Tedra Cobb announces candidacy

VanAernam, left, Aubrey VanAernam, Donna VanAernam, Rosemarie Sheperd and Tedra Cobb, right pose for a photo during the Johnstown Block Party at the Eagles Club on Aug. 3, 2018. Cobb has announced she plans to run to represent the Congressional 21st District against Elise Stefanik. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

CANTON — A Democratic St. Lawrence County consultant and former Congressional candidate, who lost last year, announced Monday she’s running again for Congress in 2020.

Tedra Cobb, 51, of Canton announced she is running again to represent New York state’s 12-county 21st Congressional District. The district includes Fulton and Hamilton counties, and terms for Congress are two years.

“Northern New York deserves a representative who will put partisan politics aside and fight to reduce the cost of health care, protect our air and water, improve our infrastructure and economy, and reduce the influence of corporations and billionaires in Washington,” Cobb stated in a news release issued by her campaign.

Democrat Cobb lost Nov. 6 to incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik by a roughly 57 to 41 percent ratio of victory. Stefanik did very well in Republican-dominant Fulton County, winning 10,616 to 5,107. That translated to a 65 to 31 percent victory over Cobb. In Hamilton County, Stefanik enjoyed a 65 to 31 percent win.

Cobb is a consultant, educator and served as a St. Lawrence County legislator from 2002 to 2010.

In her news release, she said she is ready to battle again for the seat next year. She said she plans on highlighting her record of action on health care and reform in politics.

In an interview Monday with The Leader-Herald, Cobb said the reason she is announcing so early is she wants even more of an opportunity to meet as many of the residents of the sprawling 17,400-square-mile 21st District as she can.

“I ran [in 2018] trying to meet as many people as I could,” Cobb said. “That takes time.”

She said she is running again because all the fundamental issues regarding a need for health care reform in the United States to “remain.” She said Stefanik has not addressed the issue with any meaningful federal legislation. She said the congresswoman also remains tied to wealthy donors.

“I will not take a dollar of corporate money in this campaign,” Cobb said.

Cobb said the more people she meets, the more people like and support her.

“The instinct is the same as last time,” she said.

Cobb said she has a 30-year history of service to her Northern New York “neighbors,” much of it focused on improving access to quality healthcare.

After graduating from SUNY Potsdam in 1989, she worked at Riverview Correctional Facility as a Spanish-speaking corrections counselor. She then worked for North Country AIDS Outreach, providing HIV/AIDS testing and education in rural communities.

In 1999, Cobb founded St. Lawrence Health Initiative, a nonprofit that secured state and federal dollars to provide access to “critical health screenings and treatment to thousands of people,” the release said. Before Cobb left the agency and started her own small consulting business — Tedra L. Cobb and Associates — she grew the non-profit from a $19,000 grant to an organization with a budget of $500,000 and eight permanent staff.

Cobb served two terms in the St. Lawrence County Legislature, where she worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass a strong ethics law. She was appointed to the New York State Committee on Open Government, where she worked to improve local government’s transparency and openness to constituents.

“She continues this work today as a recent appointee to a joint Town and Village of Canton committee that is developing a new ethics law and Board of Ethics,’ the release said. “As part of her platform to reduce the influence of corporations in Washington, Cobb has pledged not to accept corporate PAC contributions.”

“Congress is broken, and Northern New Yorkers are paying the price,” Cobb says. “When it comes to the issues that matter most to families in our region, we need more than talk. We need action. I’ve spent my life fighting for my neighbors in the North Country. I worked to connect them to the healthcare they needed, worked to open the first safe house in the region for domestic violence survivors, and led the fight to increase transparency and accountability in local government. In four and a half years in Congress, Rep. Stefanik has voted five times to kick tens of thousands of her own constituents off their health care, voted against the Violence Against Women Act, and voted against a bill that would have increased transparency and reformed our broken campaign finance system. Meanwhile, Rep. Stefanik’s campaigns have been bankrolled by the very industries she is supposed to protect Northern New Yorkers from.”

Concluding her formal announcement, Cobb stated: “It’s time for a change. Over the next 18 months, I will have conversations with people across this district about what they need and deserve from their next member of Congress. I hope to earn their votes.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.