NY-22 Minute: An Interview with Anthony Brindisi By Luke Perry
Luke Perry, Director of The Utica College Center of Public Affairs and Election Research, interviewed Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi on Friday, July 7, 2017 at Bite Bakery and Cafe in Utica.
Assemblyman Brindisi decided to run for Congress because he was concerned about the “direction of the country” and the “lack of attention the current representative is giving the region.” He declared his candidacy this summer in order to have more time to meet with voters and better learn their concerns. “Every campaign is a start up,” Assemblyman Brindisi explained when asked about the current status of his campaign, “we’re gearing up.”
Locally, Assemblyman Bridisi has been busy making calls to state officials to expedite a determination of whether the area is eligible for federal funding and connecting those needing immediate assistance with existing resources. When asked about new rules by the Trump administration regarding refugees coming to the U.S., Brindisi replied that “I always point to the positive experiences in Utica as refugees form new businesses, purchase homes, pursue citizenship and the American dream.” He opposed the initial ban and opposes the current form of the ban as well.
When asked about the Trump presidency, the Assemblyman pointed out that Trump won by double digits in his district. “What I hear on the street in talking to voters is that they will vote for the best person,” Brinidisi explained, "and don’t care if a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ comes after their name.” Brindisi believes he’s been reelected several times because “I’m someone who has reached across the aisle. Party politics means nothing to me. Getting results does.”
President Trump had just completed his first meeting with Vladimir Putin when we spoke. Brindisi hopes “the president looks him in face and says ‘I know you interfered with our election and there will be consequences for denying it.’” On the recent tensions with North Korea, the Assemblyman believes a worldwide response is needed, led by America and its allies, given the immediate threat to national security. In turning to domestic issues, Brindisi hopes Republicans “will throw the so called ‘healthcare reform’ out the window” and fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act, “rather than providing a massive tax cut for billionaires.”
The Assemblyman believes there are multiple differences between himself and Claudia Tenney regarding conduct and policy. According to Brindisi, the two disagree on healthcare, education, job growth, whether internet providers should be able to sell consumer data, and whether “big banks should be able to make risky bets with our money,” to name a few. Brindisi also believes several issues are not getting enough attention, like infrastructure, working with colleges and universities to better harness brain power, and doing more to ensure seniors and veterans are “getting a fair shake.” Brindisi said he likes to work on a lot of issues and wants to be involved as much as he can.
In terms of conduct, “I pride myself on being very accessible in person and through other forms of communication,” Brindisi explained. When asked about the lack of contact info on his campaign website, Brindisi said there is a place for people to provide their information, but the website is continually being updated to make it as user friendly as possible, and there is regular communication through Facebook and Twitter. “What most people don’t realize,” Brindisi explained, is that “I’m the guy responding to you on social media or when you e-mail my office.”
In closing, Brindisi acknowledged “the safe thing for me to do would be to stay in the Assembly, but I really believe in public service. There are not enough good people who step up and run for office and bring a common sense approach to DC.”
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College.
Read the NY-22 Minute for timely and comprehensive analysis of the campaign.