“My name is Chad Putman and I am running to be the next senator from the 49th District. Are you with me?" Putman asked his supporters.
Democrat Chad Putman marked the beginning of his journey across the sprawling district Tuesday morning at Woodlawn Park in Schenectady. The pocket park, which Putman helped revitalize with his husband Spero Zoulas, is just around the corner from their home.
For his “Walk the Walk” campaign, Putman will bike and walk from the Electric City to Long Lake, a small community in rural Hamilton County.
The 120-mile journey is Putman’s way of calling attention to what he says is a need for campaign finance reform. Putman said there’s no room for big money in politics.
“We really need to do better with engaging voters and connecting with them and collecting donations and individuals rather than going out and soliciting with corporations and LLC’s and all of that because it just clouds the whole process, and I really want to lead by example on that.”
Putman said his campaign has raised more than $9,000 in individual donations since kicking off in March. His campaign has set a goal of raising $100,000.
The 49th District, which includes portions of Schenectady, Saratoga, Fulton, Herkimer, and Hamilton Counties, was represented by retiring Republican Senator Hugh Farley for four decades.
Putman says he wants to personally connect with voters in the portions of the district that have different needs and economies than the Capital Region.
“And then as you head west over to Johnstown and Gloversville, folks are struggling over there. There’s been a lot of loss of economic opportunity there and they’ve been actually looking at restructuring the school district there because they’ve had a loss of population.”
Putman is referring to the Gloversville Enlarged School District, which is considering reconfiguring its school buildings for the 2017-2018 school year.
“There’s a lot of exciting things happening at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, but again, they need people to come in and get trainined in these programs that they’re offering. And then as you had into the Central Adirondacks and Long Lake, they really rely on tourism up there and this last year was really rough for them.”
Putman has a master’s in social work and 10 years direct practice experience. He’s currently working as Deputy Clerk for the City of Schenectady. He believes his background is well-suited for government.
“And then also having a front row seat to government and how government works provides me with a unique perspective and experience to be able to come into this race for the New York State Senate.”
Putman faces a slate of three potential Republican opponents; Nancy Nugent a Northville attorney; Christian Klueg, a real estate appraiser, also of Northville; and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, who has served in Albany since 1983.
Putman says he hopes his walk will help inspire others to get involved in local politics and vote this November.