Winning the support of his party on Thursday night, Richard Reichard addressed county committee members in South Beach to say he's ready to run against Republican incumbent Dan Donovan.
"I'm ready to take on Dan Donovan. I'm ready to discuss the issues. This is an issues-based campaign. I think the people of this Congressional District deserve that," said Richard Reichard of the upcoming election.
Although this is Reichard's first time running for elected office, he has been politically active in the past.
Reichard has served as the President of the Staten Island Democratic Association.
He's also spent 30 years as the Director of Personnel for the NYC's Finance Department.
“He's well known in all the political clubs here. He's worked on many past congressional campaigns so he's very well liked well respected very well versed in the issues,” said the Democratic Party Spokesperson Don Bosco.
Reichard says he plans to focus on middle class issues during his campaign.
Some specific issues Reichard says he'd like to address include the high cost of college tuition and debt, as well as an "unfair tax system that favors the wealthy".
“You elect me as your Congressman, I will go down there and I’ll vote to make the tax system fair, and to use the money to invest in America to create jobs and job opportunities for them and their children,” Reichard told a crowd of supporters gathered Thursday.
"The middle class workers, the students struggling to get by, we need people who can start looking after our own interests and Richard Reichard can point out how Dan Donovan hurts us with his votes in Congress,” said Democratic Party Member Joann Olbrich.
However, in a recent poll Donovan showed a high approval rating and the Republicans have historically had a strong hold on Donovan's seat except for a two-year period from 2009 to 2011.
There’s also the challenge of fundraising for the new candidate and while Democrats expect a tough battle, they're still hoping to ride on the success of their most recent win.
“They said we couldn't win the District Attorney's race, we beat them by ten points, every newspaper endorsed Mr. McMahon's opponent, we won island-wide,” said John Gulino, the Democratic Party Chairman.
As for the next step in the campaign, Reichard says he'll now hit the streets for support.
Starting Tuesday, petitioners plan to begin collecting the 1,250 signatures needed to officially put Reichard on the ballot.