Congressman Anthony Brindisi visited Hamilton for a meet-and-greet on Friday, September 13 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Congressman Brindisi spoke with Colgate students and faculty as well as a variety of Hamilton locals regarding his political values and goals for the future. The event was hosted by Catherine Cardelús, Eddie Watkins and Bob and Sue McVaugh at the McVaugh household.
Brindisi serves as the Democratic U.S. Representative of New York’s 22nd Congressional District. He beat Republican incumbent and Colgate alumna Claudia Tenney in the November 2018 midterm elections.
Brindisi’s district extends from the eastern side of Lake Ontario, through Central New York, all the way to Pennsylvania. Larger cities under Brindisi’s jurisdiction include Utica, Binghamton and Rome, New York. Before his role as the 22nd Congressional District Representative, Brindisi served as the New York State Assemblyman for the Utica-based 119th district, from 2011to 2018.
Bob McVaugh, a longtime resident of Hamilton and Colgate professor, said he feels the Hamilton community benefits greatly from events such as Brindisi’s visit to Hamilton.
“We’re very aware of how important it is for representatives to know Hamilton. It’s wonderful for people to hear Congressman Brindisi and get to talk with him, and he can try to persuade folks for support. What’s also terribly important is that he has a huge district, and Hamilton is only a small part of it, so the more we can get candidates here — meeting people, hearing people, getting to know the community — the more benefit Hamilton’s community will see,” McVaugh said.
McVaugh has been a professor in Colgate’s Art and Art History Department for almost 40 years. He also served as the Mayor of Hamilton for two years and acted as the Planning Board Chair of Hamilton for two decades. His wife, Sue McVaugh, was involved in Hamilton’s town government for 16 years, six of which she worked as the town’s mayor.
McVaugh said he was extremely pleased with Friday’s event.
“I thought this was a wonderful turnout, I know there are a lot of people besides just Democrats here. We also insisted that no one had to formally pay to get into the event. People had the opportunity to pay if they wanted to, but the important thing for us that everyone was encouraged to come. Everybody needs to be heard, everyone needs to talk and everyone needs to listen. I’m delighted,” McVaugh said.
Catherine Cardelús is an associate professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Colgate. Eddie Watkins is an associate professor of Biology at Colgate as well. Both Cardelús and Watkins were pleased by the event and the impact it could have going forward.
“Bringing more people into engagement with politics is really important, so if we could lend a hand in any way we’re willing to do it. The other thing that was very appealing about tonight is that it was not a fundraiser, [but] rather an opportunity to meet Congressman Brindisi and ask him questions about how he stands. Given the partisan nature of our last election it’s important to have events like these,” Cardelús said.
Watkins echoed this point and said he was impressed by the event as well.
“When it comes to issues like climate change and health care, people on both sides of the aisle have a lot to say and a lot they want changed, so to have the opportunity to talk with Brindisi and see where his thoughts lie on issues like these is a valuable opportunity. I’ve been to events like this one before and I usually only see about a quarter of the amount of people, so it shows that people are truly energized. I recognize a lot of my friends and colleagues here, and I think it’s good that we can all come together,” Watkins said.