The Lumberjack Lyre - NELSON FOR CONGRESS
By Dorran Boucher
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Patrick Nelson, who is running to be a representative for New York’s 21st Congressional District. He was born in Stillwater, NY, he graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics, and he is a registered democrat.
What was your motivation to decide to run for Congress?
“I announced my candidacy the day before President Trump took office on January 19, 2017. I knew the moment the President’s administration took over alongside a Republican House that all progress we made under President Obama would start to roll back,” Nelson said. Nelson expressed his concern for the undoing of policies that address climate change and healthcare, so he “made sure to take part in our democracy and began to put a plan together to run for Congress.”
What reasons do you think make you more suitable or different than the other candidates?
Nelson stated that what sets him apart is that he’s “the only candidate who believes in continuing the revolution (that) Senator Sanders started in 2016 on his run for the presidency.” He is pushing for universal healthcare system sponsored by Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders, as well as for “student debt relief, tuition-free public college…and the Off the Fossil Fuel for a Better Future HR 3671 which is sponsored by Congresswoman Gabbard.
What/who inspired you to get into politics originally?
Nelson mentioned that in 2011, he saw an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher where he had the famous astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson on as a guest. “He was talking about how Congress was made up of mostly lawyers and businesspeople. He asked a question which resonated with me, “Where are the engineers? Where are the scientists? ,” and Nelson, being a science major in college, decided that this was a political area where he could “craft scientifically literate policy.”
What is your political/career background?
Nelson started out as a custodian at his local church when he was 14 years old. As he grew up, he worked both in retail and landscaping where he learned “responsibility and a hard day’s work.” More recently, he has worked as an intern for the Aaron Woolf Congressional campaign, and in 2016, he was a Field Director for the Mike Derrick Congressional campaign. In 2015, he ran for the Stillwater Town Board as a Democrat and lost with 42% of the vote, which was “the highest a Democrat received in a very long time.” In 2016, he was elected as a delegate to the DNC for Bernie Sanders. His most recent job was serving as “Special Projects Coordinator for Assemblymember Phil Steck in Albany.”
What are your political views?
Nelson is pushing for Medicare-For-All, increasing the minimum wage in correspondence to inflation, student debt relief, and proactively combating climate change. He believes that “this is a threat to the human species and we need to start moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy. We could lead in this transformation while creating careers at the same time.”
Further into the interview, Nelson mentioned that finding out the truth of matters in this country is flawed and the only way to make effective policy is to create a bipartisan and legitimate source of information for an average American to get their news from. Nelson also wants to put an end to the party clashes and for politicians and voters to search for compromises, rather than just trying to “win.”
Finally, what advice do you have for the next generation of aspiring politicians and promoters of change?
He recommended joining or creating a political group for the younger generations, rallying, and voting on a local level. He ended the interview on a positive and inspiring note. He said, “My advice is to get involved. This is your future and you need to be a voice for change.”
I think that Nelson is a great candidate, and someone that the next generation of American politics needs. We need young, capable, and sensible politicians. We need scientists, thinkers, and people who want change. We need people who are ready and willing to fight for it. Patrick Nelson, I believe, is the perfect candidate to pursue that change.