Emily Martz, an economic developer from Saranac Lake, is now the fourth Democrat looking to unseat U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, in the 2018 midterm elections.
Ms. Martz, who announced her candidacy Wednesday, entered what is gearing up to be a heavily contested race for the 21st Congressional District’s Democratic nomination. Along with being the fourth Democrat overall, Ms. Martz, 45, is the third woman to launch a bid, the other two being Canton’s Tedra L. Cobb and Keene’s Katie K. Wilson. Patrick Nelson, of Stillwater, was the first Democrat to announce a campaign back in February.
With over a decade of financial consulting work on her resume, Ms. Martz said her economic development experience will be her biggest asset going into the race.
“I have this understanding of the region and this understanding of business and economic development,” she said in a Times interview Wednesday. “I want to take those to Washington.”
Ms. Martz has served as operations and finance director for the Adirondack North Country Association since 2014, helping the development company connect with local businesses and governments across the region. She noted her recent efforts to expand the clean energy market in the north country by partnering with St. Lawrence County’s Apex Solar, a solar energy equipment supplier. She said the partnership has helped increase local demand for solar power, and the company has since opened another office in the region.
Before joining the association, Ms. Martz spent 12 years working for mutual fund companies in the Pacific Northwest, followed by nine years as a professor at the University of Delaware and Paul Smith’s College.
While she has always had an interest in politics, Ms. Martz said the election of President Donald J. Trump pushed her to consider a run for the seat. Not long after Mr. Trump’s election, Ms. Martz co-founded the group Now What?, which seeks to increase involvement in local politics.
Ms. Martz added that Ms. Stefanik’s support for the American Health Care Act was another driving force in her decision. The AHCA, passed by the House in early May, aims to cut over $800 billion in Medicaid funding over the next decade. Critics of the bill, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, have said the Medicaid cuts would lead to rural hospital closures across the state.
“What we need at this point is a health care system that will expand coverage,” Ms. Martz said. “That’s in contrast to what our representative is supporting.”
Stefanik campaign spokesman Lenny Alcivar said Ms. Stefanik is currently focused on district issues.
“There will be a time and a place for electoral politics,” he said in a statement. “For now, Congresswoman Stefanik is focused on her bipartisan work delivering real results for the hardworking families and small businesses across the 21st District, not on politics.”
On being the fourth Democrat to enter the race, Ms. Martz said she is looking forward to facing off against the other candidates.
“Having a primary is healthy,” she said. “It’s going to keep people engaged. And I’m confident about what I’m bringing to the table, which is my expertise in economic development and my proven track record in helping to create jobs.”
Green Party candidate Matthew J. Funiciello, of Glens Falls, intends to run for a third time.