GLENS FALLS — Don Boyajian, a lawyer who recently moved from Saratoga County to Cambridge, in Washington County, announced his candidacy for Congress on Tuesday, becoming the fifth candidate seeking the Democratic nomination in the 21st Congressional District in 2018.
“We’re interested in coming up with real solutions to help our communities,” Boyajian said in an interview at The Post-Star on Tuesday. “My whole life, I’ve felt like our region has got the short end of the stick.”
Boyajian, a trout fisherman and bluegrass musician in his spare time, said he has a keen understanding of the 12-county congressional district, both from a lifestyle and policy perspective.
As a student at Colgate University and Cornell Law School, he did research on affordable housing in the Adirondacks and on invasive species in Lake Champlain.
He focused on agricultural, natural resources and energy issues as an aide to former Rep. Michael McMahon, D-Staten Island, and was an environmental policy adviser to former state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who now is New York’s governor.
“We need a representative that has fight and grit — that is key — and someone that is on the ground in the district,” he said.
Boyajian joins a spirited field of candidates shaping up early for the 2018 race.
Other announced Democratic candidates are:
Tedra Cobb of Canton, a business consultant and former St. Lawrence County legislator;
Emily Martz of Saranac Lake, an economic development adviser;
Patrick Nelson of Stillwater, a political activist and 2016 Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention;
Katie Wilson of Keene, a political activist and business owner.
“It’s a great sign of things to come,” Boyajian said, referring to the large field of candidates. “People deserve a great representative and people are motivated right now.”
Among other political parties, Russell Finley, a beef cattle farmer and real estate broker from St. Lawrence County, is challenging Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, a two-term incumbent, in a Republican primary.
Christopher Schmidt, a political activist from Fort Edward, announced in June he is exploring a run on the Libertarian Party line.
Matt Funiciello, the Green Party candidate in 2014 and 2016, announced Tuesday he would not run again for the seat, though he has said two Green Party members are seriously considering the race.
Boyajian, 32, is a partner in the law firm Dreyer Boyajian, specializing in environmental and municipal government law.
Boyajian said his campaign platform will center around economic development and infrastructure, which he views as related.
Infrastructure improvements make the region more attractive to new employers, he said.
Boyajian said, if elected, he would ask to serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.