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Surrounded by friends and family, Morelle announces Congressional run

On Monday morning, New York State Assemblyman Joe Morelle stood in front of a podium and declared his candidacy for the 25th district Congressional seat. (WHAM photo)

(WHAM) - On Monday morning, New York State Assemblyman Joe Morelle stood in front of a podium and declared his candidacy for the 25th district Congressional seat.

The announcement was made at the Local 13 Plumbers and Pipefitters Meeting Hall on Mt. Read Blvd. in Greece.

Several people of note were in the room with Morelle, including Louise Slaughter's daughter Robin Minerva and son-in-law Michael Minerva, and Mayor Lovely Warren. Warren and Morelle have historically not seen eye to eye politically, but Warren said Monday at the podium that they are putting those differences aside.

In addition to Warren, Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello (D) and New York State Assemblyman Harry Bronson (D, NY-138) endorsed Morelle for the Congressional seat.

Morelle said he considered Slaughter a mentor. In fact, he said Monday, she was the first one to encourage him to run for office. He says he wants to carry on her legacy.

"She tought me an awful lot about public service and I hope to continue that legacy and I'm going to work to make her family proud," said Morelle.

"My mom never wanted to give up that seat. She could never imagine anyone else in her Congressional seat, but if anybody has to do it I'm sure she would love it if it was Joe," said Slaughter's daughter, Robin.

Morelle is one of several people to make a decision in the last few days about running for the seat left vacant by Slaughter's death earlier this month.

Among those running for the Democratic primary ticket is Brighton Town Councilmember Robin Wilt, who confirmed her candidacy Monday morning.

Former mayoral candidate Rachel Barnhart is collecting signatures in an attempt to be on the ballot. Rochester City School District Board of Education president Van White says he is also considering a run, but will not know until the signatures are collected. The deadline for signatures is April 12.

Dr. Jim Maxwell declared his candidacy for the Republican ticket back in January. Maxwell graduated from McQuaid Jesuit High School and has been practicing neurosurgery in Rochester since 1982. He has been the chief of neurosurgery at Rochester General Hospital since 1998.


"The passion and rational that I have for all the years of being a neurosurgeon, of trying to help people - listening and helping is the same thing I'm gonna do when I get into Congress," Maxwell said in an interview with 13WHAM News Monday. "Listen and help, so for me it's seamless. For others it may seem odd to jump from neurosurgery to Congress. But to me, it's the same thing."

If elected, Maxwell said he would like to fix healthcare. He also said caring for patients for more than 20 years will bring a fresh perspective for the opioid crisis.

There were a small number of names who were being bandied about in the conversation about who could replace Slaughter who have since taken themselves out of the running. Those people who are not running for the office include Dr. Cedric Alexander and New York State Senator Joe Robach.

Alexander issued a statement Monday morning, saying "I do not believe it is the right time for me to run. While I believe my unique experience and background would serve our community well in Washington, I am very committed to helping Mayor Warren deliver her agenda for this great city and I believe my work as Deputy Mayor is not finished."

Governor Cuomo has yet to announce if there will be a special election before November.

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