SCHENECTADY — A Schenectady-based real estate agent and author has announced she will challenge U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, in 2020 for his seat in Congress. To topple Tonko, Joy most likely would first need to secure the Republican nomination.
Schenectady resident Liz Joy, a Republican, announced her campaign on Facebook Monday.
“I am running for New York's 20th Congressional District, 2020!” wrote Joy. “Our nation and state is worth fighting for! Now is the time to stand up for our state and put integrity back into the House of Representatives 20th Congressional Seat. This seat belongs to ‘We the People’ and not a socialist agenda.”
Joy indicated on Monday afternoon a more formal announcement is forthcoming.
Joy, a Glens Falls native, was named president of the Republican Women of Schenectady County in January 2018 and currently works as a Realtor at Caldwell Banker.
Her campaign website indicates the candidate has staked out a conservative stance on several issues, including border security, reproductive rights and access to health care.
“The 2020 elections are literally going to be a showdown between voting for life and freedom or voting for death and socialism,” Joy wrote.
The candidate also criticized New York state’s high tax burden, framing her campaign as a choice between “voting life to our small businesses and the ability to flourish, or voting death by more taxes and regulation, just like New York’s tyrannical budget pushed through and dominated by a Democratic controlled Legislature.”
Joy said she began to “fully appreciate the magnitude of freedoms” in the U.S. while her husband, Rob, served as a physician in the U.S. military and the couple moved between military bases.
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks served as a further catalyst for her activism, according to her website.
“Since that time I’ve actively spoken and written about the importance of fighting for our constitutional freedoms and amendments,” Joy said. “I’ve also worked on campaigns and done whatever I could to help strong candidates get into public office.”
She and her husband have four adult children.
The candidate’s announcement on Facebook included a link to donate on her website. Joy’s campaign has filed with the Federal Election Commission, but has not yet reported any fundraising totals.
Schenectady County Republican Chairman Chris Koetzle said he has spoken with Joy about her campaign, who has been the first candidate to seek their endorsement, but said the committee is focused on 2019 races.
“It’s a little early for a formal endorsement for a 2020 race at this point,” Koetzle said. “Joy enjoys a lot of support among committee members and we’re excited about her campaign. Liz has a passion and she’s got a lot of support.”
Tonko secured a sixth term in November, defeating Republican Joe Vittolo 63.4 percent to 33.6 percent.
"I look forward to a spirited campaign next fall that focuses on the issues hardworking Capital Region families face: health care, climate change, clean drinking water, mental health, reducing prescription costs, getting big money out of politics and more," Tonko said in a news release. "These are the issues I've championed and will continue to work on every single day."
He continued: "Voters spoke in resounding fashion last year to reject the politics of hate and division that seem to dominate the White House still today. I am hopeful that any candidate for Congress in New York and across the nation will echo that call and put forward real solutions to improve the lives of those we serve.
"In the meantime, I will continue in the spirit of service and community to get our government back to work for the people."
New York’s 20th Congressional District represents all of Albany and Schenectady counties and parts of Saratoga, Rensselaer and Montgomery counties.