McMurray has challenger in Democratic Party for 27th District

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 December 2019 at 11:05 am

CLARENCE – Nate McMurray isn’t the only Democrat seeking the party’s support to run in the 27th Congressional District.

Melodie Baker

Melodie Baker, an education and health care policy expert, kicked off her campaign on Monday with an event at Clarence Town Park Club House.

Baker works as director of Education for the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. She is also chairwoman of the Erie-Niagara Birth to 8 Coalition and co-chairwoman of RaisingNY.

The married mother of five children also runs a small policy firm that conducts research and evaluation for non-profit organizations and governments, including the New York State Department of Health.

“Real issues for real people start at home, at the kitchen table not in Washington,” Baker said in a news release. “The greatest concern in my district is how to make ends meet. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or independent you are working hard to achieve economic security and want to see your children do better than yourself.”

Baker earned her master’s degree in executive leadership from Daemen College, and received her advanced graduate certificate in applied statistical analysis from UB.

McMurray lost a close race to Chris Collins last November. Collins has since resigned and the seat is vacant. Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t set a date for a special election but has said he would prefer it to be on April 28 during the state’s presidential primary.

McMurray has the endorsement of seven of eight county Democratic Party leaders in the district. Jeremy Zellner, the Erie County Democratic Party chairman, hasn’t made an endorsement yet and he has about half of the weighted vote in the district.

“Economic security is directly linked to wellness and health care,” Baker said in her news reelase. “People should not have to choose between paying their mortgage or health insurance. Prescription drug costs are at an all-time high while the price tag for a decent quality of life is literally killing us. That said, pie-in-the-sky proposals that won’t pass Congress and will turn off independent voters who are distrustful of government are not the solution.  We need to build upon what’s working.”

Baker has proposed adding a public option to the Affordable Care Act to allow anyone to buy into Medicare while keeping the option for private insurance. She has also identified broadband as a digital equity issue crucial a crucial step in expanding infrastructure.

“Our rural communities have gone too long without access to broadband,” Baker said. “Investing in broadband infrastructure will be an economic driver for small business improve education for the people who are not willing to move.”

Baker’s platform also includes prioritizing skilled-trade education, ensuring that college students can enter the workforce debt-free, and defending Medicare and Social Security benefits.

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