Will Yandik, of Livingston in Columbia County, is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for Congressman Gibson’s seat. Yandik is a fourth generation farmer, member of the Livingston Town Board and one of the leaders of the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition that is fighting the power lines expansion.
Although Yandik has not formally “declared” he has filed papers with the Board of Elections and has begun campaigning. Fund-raisers have been scheduled, but he has not built his website yet.
He leapt into the limelight at a meeting on the power lines at the Livingston Garage attended by politicians, hundreds of concerned citizens and the press where he made an impressive presentation of the issues and arguments against the power lines. In a heavily Republican town he garnered more votes than any other candidate in his last election for town board.
Yandik graduated from Hudson High School, won a scholarship to Princeton, majored in English and journalism, and went on to Wisconsin where he earned a B.S. in biology, then Brown where he earned a M.A. in environmental studies during which he also did free lancing for the Environmental Defense Fund, Hubbard Brook and AARP. He has worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
Green Acres Farm, his family farm in Livingston, is run on the principles of sustainable agriculture.
Zephyr Teachout, the Fordham law professor who ran a primary race against Andrew Cuomo in 2014 won two counties in the 19th Congressional District - Sullivan and Ulster – is still weighing a decision on running. She and Yandik and two other possible candidates – Margo Miller and Julian Schreibman – met with Democratic party leaders in Hudson last week. According to press reports, the party leaders favored Teachout. Teachout is reported to have an apartment in Dover from which she commutes to her job at Fordham.
The 19th Congressional District includes all or part of 11 counties, but no cities of any size. It includes the Town of Poughkeepsie, but not the city.