Chautauqua County Independent Candidacy for Congress | News

A retired Chautauqua County resident has announced his independent candidacy for Congress in the 23rd Congressional District.

Thomas Carle, 68, of Fredonia, is a longtime Democrat who recently joined the ranks of those unaffiliated with any political party.

He and his wife Sarah moved to Chautauqua County in 2017 to be near family. Carle is originally from the Bighamton area and has lived in Ohio, Minnesota and Ontario, Canada as a plant manager and human resources manager for 20 years.

“The tipping point for me was when Rep. Claudia Tenney left the districts to run in the 23rd congressional district,” Carle told the Olean Times Herald on Friday. “She’s a Trump loyalist. My wife said I should run. I had thought about running for Congress when we lived in Ohio and Trump got elected.

Carle said the Russian invasion of Ukraine, for which he holds former President Donald Trump responsible, was another tipping point for him. He still hasn’t forgotten Trump’s role in the Capitol insurrection.

Carle said that for those in the 23rd District looking for someone with traditional Republican values, “I have something to offer,” adding, “I grew up when Republican wasn’t a dirty word. I can’t sit here and watch this.

Carle said that while the lines in the congressional district can still be changed in court, it’s almost time for an independent candidate like him to start circulating nomination petitions. It needs the signatures of 3,500 qualified voters, three times the number required by a candidate running with the support of a political party.

“I was never a candidate,” Carle said. “It’s mind-boggling. I have to get an average of 150 signatures a day” without the support of a political party. The first day to pass independent petitions is April 19. He has a network of friends scattered around the district, but his real support staff (his wife’s family) is in Chautauqua County.

Carle has already put his website online:

“The Binghamton area was my old playground,” Carle said. His parents ran a bar in Conklin where he grew up. He attended Broome County Community College and later SUNY Geneseo where he majored in history and education. He got a job with General Foods after college and then moved back to the Binghamton area to run the family business and started a few other small businesses.

The former 23rd District represented by Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, comprised 11 counties. The new 23rd includes all or part of 14 counties: Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Erie, Wyoming, Steuben, Livingston, Yates, Schuyler, Chemung, Tioga, Broom, Cortland and Chenango counties.

“I know it’s a big district,” Carle said. “I am retired. I have time.

Carle and his wife, a Spanish teacher in the Chautauqua Lake School District, have three young children. He has two adult children from a previous marriage who live in North Carolina and Indiana respectively.

Chautauqua County offers a rural area much like the one he grew up in near the Pennsylvania line. He grew up fishing and swimming in the Susquehanna River.

Carle said he has managed budgets of more than $150 million a year, grown businesses and made them profitable, prioritized employee safety, led continuous improvement projects and facilities. fixed assets, self-employed for years and enjoyed “almost” every minute. He negotiated union contracts and walked picket lines to mediate a strike.

Carle said he sees himself as ‘middle of the road’ and embraces ‘the good ideas, strong platforms and principles of both big parties and is not afraid to compromise for the betterment. best result of each”.

As an independent, Carle said he can also represent everyone, “understand our needs as a district and respond to those needs, without being bound by partisan lines. That’s the way government is supposed to serve.

His short list of issues to address includes immigration reform that also allows the agricultural industry to thrive; fair and pro-economic and pro-worker tax reform; and promote voter turnout and equality.

Carle said he did not feel represented by existing candidates Tenney and Democratic Max DellaPia. Tenney doesn’t even live in the neighborhood, he said, though he refused to call her an opportunist or a porter.

“Others say she is,” he said.

Carle said he was “traditional Republican” enough for everyone, even in a Republican red district like 23.

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