3 days. 525 miles. 7 towns.

The Rhodes Trip heads to Sidney. Walton. Durham. Cooks Falls. Hamden. North East. Ellenville.

We’re running a different kind of campaign. One focused on people, not polls. Community, not consultants. And that’s why I’m traveling to all 163 towns in NY-19 in my 1999 Ford Winnebago.

Our mobile office heading to all 163 towns

At breakfast in Sidney, over coffee and eggs a neighbor told me about our “spaghetti dinner” health care system — he goes to a different church or rotary club dinner most nights to help raise funds for someone’s health care expenses.

In Walton, at Feather and Stone, I heard how the fire department has half the number of volunteers it did a decade ago. But folks also shared stories of hope and ideas to get things back on track — neighbors trying to keep young families here by supporting new niche farming with specialty crops, increasing access to markets, and improving overnight accommodations to support the growing tourism economy.

In Durham, along the jaw-dropping beauty of the Susquehanna Turnpike, a community college professor told me about the new job training projects her school could get off the ground with more federal support. And with no cell phone services for miles, access was high on everyone’s mind.
 
In Cooks Falls, I was asked what project I’d support when elected to Congress. Delaware county is the largest county in NY-19, the 8th largest county in New York, yet there’s no public transportation system. I believe in Medicare for All, but what good is health insurance if you can’t get to the doctor? I promised I would work to bring funding for an efficient public transportation system to Delaware County, and improve public transportation options in Sullivan County.

Lunch at Feather and Stone in Walton, NY

In Hamden (population 1,300) I spoke with a local farmer who uses his firearm as a tool for livestock and protection, but was grateful that our campaign supported an assault weapons ban. A neighbor told me that when he sustained a terrible injury on a band saw, the nurse at the local hospital had to use Skype to connect to a doctor because one wasn’t available near him. One of their neighbor’s children got in an ATV accident and died because it took too long to get to a hospital. A mother described driving hours to give birth, because Delaware County doesn’t have a single maternity ward.
 
In North East, I discussed why I believe we have to listen to folks in all 163 towns. And a lifelong Republican approached me after and said “you’re a Democrat that I’d be happy to vote for because you understand the needs of our community and unlike Rep. Faso, you make the time to come and listen.”

Lucky Dog Farm Store, Hamden, NY

In Ellenville, at an event sponsored by the NAACP, we talked about about racial disparities in our criminal justice system. Doing away with the multi-billion dollar bail bond industry, ending mandatory minimum sentences, banning private prisons, returning our corrections system to focus on rehabilitation, reforming our outdated drug laws including legalization of marijuana, and treating drug addiction as a health rather than criminal issue. 
 
I’m on the road again this morning in Otsego County for #EqualPayDay. And I’ll keep sharing these stories from the road because these are the folks I’m fighting for. 
 
Thanks for following along,
Gareth Rhodes

Twitter: @garethtrhodes | Facebook: @RhodesforCongress