21ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT — A second Republican has announced that he is entering the race for the 21st Congressional District seat, which could set the stage for a Republican primary.
Steven Vasquez, 33, of Ballston Lake, a self-described Tech Valley entrepreneur who started an electronics company called ReQuest, said he will work full time on his candidacy.
He decided to run to “stop wasting money so we can protect seniors and veterans.” He said the key issue is the economy and he will “fight to make hard choices to stop Congress from deficit spending that robs Social Security.”
Vasquez said the reason taxes are so high is because Congress is spending massive amounts of money, which is hurting the economy, increasing the deficit and forcing the country to borrow money from Communist China and Saudi Arabia.
Congress — both Democrats and Republicans — has been taking money from Social Security surplus funds for decades, he added.
U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty, D-Green Island, who has held the seat for 20 years, is not running for re-election.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office said that as baby boomers enter retirement age in the next 20 years, the federal government will go broke and not be able to fulfill its obligations, leaving taxpayers holding the bill for more than $500,000 per household, according to Vasquez.
The U.S. country is reaching the threshold of how much the government can borrow vs. how much it can produce.
“I would create a firewall and stop Congress from being able to loot the trust funds. That alone won’t save it, but it would buy time to help Congress stop wasting money overseas.”
Vasquez, who is single, has not run for elected office before but has worked on political campaigns including Ron Paul’s recent run for president.
A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, Vasquez said he created manufacturing and engineering jobs in Tech Valley by co-founding ReQuest, a consumer electronics business.
He now serves on the ReQuest board.
“I am a tech-savvy entrepreneur, and I know how to bring jobs to Tech Valley. What’s happening in New York is that we are more highly taxed than elsewhere in country. It’s creating barriers for people who would like to move in and get jobs.”
He said he’s excited by the number of candidates in the race. “It will allow voters a real choice. It should be a good race. I think I will win. I have the ability to take on hard choices most other candidates won’t talk about.”
Earlier this week, Jim Buhrmaster, a business owner and Schenectady County legislator, became the first Republican to announce he would run for McNulty’s seat.
The Democrats who have announced their candidacies are: Gary Mittleman, founding CEO of Plug Power; Phil Steck, Colonie Democratic chairman; Tracey Brooks, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton; Darius Shahinfar, a former aide to U.S. Rep . Kirsten Gillibrand; and Lester Freeman, an Albany Democratic activist.
Former Democratic assemblyman Paul Tonko, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, is considering a run.
McNulty has not endorsed any of the candidates.
The district covers parts of Fulton, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties and all of Albany, Montgomery, Schenectady and Schoharie counties.
It has a majority of Democrats with 41 percent; 28 percent of voters are Republicans and 31 percent are not enrolled in either major party.