NEW YORK – In a country angry at its representatives , the enthusiasm of youth, clear thinking, and a willingness to look for common ground with the other party – especially regarding fiscal responsibility – look good on a candidate’s resume.
Steve Meyer, a recent American University graduate who spent his youth volunteering in his community, persuaded the local leadership he is the real deal.
With the endorsement of both the Democratic and Working Families parties, he’s been running hard, knocking on every door beginning in icy March and April, and hopes to be the youngest member of New York’s State Assembly at 22.
His campaign is fired by his passion for his hometown of Amherst, NY, a suburb of Buffalo.
“Its’ a great place to live…First, the people here are fantastic…they call it the city of good neighbors for a reason…it’s a very close knit community and everyone relies on each other…and within two hours you can find every kind of environment.”
“When I was growing up,” he told TNH, “my parents thought that the best way for me to become an educated person was to travel and experience life in other cultures.”
By the time he was a teenager he visited every state except Alaska and many countries – including Greece many times.
“But I learned very early how fortunate I was to live not only in the United Staten but in Western New York and Buffalo,” he said
“People who went away tell you there is something about this place that keeps you coming back.”
Traveling so much, “we weren’t as involved as we would have liked to be” with the Annunciation Church, which in downtown Buffalo was a bit too far from home, but he enjoyed the Greek festivals.
He said the region is economically stable and diverse, and is experiencing job growth although Buffalo is still struggling.
He credits the dedicated people who remained, not the politicians, for the renaissance, although he believes Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doing a god job.
His opponent is Ray Walter, who won a special election in 2011, so the roots of his incumbency are not deep, and Democrats outnumber Republicans.
Meyer is the only candidate in the state who has made a pledge to refuse contributions from corporations and special interests. He believes very strongly that “there is far too much money in politics. I think it’s putting us all at risk.”
His campaign’s top three issues are reducing the area’s huge tax burden, creating good jobs, and ethics reform – his campaign theme is honesty.
Phil, his brother, is his campaign manager and they have formed a close-knit team out of a mix of younger and older people from diverse backgrounds, including Greeks like Alex Marinedes, a young committeeman who Meyer says also has a bright future in public service.
Meyer’s father Michael is a neurologist, and his mother Fanny Effie, who was born in Athens with roots in Mani, has worked as a teacher and real estate agent.
His brother Luke is writing his first novel in Florida.
Meyer is writing his own story on the campaign trail he believes will have a happy ending on November 4.