Early voting has already begun for the Orange County Democratic Primary that will take place on Tuesday, August 23 to choose a candidate for the November congressional election.
Democrats Pat Ryan, Moses R. Mugulusi and Aisha Mills appear on the ballot. The winner will face Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R-C- New Windsor) in November to represent the 18th congressional district in Washington.
Mugulusi did not respond to requests for information about his candidacy prior to deadline. The other candidates are profiled here.
Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan is running in two races on August 23. In addition to the primary, he is also a candidate in a special election to replace newly-appointed Lt. Governor Antonio Delgado in the 19th Congressional District that presently includes Ulster County. The congressional district boundaries will be re-drawn in January, and with new 18th district will include all of Orange and Ulster Counties.
Ryan is currently serving as the Ulster County Executive, a position he has held since 2019. He is a fifth-generation Ulster County resident, and after graduating from Kingston High School he attended West Point and later served two tours of duty in Iraq as an Army Intelligence Officer. After leaving the military, he founded a small technology company in the county, which he grew to more than 150 employees. Pat lives in Gardiner with his wife, Rebecca and their two sons, Theo and Cameron.
Ryan has made defending a woman’s right to choose a focus of his campaign, with his signs pointing out that ‘choice is on the ballot.’ He has promised to work to pass common sense gun policies to protect children; make investments in the district’s communities by expanding broadband and by lowering housing costs; suspend the gas tax; hold corporations accountable for price gouging and is willing to take on corporate polluters in order to protect our water and clean air.
Ryan said we need to invest in our roads and bridges, expand rail, help workers with training and technology so they can compete for good jobs, revitalize small businesses by reducing regulatory burdens while improving access to capital, ensure that equal work means equal pay regardless of gender and move forward to expand equal rights for LGBTQ communities especially in healthcare, housing, employment and education. He promises to embrace clean energy alternatives to help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while creating good jobs in the district. He firmly believes that in the process we should end subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
Ryan said the economy is not favoring the working class and blames corporations for helping themselves to more than their fair share. He would work toward a ‘people-centered’ economy that provides child care, affordable housing and more investment in the district’s infrastructure.
Described on her campaign website as a journalist and advocate, Mills moved to Newburgh with her partner Melanie Collins and their three children after having spent over 20 years in Washington helping to advance progressive federal policies and elect hundreds of women, people of color, and LGBTQ leaders to every level of government. She has also appeared on television as a political analyst on CNN and MSNBC.
“Politics are deeply personal for me,” Mills said. “As a Black lesbian, raised in a working-class family by grandparents who left South Carolina in the 1950s to flee Jim Crow, I know the sting of systemic discrimination. I am running because we deserve a bold leader who will leverage every piece of legislation, every policy platform, and every public forum possible to beat back bigotry, protect our rights, and strengthen our democracy so that the government actually works for all of us.”
In her campaign platform, Mills pledges to restore and protect womens’ rights and voting rights: to codify equality for all into the law; work to ensure economic security, affordable housing, and healthcare for all—especially for our seniors and kids with a quality education from pre-K through college, without saddling them with massive debt.
“We can and will win, IF we elect leaders with the political will and the experience to get things done in Washington, as I have,” Mills said.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day. Early voting began August 13 and will continue through August 21. Locations include the City of Newburgh Activity Center, 401 Washington Street, Newburgh at the following times: Wednesday, August 17, noon to 8 p.m.; Thursday, August 18, Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, August 19, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.