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Elections
New York's 21st Congressional District includes all of Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Hamilton, Essex, Warren, Washington and Fulton counties and parts of Saratoga and Herkimer counties.0000017a-3c50-d913-abfe-bd54a8740000The incumbent is Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro). Stefanik was first elected in 2014 -- in which she made history by becoming the youngest woman in the House -- by defeating Democrat Aaron Woolf 53-32 percent.Other declared candidates in the 2016 race for the seat include Mike Derrick (D), retired Army colonel; and Matt Funiciello (G).

Retired Army colonel seeks Democratic nod for North Country congressional disctrict

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A day after Aaron Woolf announced he would not run for the North Country's 21st Congressional seat again, another Democrat stepped up to say he will. Mike Derrick is a Clinton County, New York native.

Derrick, 53, retired a year and a half ago as an Army colonel from a 28-year military career. After a brief stint working for the Department of State as an advisor on international missile defense cooperation, he moved back to his childhood home in Peru, near Plattsburgh. He is a West Point graduate, served in the Gulf War in the early 1990s, and trained troops for Iraq and Afghanistan out of Fort Carson, Colorado.

Derrick said now he wants to continue his dedication to public service. "It was suggested to me by several people that I have great respect, for that I consider running for Congress here in the place I grew up," he said.

As a political newcomer, he said it is too early for him to offer specifics on what he would do or how he would vote as a congressman. He said New York’s North Country economy needs help.

"Middle class, regular families are having a harder and harder time making it. That’s the family I come from. I would like to turn that around," Derrick said.

Derrick was originally a registered Republican but changed parties several years ago.

"My values and my approach to life are closer to where the Democrats are now."

Derrick said he reached out to the 12 Democratic county chairs in the North Country. He will need their endorsements before he can face off against first-year Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in 2016. So far, no other Democrat has officially decided to run.