A Binghamton resident has entered the race to represent New York's 22nd Congressional District.
Republican Nicholas Wan said his campaign is based on the notions of "America first" and economic nationalism. The 27-year-old said he would like to serve in Congress as a true citizen representative and not a career politician, he said.
"I come from the working class and I'm fighting for the working class," he said. "Upstate New York has been completely left behind. We were even embarrassed recently by President Donald Trump that we should pack our bags and go. I completely reject that."
New York's 22nd Congressional District includes Oneida, Madison, Chenango and Cortland counties, with parts of Herkimer, Broome, Oswego and Tioga counties. The seat is held by U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, who has all but officially announced that she is running for a second term in the November 2018 election.
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, also is running.
Wan, born and raised in Binghamton, said he was raised by a single mother who worked three jobs and put him and his brother through school. He resigned from his position as a financial adviser for small business owners in order to run for Congress.
The Binghamton resident does not have any political experience, though he said he did do some "behind-the-scenes" work for other 22nd Congressional District candidates.
"I think the working class has been largely forgotten," he said. "Not only have they been forgotten, but they've been sold out by those that have gone to Washington D.C. They've been at the helm systematically for the past 20 years undermining the chances for working class people to have a decent lifestyle," he said. "This is America first. Instead of putting globalists or elite Manhattan bankers at the top of the list of priorities, I want to reverse that and start bailing out working class people."
Wan said he supports the idea of universal health care and the construction of Trump's border wall in Mexico. He said he would seek to end birthright citizenship granted through the 14th Amendment and would support the deportation of beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
If he's elected, Wan pledges to operate on a self-imposed two-term limit, to refuse health care benefits until Upstate New York families have universal health care coverage and will donate half of his congressional salary to police departments in the district, starting with Utica, Rome and Binghamton in the first year.
Part of his platform also includes proposals to pay out annual dividend checks to working-class Americans and to cancel interest against all working-class debt, including credit card, mortgage and student loan debt. With health care, Wan proposes for the national government to allocate funds to Americans through a national health savings account, which would go toward certain qualified medical expenses. The annual federal allocations within this account would roll over year to year.
To pay for the programs, Wan said he would propose for federal officials to take a look at the country's global defense spending. In line with his "America first" message, Wan said he would not support operations in Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea and Iran.
"I favor this over Medicare for all because it accomplishes the same thing — it provides universal coverage — but more importantly, it will cause quality to increase and it will cause prices to go down," he said.
Wan has started an online campaign fundraising page with the goal of reaching at least $25,000. As of Friday afternoon, the page had raised $850.
If he does not meet his goal by mid-December, Wan said he will have to reconsider the viability of continuing his campaign.
"For a part of the country in life support, we need someone who is going to go to Washington and be an advocate for radical change," he said. "We can't expect the same policies that we have been pursuing for the last 20 years, which have been continuing to try to start wars in the Middle East. It's time that Upstate New York gets immediate relief."
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