This is Part 6 of a daily series from The Ithaca Voice introducing voters to their potential next U.S. House of Representatives member. Brandon Williams is the sixth in the series of eight total. Others will be published each day throughout the week.

TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Brandon Williams wields the term “outsider” like it’s one of his strongest positive attributes — and it could be. Considering the general antipathy toward the political establishment, among both parties but particularly in the conservative electorate, Williams, a Republican, has embraced and emphasized that he is the outsider candidate in the race to represent New York’s 22nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Williams, a businessman and tech entrepreneur from Cayuga County with a military background, touts himself as a lifelong conservative who felt like he had to jump into politics because of his objections to higher political leadership.

“This is our Republic, and we’re responsible for making things better,” Williams said in an interview with The Ithaca Voice. “This country doesn’t belong to the elites or to the politicians. America is the most successful nation. We’re the most successful people in all of history, and we’re a good people. […] And I just couldn’t sit on the sideline and watch the direction that our political leadership was taking us and felt like it is my duty to stand up and try to make things better.”

Williams said he enjoys the problem solving aspects of leadership, a sensibility that he hopes to bring to Congress if he does indeed win the election, and said that he believes his knowledge of the military and business worlds would be important foundation if he gets to office.

Overall, Williams lists his primary priorities as freedom (citing COVID-19 mandates as a violation of those freedoms), reindustrializing New York, reducing government spending and fighting what he called the “woke agenda” in schools. Further, he said he thinks the first proper step to building back up in a potentially post-COVID world would be to find some way to stem ongoing economic inflation.

“I think we have to rein in inflation,” Williams said. “I think we’ve had very poor fiscal management in our government, very reckless spending that’s resulted in this out of control inflation, and we’re now left with not very good choices of how to deal with that. And it’s going to have a very negative impact on workers and on the middle class.”

Williams said that President Joe Biden has done a poor job on that topic and others, also intimating his belief that Biden isn’t mentally fit to serve, and that Biden’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan had influenced Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine.

At this point, the lines of the district that Williams is running for are unclear, as a decision potentially invalidating the lines had come down Wednesday afternoon. Before that, the lines had been presumed to lean much more heavily Democratic, but now it is unclear where they will end up. Regardless, Williams said before that ruling that he thought voters of both parties would resonate with his message of outsiders versus elites.

“As a political outsider, I think that I bring a perspective of knowing how the economy actually works or how some of these industries actually work and shining light on these political sleight of hands that is really crippling, that’s really harming the middle class,” he said in response to Biden’s decision to release domestic oil reserves but maintain other environmental regulations.

Overall, it’s clear that Williams sees himself as the true conservative in the race compared to opponent Mike Sigler, who is a Republican Tompkins County Legislator. Williams insists that his own lack of political experience will end up being a positive asset both to convince voters and if he gets into Congress.

“This election is a lot more about the political establishment versus everyone else and the elite establishment versus everyone else,” Williams said. “And I’ve operated outside of that. I’m a political outsider and been living out in the real world, and I think that’s what people really care about this cycle.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com