Area activist, social services coordinator plans run for Congress

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Local activist and social services coordinator Elyssa Bolt formally announced her candidacy for the 2022 election cycle for the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 22nd Congressional District.

She intends to challenge former Representative Anthony Brindisi, of Utica, for the Democratic Party nomination.

Bolt is a Rome resident who brings to the table a wealth of experiences that, she said, conventional candidates cannot match. She holds a master’s degree in history from Penn State University. An experienced educator, Bolt has lived in six states and three foreign countries before settling in the Mohawk Valley.

She now works in the public housing scene, helping to alleviate the epidemic of homelessness and housing insecurity in Utica. Few people, and fewer political candidates, have experienced life in comparable ways, the candidate said.

“We are at a pivotal moment in the history of this nation, where young candidates with no prior elected office are winning Congressional elections,” said Bolt. “Like other districts, New York District-22 is ready for a fresh leader who has been in the trenches all her life. Americans are fed up with choosing between wealthy career politicians. They would rather be represented and led by someone who has been on food stamps, who has lost a job to discrimination, who has put her physical safety on the line at protests.”

She said, “Some of our nation’s most successful members of Congress have started out as activists who’ve been arrested at protests. My arrest last fall at a Black Lives Matter protest gives me street credibility, as does my work with Utica’s most marginalized and vulnerable populations.”

Bolt cites the 2018 loss of her brother to cancer as a major motivation for her ambitious run for office. Establishing a health care model that guarantees every resident of the United States access to health care is her single top priority, followed by ending the mandatory minimum sentences and other “War on Drugs” policies that have ripped apart communities across the nation, Bolt said. She intends to ally herself with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, support the Green New Deal, and advocate for transgender rights. If elected, Bolt said she would be the first transgender Congresswoman in American history.

“The Democratic establishment doesn’t want me to run because they would rather play it safe with a rich lawyer who can’t understand the struggles of ordinary folks. It’s a perfect example of how the political elites are out of touch with the American people,” said Bolt. “If the Democrats are to stay relevant in this district, it is essential to put up a candidate from the working class. Central New York voters want someone who will, as the meme puts it, stand up for the right of married gay couples to guard their marijuana plants with AR-15s. I am that elusive candidate: a progressive LGBT Democrat who supports gun rights.”

“I already have lifelong Republican voters prepared to vote for me,” she said. “Some say that a leftist Democrat can’t win in Claudia Tenney’s district. I say they’re wrong. We have yet to see how the districts will be redrawn with New York losing a House seat, but redistricting should work in favor of Democratic candidates, and I am confident that my unique message will resonate with the voters of this district.”

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