WXXI AM News

Rachel Barnhart is officially in for congressional race

Apr 21, 2018

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Former TV Journalist Rachel Barnhart has officially announced her candidacy for Louise Slaughter's Congressional seat.

Speaking from the Village Gate to a room of supporters, Barnhart listed the opioid crisis, jobs, healthcare and women’s rights as some of the main issues prompting her to run for congress.

When asked about her experience, which has been used against her in previous runs for NYS Assembly and Mayor of Rochester, Barnhart says now is a time when life experience, rather than political experience is coming to the forefront, citing how women across the country with no political background are running for seats to change up the game.

Accountability and transparency were brought up often in her speech, issues she has touched on before.

"I don’t believe in giving up, I believe in serving this community. Our message has been very, very consistent."

This 25th Congressional District seat was held by Louise Slaughter for decades, but Barnhart says they consciously made the decision to not focus on Slaughter in her campaign, mentioning her once in her speech.

"I revere Louise Slaughter, and her presence in this race is felt. But we made a decision not to talk about her very much. We know that voters are very aware of her legacy. The best thing that I can do is show that I’m the best person to carry on her legacy, not tell you, and that’s what I plan to do."

Barnhart joins fellow Democrats Joseph Morelle, Robin Wilt, and Adam McFadden who are also running for the Democratic nomination. The primary is scheduled for June 26.

Dr. James Maxwell, a local neurosurgeon,  is the only Republican who is on the ballot.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet said when he will call for a special election to fill the remainder of Slaughter's term which ends December 31.