"Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my privilege to announce our next Congresswoman, Maggie Brooks,” said Bill Reilich to a room full of applause.
The worst kept secret in Monroe County, in her words, as Maggie Brooks told Republican supporters she wants to take her talents to Washington.
"You know, the problems we're experiencing here have that connection to the policies in Washington, so I think I can be an effective spokesperson for those issues,” said Brooks, (R).
Last fall, Brooks won re-election to a third term as Monroe County Executive. Her reign has been marked, she says, by balanced budgets and property tax stability. While most of the rest of the state has lost jobs, Brooks said Monroe County has added them by the thousands.
"Taxes are too high. We are spending too much, borrowing too much, regulating too much, and creating a government that is threatening the viability of our future. Our country can learn a lot from our county,” said Brooks.
"She is a collaborator. She is a person who can sit down and get people from both sides of the aisle to sit down and do what's right, and I think that's a special ingredient, and Congress really needs it these days," said Tom Reynolds, the former Republican congressman.
In challenging Louise Slaughter, Brooks takes on a powerful Democrat first elected to Congress in 1986.
Monday, Brooks sidestepped questions about Slaughter's performance.
"I'm not running against someone or something. I'm running for something, and that is to have a voice,” Brooks said.
A spokesperson for Congresswoman Slaughter says the representative was in Washington DC on Monday. She has said several times recently she will run for another term, a fact backed up in a statement released by her office.
Statement from Rep. Louise Slaughter, (D)
"Our fight is not yet over to end insider trading in Congress and demand more accountability in our political system, to make our food supply safe for American families, and fix the trade policies that have left our local manufacturers competing on an unlevel playing field. As I’ve stated publicly many times, I am again asking for the support of my friends and neighbors to continue being your representative in Congress."
When asked specifically about Brooks at an event in Rochester last week, Slaughter responded.
"You know I've told y'all the same thing every two years. Whoever my opponent is, I'm sure they'll be a worthy opponent. I'm running, I look forward to the match and I'll put my head down and do the best I can,” Slaughter said.
The election could be expensive. Brooks figures she'll need to raise at least $2 million, all while continuing to do her current job as county executive, which Brooks has no intention of leaving just yet.
Rochester: Maggie Brooks Announces Run For Congress
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"She's got a very good chance. I hope she gets it,” said Rick Parrotta.
Parrotta is from East Rochester. He says he's a Maggie supporter and is happy she now wants to go to Washington.
"She works hard. I think it's time for something new and fresh,” Parotta said.
When asked about Louise Slaughter, Parrotta said “She did a good job for a little while there. She's gotten a little too comfortable. I think she's had enough.”
"If she wanted to run for Congress, if that was even in her head, I think she shouldn't have run for the county position she was elected to,” said Donna Lampen-Smith.
Lampen-Smith, who we talked to in Pittsford, says she's disappointed the person she voted for in November may not be there to finish her term. She says she's happy with what's Louise Slaughter's done in Congress and wants to keep her there.
"A lot of times people get into Washington and get part of the whole bureaucracy down there and get caught up into that, but I don't feel Louise has been like that. I think she really remembers her roots and she does a lot to work for Upstate New York,” said Lampen-Smith.
"I have mixed feelings about Maggie Brooks. Economically I agree with her on many things, but on social issues I have a lot of disagreements with her,” said Dan Bresnan.
Bresnan is from Rochester, and says he has his reservations about Brooks and Slaughter.
"I think it's time for a change. She's done a lot of good for this area, but I'm always open for change. We have too much incumbency, generally speaking, in New York State."
Dan says he's happy the new congressional district lines have been drawn which could give Monroe County a single voice. Like many voters, he needs time to decide whose voice that will be.
"I want to hear from the candidates. I want to speak to them one-on-one, but I would give each one an equal opportunity,” Bresnan said.