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NY 21

New York's 21st Congressional District. Map created from screenshot of govtrack.us

GLENS FALLS -- The race to replace U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, will include local political activist and bakery owner Matt Funiciello.

Funiciello announced his intention to seek the Green Party nomination in the 21st Congressional District race, a seat that opened with Owens’ decision to retire.

Funiciello’s announcement sets up a potential primary with Donald Hassig, a political activist from St. Lawrence County, who ran on the Green Party line in 2012, and has already announced his candidacy this year.

The two Green Party hopefuls are part of a crowded race.

The Democratic candidate, chosen from a field of two by county chairmen, is Aaron Woolf, a 49-year-old documentary filmmaker from Elizabethtown. Woolf is a Middlebury College graduate best known for his work in film, including the documentary “King Corn,” about farm subsidies and genetically modified crops.

Three Republicans have declared their candidacy: Elise Stefanik, a businesswoman and former White House policy adviser from Willsboro; Joseph Gilbert, a retired U.S. Army major and tea party leader from St Lawrence County; and Jamie Wallor, a political consultant from Hamilton County.

Republican chairmen have said Matt Doheny, the Republican candidate in 2010 and 2012, is considering an entry into the race.

Hassig was in the race in 2012 but dropped out days before the election and endorsed Owens. Hassig received more than 3,600 votes, about 2 percent of the total vote.

The Green Party pulled its endorsement of Hassig less than a month before the election after Hassig said at a campaign forum that Mexican farm workers should be deported. Hassig said party leaders misunderstood the intention of his comments.

Funiciello has owned and run Rock Hill Bakehouse in South Glens Falls since 1992 and opened Rock Hill Cafe in Glens Falls in 2002. He is a board member and actively involved in both the Glens Falls Food Co-op and Art in the Public Eye.

On his Facebook page — “Matt For Congress — NY District 21” — Funiciello lays out his issues in this way:

“I am active in the peace movement. I have lobbied for a living wage and for other social justice issues. I am against all corporate welfare and unfair taxation. I am against the (Affordable Care Act) and am for single-payer health care.”

He had no additional comment Tuesday.

Funiciello will hold a volunteer organizational rally at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Rock Hill offices on Route 9 in Moreau.

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