The 960 Green Party voters in the new 24th Congressional District will have their own candidate to support in November.
Ursula Rozum, a Syracuse resident, announced her candidacy in April. Shortly after her announcement, she hopped on a train to Albany so she could deliver her Green Party petitions to the state Board of Elections.
In an interview Thursday, Rozum said she entered the race because the two major party candidates — U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-Onondaga Hill, and Democratic challenger Dan Maffei — don't share the same views as liberal voters in the district.
"I had to run in this race because I felt progressive voters didn't have a choice," she said. "I feel my opponents represent the status quo or a certain way of thinking about economics and politics that is out of touch with voters and it doesn't really address the serious issues we're facing."
As part of her economic platform, Rozum said that she supports an "economic bill of rights" similar to what was proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. And while outlining her support for "Medicare for all," Rozum acknowledged that she is one of the millions of Americans without health insurance.
"Studies have shown that Medicare is much more cost effective than private insurance," she said. "A lot of people still don't have health insurance. Currently, I am one of them... The health care system is really unfair and for such a rich country with so many resources, a lot of people think it's disgusting that we can't offer healthcare to our citizens."
Rozum's entry could impact the outcome of the 24th Congressional District race.
When Buerkle challenged Maffei in 2010, she won by 648 votes. Many expect the race will be close again.
The last time a Green Party candidate appeared on the ballot was 2008, when Howie Hawkins received 9,483 votes. That year, Maffei won the race with 37,000 more votes than his Republican challenger, Dale Sweetland.
The newly drawn 24th District includes all of Cayuga, Onondaga and Wayne counties. The western portion of Oswego County is also in the new district.
In other news:
- Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner will co-chair the New York State Democratic Committee after being nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week.
Cayuga County Democratic Chairwoman Katie Lacey liked the decision to put Miner in that position.
"She's a dynamic speaker, she's a good leader and she'll certainly bring an upstate perspective to the state party operations," Lacey said. "It's always a concern for us in the upstate area. A lot of the strength of the party is in New York City. To have a voice at the state party is important. It's a good thing that's been recognized."
Miner will serve as co-chair alongside Assemblyman Keith Wright.
- The entire interview with Rozum will be posted Monday on Eye on NY.