anti-women politician,” he said. he says. “He voted against codifying Roe, he voted against the Violence Against Women Act, he voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and he’s using a lot of the money he’s raised nationally to fund other candidates who are running for office across the country.”

Fox-Newman said she’ll have to check on Putorti, but is relying on what she’s seen. Still, he didn’t know until tonight that Putorti and Castelli were running against Stefanik.

Matthew Grajek and Cheyanna Garza traveled to the abortion rights event from Copenhagen, about three hours away. They are registered Democrats who have been thinking about who they want to support against Stefanik.

Grajek says it’s hard to tell where Putorti and Castelli stand based on their campaign websites.

“I think that Matt Castelli has been very aggressive in his marketing, which on the one hand can really appeal to the crowd that Eliza Stefanik likes, right?

But he says Putorti looks softer and more realistic.

“So if you think about strategic voting, it’s hard for me to say who I can or should vote for.”

The primary election between Putorti and Castelli is set for August 23rd, with early voting starting on August 13th. Putorti said he was committed to supporting the candidate from the start.

“My goal in all of this is to have someone represent this district that is not Eliza Stefanik,” he said. he said. “I’m sure we’ll win the primary, but if we don’t, I’m going to support whoever the candidate is because it’s the right thing to do and we have to come together to win it. .”

Castelli has pulled ahead of Putorti in fundraising and is poised to end up on the November ballot no matter how the Democratic primary plays out. Because it provided an independent network of the Party of Moderates.

In addition, Castelli has been endorsed by nearly every Democratic committee in the county and Stefanik’s predecessor, Bill Owens.

But even if Putorti is upset with Castelli, the general election will be an even bigger battle.

Congressman Stefanik has millions of dollars and name recognition as an incumbent and member of the House leadership.

Still, Putorti says he’s ready.

“I’m not afraid to fight hard” he says. “I was a convict, I fought hard battles all my life. And I will not stop now. So I think all of this makes us the best campaign to win and defeat Eliza Stefanik and bring respectable representation to this district.”

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