Mike Oot said he can no longer sit by and watch the erosion of democratic principles. Oot, 58, of Munnsville in the town of Stockbridge, is planning to face Rep. John McHugh (R -- Pierrepont Manor) for the 23rd U.S. Congressional District seat in November.
"I am running primarily because I am fed up," Oot said.
He worries about the legacy the current administration is leaving for his children.
"The debate on torture?" Oot asked. "It is unimaginable in the America that I know that this would merit debate. I could sit on the sidelines and try to cocoon my family or step into the fray. I'm not very good on the sidelines, so I decided to step into the fray."
Oot said the 23rd District is comprised largely of low-wealth, economically distressed areas.
"And the people of this district don't have a voice in the process," Oot said. "I think I can honestly say there isn't anybody in the 23rd District who can say their lives are better than they were in 1992 -- unless they are one of the top 5 percent of wage-earners in the nation."
Bringing the economic issues closer to home, Oot said he was president of the Stockbridge Valley Central School District when the Oneida Indian Nation revoked its Silver Covenant to the school.
"I went to John McHugh and found him largely unresponsive," Oot said, explaining that McHugh said because of two Native American senators, he was powerless to do anything for the school.
"When the land-into-trust application was made, I asked McHugh reminded him of his visit and asked for impact aid," Oot said. "I explained that we were looking at a 25 percent increase in property taxes to make up for the loss, but I never got any kind of reply."