ITHACA, N.Y. — Linda Andrei, a latecomer to the 23rd congressional district race, got her chance to introduce herself to Tompkins County democrats Wednesday night at their monthly committee meeting and took on questions from the crowd.

Andrei, a retired medical doctor and Tompkins County resident, said her run for congress is based around on the idea of restoring the “social contract” that allowed for her own working class family to have jobs, reliable health care and the opportunity to send her to medical school.

“It’s together that we make the social contract to form the world we all want to live in,” Andrei said.

She said that the three main elements of her campaign are healthcare, the economy and the security of the nation.

Linda Andrei Provided photo

“Our healthcare system is badly broken,” Andrei said. “I’ve had patients come to me and say, ‘Doc, which of these five medications is important because I can only afford one or two? I’ve had them come late in their disease because they’re waiting to find the money to pay for their care. This is wrong. This should not happen in America…I believe we have to move to a single payer system. Get rid of the profit in health care”

While the stock market is thriving, Andrei said, recent financial successes are designed to help among the most wealthy people in the country.

“But who is this great soaring economy really helping? It’s helping the ruling class, those at the top who are now making the rules for those at the bottom,” Andrei said.

Security, she said, is a multi faceted issue. The country allows for one person, President Donald Trump, to effect a nuclear strike.

“And right now, that individual is extremely unstable,” she said. “This leads us to a very insecure situation.”

Environmental systems of energy are also necessary to gain independence and security in the country, she said.

After her opening remarks, several people asked about a range of topics including her stance on the government shutdown, how she plans to fund her campaign and how she will work to find common ground with more conservative voters in the district.

For the government shutdown, Andrei said she would have stood with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who voted against reopening the government.

The shutdown lasted nearly three days as officials tried to come to consensus about the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) program recipients.

Related: 7 questions about the government shutdown you were too embarrassed to ask

“I would have stood firm like Kirsten Gillibrand did and refuse to pit one group of children against another, that is the CHIP children against the DACA which is what they were doing,” Andrei said.

As for how she would bridge the gap between democrats and the large number of conservative voters in the district, she said she’s go back to her experience as a doctor, working with all people.

“Thirty years in medicine taught me something. All people are the same. We all want the same thing. We all want to be loved, we want to be safe, and we want to be able to reach our dreams, our potential, with in the limits of our physical and mental abilities. So when my patients saw me, they didn’t ask if I was a democrat or a republican. They just knew that I cared for them.”

Watch the video below to see Andrei’s Q&A. Video and audio by Jacob Mroczek/The Ithaca Voice. 

Learn more about Linda Andrei at her website.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.