Boston College graduate Matt Putorti is running to replace Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking House Republican, as New York’s 21st Congressional District representative, Putorti announced last month.
“I’m running for Congress because I want to serve and I want to work to improve the lives of people in the North Country,” Putorti, a Democrat from Whitehall, N.Y. and BC ’06, said.
He said he wants to help the citizens of the state’s North Country by ensuring access to health care, stable employment opportunities, and good education for their children.
Growing up in New York’s 21st District, Putorti said, has also given him unique knowledge that will help him in Congress.
“I know the values of the people in the district, values that have inspired some of this run as well: service, community, empathy,” Putorti said. “And I respect those values, and I want to see those values lived out in Congress.”
These values were reinforced for Putorti during his time at BC, he said, where his experiences on service trips and learning the value of being a person for others ultimately helped him make the decision to run for Congress.
“At BC some of the questions that you’re asked to grapple with are, ‘What are you good at?’ What does the world need you to do?’ and ‘What brings you joy?’” Putorti said. “And as I was discerning this process of running for Congress, those questions kept on playing in my head.”
Because of the values of community and service in his hometown—which he refers to as a “spaghetti dinner town,” named after the many community fundraisers—and strengthening them during his time at BC, Putorti said he found the answer to the many questions posed to him ahead of his campaign.
Putorti finished his time as co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Alumni Council at BC at the end of June, where he has worked to build a strong network of alumni who “advance progress” for the LGBTQ+ community. This work has been pivotal in the formation of his campaign, he said.
“I think the work on the council and the work that I’ve done in my life fighting for LGBT equality really plays into these values of making sure that we’re looking out for everybody,” Putorti said.
Putorti is also an attorney who, in both private practice and pro bono work, has worked on issues of rights of policyholders against insurance companies, LGBT equality, immigration, and gun violence. All of this work, Putorti said, informed his desire to fight for people and strengthened his ability to do so.
“As a lawyer, the skills that I’ve developed and honed I think will make me a good legislator,” he said. “Skills like advocacy, having fidelity to the facts, and knowing that sometimes you need to fight, and sometimes you need to negotiate.”
Putorti also said that being gay and learning from other members of the LGBTQ+ community has made him a better leader.
“I think it makes you a bit more empathetic and helps you understand other positions better, and perhaps gives you a little bit more fight, too,” he said.
Overall, Putorti said he is grateful for all of the experiences that have prepared him for his campaign.
“I say all of this with great gratitude for the experiences that I’ve had in life, including those at Boston College, that have prepared me to take this next adventure that I’m going to do with everything that I have,” Putorti said.
Now, Putorti is eager for this next adventure of running for Congress and hopes his message will resonate not only with people in his district but also across the United States.
“I’m really excited for this run,” Putorti said. “I’m not daunted by it. I think it has real purpose. It’s very important. I’m very passionate about it, and I think that our message—the message of connecting people back to these values of community, service, and empathy—will resonate with people in New York’s 21st District and hopefully across the country as well.”
Featured Image Courtesy of Putorti for Congress Press