Update: We’re working on a new Inbox post all about David’s interview with Aaron Woolf, but meanwhile, we’ve got more about Woolf and their conversation on Twitter @ncpr.
This morning, NCPR reporter David Sommerstein is interviewing New York 21st Congressional District Democratic candidate Aaron Woolf. Why is this a big deal?
Aaron Woolf has been something of an enigma since 21st Congressional District Democrats announced him as their choice to replace Bill Owens last month. Woolf — a documentary filmmaker, high-end food store owner, and part-time resident of Elizabethtown — is a newcomer to politics, and his nomination by district Democrats came as something of a surprise. Further confusing the matter is the fact that no one seems to know a tremendous amount about Woolf, and that he’s made himself virtually unavailable to media since district Democratic leaders announced he was their pick to run for the seat.
Woolf’s lack of communication has aroused some ire, including from National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ian Prior, who said in a statement on March 5, “It’s absolutely pathetic that Aaron Woolf has been running for Congress for weeks and still refuses to talk about the issues that are important to voters in the North Country…If this is the kind of candidate that Woolf is going to be, perhaps he should try running for a post like dog catcher before he seeks an office that requires open and honest dialogue of important issues.” (Quoted from Denton Publications)
Woolf has said the fact that he’s barely been talking to the media doesn’t mean he hasn’t been building his campaign. Last week, he told David that his relative invisibility doesn’t mean inaction: “I have been on the road through our 16,000 square mile district. I’ve been talking to people. I’ve been talking to civic leaders. I’ve been talking to people from both political parties. But mostly, I’ve been listening.”
So what do we know about Aaron Woolf, other than that he’s got two double-vowel names and apparently co-wrote a couple Phish songs? Well, his Peabody Award-winning film “King Corn,” which was critical of federal Farm Bill subsidies and industrial agriculture, certainly indicates he’s interested in agriculture; and until very recently, Woolf served on the board of the conservation group the Adirondack Council (he resigned 12 days before being endorsed for Congress.) Woolf also only very recently became a registered voter in Essex County — prior to Feb. 7 (that’s five days before the endorsement) he voted in New York county.
Woolf owns 151 acres on County Route 9 in Elizabethtown assessed at $465,000, according to Denton Publications. The holdings were legally deeded to he and Sara Woolf by Harry and Patricia Woolf (his parents) on Dec. 29, 1994.
Woolf will face a primary challenge from Macomb Town Councilmember Stephen Burke for the Democratic line. Four Republicans have said they’re in the race, including frontrunners Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny. Two Green Party candidates are also seeking the seat.
So far, Woolf is still playing it pretty close to the vest. His newly-set-up @WoolfforNY Twitter feed has two tweets, linking to his campaign’s Facebook profile and web site. No platforms yet, though.
So presumably we’ll get more info about what Woolf’s big issues will be when he speaks with David. If you were going to interview Aaron Woolf, what would you ask?