Congressman Ryan, Ulster County Democrats Celebrate Victories and Look to the Future

Legislative Gazette photo by Christian Evanko

This past Tuesday Pat Ryan, D-Gardiner, held his victory party at the Best Western Plus Kingston Hotel And Conference Center in Kingston as he became the newly elected Congressman of District 18.

Ryan defeated Republican opponent, Colin Schmitt, R-New Windsor, in a very close race winning by less than 1 percent of the vote. 

Other Hudson Valley Congressional races include districts 17 and 19 which both went to the Republicans — Mike Lawler, R-Pearl River, and Marcus Molinaro, R-Red Hook, respectively. 

Despite Ryan being the only Hudson Valley Democrat to pull out a congressional victory, the energy in the room was electric as candidates and voters alike came together to celebrate — sharing food, drinks and cheering on as each representative delivered what felt like one continuous victory speech. 

Legislative Gazette photo by Christian Evanko
A large crowd in support of Pat Ryan awaiting the results of the race for Congressional District 18.

“I support all of these candidates,” said Greta Baker of Accord. “They’re highly competent, our values are aligned and they’re not crazy.” 

Early in the night, cowbells roared as Jen Metzger, D-Rosendale, announced she had won the seat of Ulster County Executive. Metzger was interrupted by a supporter during her speech who shouted “we’re fortunate to have you.” 

Metzger addressed many of the issues she plans to address as Ulster County executive, such as housing affordability, aiding those who are struggling with mental health issues and combating the growing climate crisis. 

“This is the moment where we create, together, an Ulster County that is strong, resilient, thriving, fair, equitable, and sustainable, and we’ll do it together,” said Metzger concluding her speech to thunderous applause.

Legislative Gazette photo by Christian Evanko
Jen Metzger delivers her victory speech to her supporters as she announces she is now the new Ulster County executive.

Cowbells rang once again as Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa delivered his victory speech announcing that he had won his second four-year term.

The Gazette talked with Figuerora after his speech asking him what citizens can expect from his second term as sheriff.

“What we have to do in government is really recognize economic issues that we have — to give people better lives — and I think once we do that you’ll start seeing these crime rates go down,” Figueroa said.

Legislative Gazette photo by Christian Evanko
Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figuerora delivering his victory speech after winning his second four-year term.

Ulster County Resident Emma Baker immediately headed to the Ryan event following a long day spent working the polls in the town of Rochester, Ulster County. “I want to be around other Democrats — people who are just as excited about the candidates and the issues that I care about,” said Baker. 

Among the many victors of the night Michelle Hinchey, D-Saugerties, announced her victory over opponent Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, for the newly drawn 41st State Senate District. 

The Gazette asked Senator Hinchey what her message to voters is now that she has been re-elected to serve another term.

“I am incredibly excited and humbled to have another opportunity to really work for the Hudson Valley and do more for my community. To be able to continue to push forward so many of the the things that we’re working on — clean water access, expanded healthcare services, ending estimated billing by Central Hudson — lots to work on,” Hinchey said.

Legislative Gazette photo by Christian Evanko
Senator Hinchey delivered her victory speech as the first representative for the newly drawn 41st State Senate District.

Ryan spoke late into the evening closing out the night by delivering his victory speech in a hard fought and tight race

“I think the margin is going to end up being just about two to three thousand votes again, and that is quite literally the people in this room making a few phone calls, knocking on a few doors, giving a shit, really caring, putting your heart and soul into this,” said Ryan, thanking his faithful during his victory speech.

“You all renew, and increase, my hope and my optimism.”

Ryan will be sworn into Congress January, 3rd, 2023. 

Watch Ryan’s victory speech here.