April 10-- Apr. 10--CHESTER -- The Republican who tried to unseat U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand last year has now trained her sights on Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, announcing Tuesday that she plans to run for New York's 18th Congressional District seat in 2020.
Chele Chiavacci Farley is a private-equity executive from Manhattan who recently rented a house in Tuxedo Park and registered as an Orange County voter in February, establishing residency in the 18th District. She said Tuesday that she was launching her campaign 19 months before the election to get her name known and start raising campaign funds.
Farley, 52, argued her experience negotiating deals in the finance industry would make her a good congresswoman and enable her to secure funding for highway improvements and other projects in the district.
"The district desperately needs lower taxes and better infrastructure, and my skill set makes me uniquely qualified to bring that, having been an engineer and a negotiator and a finance person," she said in an interview at the Chester law office of Ben Ostrer, the first vice-chairman of the Orange County Republican Committee.
Farley accused Maloney of getting only one bill passed in his six years in Congress -- a post-office naming -- and criticized him for supporting the Green New Deal, a non-binding resolution sponsored by 91 House Democrats that lays out broad goals for combating climate change and creating jobs. Republicans have slammed it as a costly and disruptive progressive fantasy.
Maloney, a Cold Spring Democrat who won his fourth House term by 10 percentage points in November, issued a short statement in response to Farley's candidacy and criticism: "The folks I work for want someone focused on solving their problems. There will be plenty of time to worry about politics next year."
His office supplied a list of 32 bills or parts of legislation that it says Maloney has ushered into law since taking office in 2013, either on their own or incorporated into larger bills.
Farley, who lost her Senate race against Gillibrand by 34 points, vowed to pursue funding for road projects such as the ongoing conversion of Route 17 to Interstate 86, echoing the longstanding complaint that New Yorkers spend more in federal taxes than they get in return from Washington. She suggested that more aggressive negotiating in Congress could help solve or reduce that "donor state" problem.
"This all takes money, and people say, 'Well, there isn't enough money,' " she said. "Actually, there is enough money. It's our money. And right now it's going to other states."
Farley said she has put aside her work as sole remaining owner of Mistral Capital International, the private equity investment firm she founded, to run for Congress. She said she and her husband, Richard, have rented a century-old house in Tuxedo Park with an option to buy it this summer. A Manhattan resident for 26 years, Farley said she didn't move upstate strictly to run for the 18th District seat.
"I have a 12-year-old who has been begging for a back yard, who wants the outdoors," she explained. "My husband and I love to bike and to hike, so here is a real opportunity. But we've got to make sure that we keep the Hudson Valley fresh and pristine with fresh air and great water.
"And, of course, that's another big thing on infrastructure. I mean our water systems really have a big issue. I mean the aqueducts are over 100 years old, and nobody sees them, so nobody spends money on it, and we've got to make sure that we keep fresh water."
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