PLATTSBURGH — Saying he will be out in public fighting for the district, Democrat Stephen Burke of St. Lawrence County has joined the fray for the 21st Congressional District seat.
"I won't be a stealth candidate hiding behind some tree," Burke told the Press-Republican on Monday.
"You've got to be out there getting involved and be there ready for a fight."
Burke was referring to Aaron Woolf, who received the endorsement from the Democratic Party in the 12-county district last month. But Woolf's public sightings have been scant, and he had not made himself available to the media.
There is also speculation that Woolf, 49, lives in Brooklyn and stays at a home he owns in Elizabethtown in Essex County only in the summer.
His campaign has been sharply criticized by media throughout the district.
Burke said he decided to run because the district's issues are serious and Woolf's candidacy is not.
"We're in trouble in this district and this country. We are losing retail and manufacturing jobs, and we need somebody with new ideas to go to Congress, not somebody who is going to hide," Burke, 67, said.
"We need to take care of our own and not worry so much about the rest of the world."
Burke lives in the Town of Macomb in St. Lawrence County and is on the Town Council there. He served as the county party chair in the 1990s and again in early 2000s.
He moved to the county from New York City 32 years ago. He and his wife, Yelena, raise cattle on a 400-acre farm and own a small insurance business.
"I'm the only elected candidate in the race who has any previous government experience," he said.