Democrat with ties to Penn Yan plans to run for Congressional seat

After eight weeks of exploratory campaigning, Yates County resident Tracy Mitrano announced her intention to run for the Democratic candidacy to oppose Republican Tom Reed for the N.Y. 23rd Congressional district in the 2018 election.

Mitrano addressed Yates County Democrats at two events Saturday, Sept. 16: a formal announcement at the old Yates County Courthouse, and an evening reception hosted at Publick Coffee Bar in downtown Penn Yan.

“My concern with the political climate in the aftermath of the Trump election generally, and the cybersecurity issues that contributed to that outcome, prompted me to think about running for elected office,” says Mitrano. “I have chosen the congressional seat because of my life-long experience in this district and because my professional expertise comports with federal issues that include foreign policy, tax policy, economic development related to the internet for agriculture, small and large businesses, universal health care (including the opioid crisis), maintenance of Medicaid and Social Security as a government program, the environmental protections, balanced gun laws, immigration reform, civil rights, including for transgender and same sex relationships, and education support, both K-12 and higher ed.”

Speaking on her observations during her campaign exploration, Mitrano stated, “This district is hurting, unnecessarily, and in large part because of poor congressional leadership. At the bottom of that analysis lies a lack of compassion for the people affected by policies that neglect the needs of the middle and working classes. Enormous potential exists in the 23rd by virtue of the independent and robust spirit of its people, its vast and abundant land resources, its natural beauty, and not least the educational resources that, if properly connected with its communities from Johnson City to Dunkirk, could provide opportunities that today do not exist, but would not be too difficult to create and support for a ‘lifting of all boats’.”

Mitrano grew up in Rochester, working at her father’s restaurant downtown. “I have always loved the Finger Lakes. Growing up in Rochester, I used to beg my parents to get a cottage, but because the restaurant business is very demanding, there was never time,” recalls Mitrano. “After my parents passed, some 20 years after I already moved to this district, I bought a place in Penn Yan. To pay the taxes I still rent it out and will move here permanently after my younger son finishes college. I am still in love with the area. It has everything I care about: natural beauty, nice people, food and wine. To me, it is the Napa of the East and all the better because it is not crowded and you can still do a lot of fun things while not breaking the bank.”

Mitrano has a bachelor’s degree in English and History from the University of Rochester, a doctorate in American History from Binghamton University, and a law degree from Cornell Law School. She raised her family in Ithaca and worked as a professor and a lawyer before taking the position of director of information technology policy at Cornell in 2001. Nationally, Mitrano has worked on matters of internet policy, including government surveillance, intellectual property, privacy and security, information literacy, and management. In 2014, she created a consulting company, Mitrano & Associates. Between 2016-2017, she was the Academic Dean of a cybersecurity certificate program for the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the interim director of the Executive Master’s Program of the Park School of Communications at Ithaca College.

“Given my life and career experience and education, I believe I am the best candidate for this district,” she says, adding, “I have worked intensively with policy as a matter of formulating needs into programs that work and make sense. I am intimately familiar with issues of national scope and significance that can be brought back productively for this district. I have created a public-private partnership — a vision of the future that we might create and support in the 23rd, whether it be for training in trades or in discrete areas such as information technologies. In addition to that which I can offer from my head in terms of education and experience, this district has my heart. To date, I have devoted myself to the service of higher education. Going forward, I would like to give back to this land that nurtured me.”