Her family came to Cooperstown generations before the Baseball Hall of Fame was established in 1939. But “life-long and spirited” Democratic congressional candidate Erin Collier has her eye on the halls of the House of Representatives, albeit with a later start than other declared opponents.
A total of seven Democratic candidates are currently vying for the opportunity to face first-term Republican John Faso of Kinderhook in the Nov. 6 general election.
Collier, who will be 34 next week, said she was raised on a fifth-generation family farm near Cooperstown. She graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in agricultural economics and took a master’s degree in that field from Michigan State University. She works for the US Agency for International Development.
Collier will face six Democratic male candidates she calls “the guys” in a June 26 party primary.
While the last to announce, Collier says she’s been “seriously thinking” about running for Congress in the 19th New York Congressional District “for a very long time.”
“It’s very difficult for people who aren’t from wealth or privileged background to get into the system. I’m still paying off my student debt,” she said.
Collier, after declaring officially only on Monday, said she has been “overwhelmed by the positive response” and believes a growing pool of volunteers will be sufficient to collect the minimum 1,250 valid signatures needed to get on the primary ballot. “We’ve got that covered,” she said. The deadline is April 12.
She believes her gender could be a factor in the primary. “Am I the only [Democratic] woman?” she said. “Yeah, but that’s one of the things that motivated me to run. Women comprise only about 20 percent of Congress. More women should run for Congress. I’m really excited to be able to stand up and be a voice for women.”
Collier, who is single, said she will keep her job with the US Agency for International Development, working from home, but will campaign extensively. “I’m not just a woman. I’m a qualified woman. I can beat those guys and I’m looking forward to taking out Faso in November,” she said.
Previously declared candidates include Patrick Ryan, Gareth Rhodes, Jeffrey Beals and David Clegg of Ulster, Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck and Brian Flynn of Greene County. Diane Neal of Hurley announced as an independent last month.
The 19th District encompasses all of Ulster, Greene and Sullivan counties, and parts of eight others.