Small business owner Golden makes bid for Representative

Ian Golden

Editor’s note: this is the fifth in a series of stories highlighting Democratic candidates for the 23rd Congressional district.

Ian Golden is running for the U.S. House of Representatives to speak for the constituents of New York’s 23rd Congressional district. Before facing incumbent Republican Tom Reed in the November general election, he will have to win the Democratic nomination in the June 26 primary.

Golden is a Democrat who has grown up in rural Pennsylvania, specifically the eastern border of Lancaster County in Amish country. Growing up in this environment, Golden has seen the value of vocational trades, farming and a hard day’s work.

He went to Ithaca College and majored in occupational therapy, so he could take care of kids on the autistic spectrum in a special education school and rehabilitation clinics. Eventually, Golden decided to start pursuing his passion for running and started numerous small businesses, including Finger Lakes Running Company, which sells running shoes and apparel, and Red Newt Racing, an event company focused on trail and mountain running.

The merging of a small business community effort with running seemed like a good fit for Golden, which is why he has insisted on keeping his businesses around to facilitate races and get people interested in healthy, cathartic lifestyles.

A lifelong athlete, Golden has worked many jobs to keep his small businesses as productive and fulfilling ventures. He became legitimately concerned with the political climate of the modern day and decided to run for representative as a result.

“I feel like the political process has been too corrupted,” Golden said.

Golden said he had become disillusioned with how dysfunctional both parties have become and wants to secure a better future for his 7- and 9-year-old daughters.

“I just committed to being the change,” Golden said.

Like other Democratic candidates in this race, Golden said he was unsatisfied with Reed who would “field questions without really fielding questions,” Golden said.

Rebuilding communities is the pillar of Golden’s platform, in which stable jobs and health care for the residents of those communities are pivotal. Pursuing a federal jobs guarantee would be one item on a list of many for economic improvement. Golden thinks it best to invest in innovative technologies, manufacturing jobs and a comprehensive broadband infrastructure.

As a former health care practitioner, Golden is aware of how difficult it can be to provide affordable health care. He supports the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which would allow government to cover necessary health costs for citizens.

“They’re not just platforms to me,” said Golden, who has first-hand experience in both the economy as a business owner and health care as an occupational therapist.

“I think health care just doesn’t work; it’s not as efficient as it could be,” Golden said.

Golden thinks about the thousands who die each year without health care and deems it a serious issue. As a firm proponent of a single-payer system, he wants to protect and fund the Affordable Care Act, medicare and medicaid before a transition can be made to an improved system.

There are also environmental concerns on Golden’s radar; he is especially interested in ending the pollution of the Allegheny River headwaters.

Working for farmers is important to Golden as well. He wants to solve problems instead of preach about them. Farming was an integral part of where Golden came from. Golden would like to set up a dairy pricing coalition to meet the recent dairy crisis farmers have faced. Golden also wants to focus on initiatives to help out smaller farmers instead of massive ones.

“I don’t think enough is being done to do something about (the crisis),” Golden said.

Golden says the loss of scores of dairy farms is unacceptable.

Pro-union, Golden wants to make the economy work for people. He wants to expand local and international markets in agriculture and deliver comprehensive immigration reform to help hard workers make a living.

As far as education is concerned, Golden is focused on the formation of universal pre-K and enhanced career and vocational training. Golden would like to strengthen Pell Grants and assist students who pursue higher education.

Golden also desires to reform campaign finance and support legislation that champions equality for American people of different races, genders and sexual orientations.

Once in Washington, Golden wants to immediately set to work figuring out solutions that will make an impact in communities. As he is in contact with many businesses that are in trouble, Golden says he intends to be a fighter and true representative.

“I understand and relate to people being long done with party politics,” Golden said. “People are screaming for change.”

Golden thinks he has the best chance at engaging younger voters and offering the best shot at bridging a fractured Democratic Party.

Inspired by contacts on the campaign trail, Golden cites Amo Houghton and Rev. William Barber as his inspirations for working across party lines and speaking to the needs of morality in politics respectively.

“I’m really trying to bring an honest alternative into the picture,” Golden said.