Ulster County Democrat Julian Schreibman is vying for his party’s nomination to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson in the newly created rural congressional district surrounding the Capital Region.
Raised in Kingston in Ulster County, he moved back to the county in 2007, after spending time serving as a lawyer for the CIA and then as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan. Schreibman now serves as a senior assistant district attorney in Ulster County and lives in Stone Ridge with his wife and three young boys.
He initially was set to run in a different congressional district, but because of redistricting Ulster County was placed in a new district, the 19th Congressional District, which includes portions of Rensselaer, Montgomery, Schoharie, Otsego, Delaware, Sullivan, Greene, Columbia and Dutchess counties. The other Democrat pursuing the party’s nomination in the district is Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner.
Schreibman said he is running for office to ensure the interests of his region are being represented at the federal level and argued that Gibson’s priorities don’t match his constituents. Citing Gibson’s record in office, Schreibman said the sitting congressman was wrong for his support of environmental exceptions for big businesses, his special tax rates for the rich, positions on Medicare and his view of female health care issues.
“I grew up in Ulster County and had the opportunity to live the American dream,” he said. “The opportunities I had, I feel, aren’t available to the next generation because of decisions made in the last 20 years in Washington.”
Because of the rural makeup of the district, Schreibman said his number one focus is on farming and agriculture. He also wants to build up industries that support this core, such as tourism and infrastructure projects.
On national issues, Schreibman said he felt the stimulus program of 2009 went toward job-creating programs, argued that the Affordable Health Care Act was a positive change to the health insurance industry and was generally positive about President Barack Obama’s tenure.
He said he is qualified to run because of his experience with the CIA and as a prosecutor, which is part of his “non-partisan public servant” background. He said a pragmatic problem-solving approach is what is required in Washington, not a dogmatic legislator.
Schreibman recently served as the chairman of the Ulster County Democratic Committee.
Schreibman believes the new district’s demographics help his candidacy. The district still has a Republican enrollment edge among active registered voters, but it is a much slimmer margin. According to numbers from the state Board of Elections in April, the district has about 130,000 Democratic voters, 141,000 Republican voters and 76,000 independent voters.
Schreibman promised to be an “unconventional politician” and travel throughout the vast district. “We’re going to be speaking to what the needs are of the communities,” he said.
His candidacy recently was endorsed by the Working Families Party and has received support from the Dutchess, Greene, Columbia and Ulster counties Democrats.
If Schreibman and Tyner both submit the necessary petitions to get on the primary ballot they will square off against each other in June.