NEW YORK STATE (WIVT/WBGH) – Republican Congressional Candidate Marc Molinaro is out meeting with voters in the new 19th District as he prepares for the general election.

Molinaro declared his candidacy last September, although the district lines and his potential opponents have changed several times since then.

Last week, Molinaro lost a special election to Democrat Pat Ryan to fill out the remainder of Antonio Delgado’s term in the current 19th district.

He chalks the defeat up to the short 6-week election cycle and his belief that many independents and Republicans stayed home believing it was only a Democratic primary.

Among his major campaign themes is addressing the harm the pandemic, and government’s response to it, did to people with mental illness, addiction, developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities.

“People talk about this because they live it,” Molinaro said. “I’ve lived it as a father of a child with a disability. I’ve lived it as the son of a mother with diagnosed depression. I know that challenge and we need somebody who is going to speak up for our friends and neighbors who deal with these real issues.”

Molinaro said he’s also running to address the high cost of living in Upstate New York, concerns over public safety and a need to improve educational outcomes.

You can watch our full interview with Molinaro below.

Starting next year, the 19th district will be extended west to include Broome, Tioga, Chenango and Tompkins Counties.

Molinaro will face Democrat and Endicott native Josh Riley in November.

We’ll hear from Riley tomorrow.