Erin Collier: deep roots in the district
NEW YORK 19th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT — In the last three elections for a seat in the House of Representatives in this district, the Democratic candidates have been labeled carpet baggers. That’s not likely to happen should Erin Collier become the party’s candidate. In a phone interview she said her family has lived in the area for eight generations and farmed for five. She said, “Nobody can out-root me. Faso cannot out-root me. My family has been living here since the 1700s, my family founded Colliersville, that’s right outside of Cooperstown.”
She is referring to Congressman John Faso, whom Collier and her six fellow candidates would like to run against after the Democratic primary on June 26.
Collier is an economist with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She said, “I started in the [President Barack] Obama administration working on a USAID project. Part of my work is to predict where there will be food shortages around the world, and inform federal policy about how the government is going to respond to that. So this of course is one of the programs that Obama was very supportive of, and it’s of course one that [President Donald] Trump has been trying to cut. He’s cutting a lot of USAID programs, he’s trying to cut State Department programs, so he’s cutting diplomacy as he ramps up defense.”
Like many of her opponents, Collier thinks that in this election cycle, healthcare is one of the most important issues. She said, “Everywhere I go in this district—and it’s a really big district—everybody talks about healthcare. Our system is not working. So I stand for Medicare for all. I believe healthcare is a basic human right, and everybody should have access to healthcare regardless of your age, sex, if you have pre-existing conditions, your income level. I feel very strongly about universal healthcare, and Medicare for all provides that. Other options such as a public option don’t guarantee universal coverage.” She also said that Medicare for all would lead to a healthier population, and having a healthier population would lower costs. She said, “It cuts costs because there is so much bureaucracy and inefficiency when you have a public/private system.”
Asked if she finds it frustrating to be one of seven candidates, she said, “I don’t really find it frustrating. I think seeing seven people run is a reflection of the movement right now. It’s a reflection of how motivated people are, a reflection of how strongly people are pushing back against Trump. I think that’s a good thing.”
Collier is the only woman only among the seven candidates. On that topic, she said, “I feel very strongly about standing up for women’s rights. Women are only 20% of Congress, but we’re 50% of the population, so representation is already a gender inequality, and this—our historical high—is 20%. If you look over time, we’ve made up 3% of Congress. So I feel very strongly that women should have another seat at the table. There’s a quote from Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm: ‘If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.’” Collier is the candidate supported by Emily’s List, an organization that says, “We ignite change by getting pro-choice Democratic women elected to office.”