State Rep. Colin Schmitt on his run for the NY-18 seat

The new 18th Congressional District includes most of the major cities in the Hudson Valley, from Newburgh north to New Paltz and Kingston. The district includes all of Orange County, most of Dutchess County and part of Ulster County. Although there are three Democrats running for their party’s nomination on Tuesday, there is no Republican primary. Two-term state Rep. Colin Schmitt is the only Republican running for the seat.

Schmitt is the ranking minority member of the Assembly’s Local Government Committee. As former Assemblywoman Annie Rabbit’s teenage aide, she remains the youngest Assembly aide ever.

“My dad, he’s retired now, but at the time he was an FDNY firefighter, a fire lieutenant, and I was looking for a way to get involved and give back and Annie Rabbit was willing to give me a chance and I’ve been grateful ever since,” Schmitt told Capital Tonight. “I learned a lot, I was able to help a lot of constituents, and as state Assembly offices go, it’s a small staff, so I started working on everything and I was always involved in my community, involved in my church.”

According to the Cook Political Report, the new 18th district is a “Democratic dump.” Asked if he considers himself a moderate Republican or a “Trump” Republican, Schmitt said he’s proud to be one of the most bipartisan members of the Assembly.

“I worked on common sense issues with members of both parties to improve my district, and that’s something I want to bring to Washington, DC,” he said.

Asked about the economy and inflation, Schmitt said those are the two issues he hears the most about on the campaign trail.

“On day one, we need to focus on stopping these trillions of dollars of wasteful spending, which is really fueling price inflation,” he said. “Next, we need to really return our country to America’s energy independence, and we need to allow businesses and workers to do their jobs and incentivize work, not work.”

Although Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin has announced his intention to reverse the state’s fracking ban, which was implemented under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Schmitt would not commit to supporting the idea because, he explained, “fracking will be left in New York.” as a state decision”.

That said, Schmitt is committed to energy independence.

“I think restoring American energy independence is a blanket solution,” he said. “There is no single facet to achieve it. You have to look at all areas, whether it’s traditional fuels or next-generation technology and next-generation energy. So my solution would be to look at all avenues.”

There are three Democrats running in the NY-18 primary on Tuesday, August 23: Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, financial audit expert Moses Mugulusi and former political commentator Aisha Mills.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Schmitt in November.

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