During her Thursday media call, Tracy Mitrano connected the experiences of struggling farmers in New York's 23rd Congressional district with the pain reverberating across America after the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Although she is neither African-American nor a farmer, she can empathize with their pain, Mitrano said.

“I have compassion for the family of George Floyd and for the families of dairy farmers throughout this district, most especially the ones that have lost their husbands, their fathers and their sons to suicide over the economics, the social-political circumstance,” Mitrano said.

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Mitrano, the Democratic challenger for the district, which includes the Greater Olean area, was referring in part to her June 2 Tuesday Talks With Tracy which featured Schuyler County Legislator Michael Lausell and retired Senior Extension Associate at Cornell University's Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management Marc Smith. Lausell raises beef cattle, and Smith is a dairy farmer. 

During the Tuesday talk, Lausell, Smith and Mitrano discussed dairy co-ops and the harmful monopolies some create, leading to farmers to an inability to maintain quotas and sometimes, the loss of their farms. They defined co-ops as businesses run by multiple owners, typically dairy farmers themselves, who work together to sell the products created by the multiple farms under their ownership.

“What moved me when I began running for Congress, in talking to people in farm bureaus, in talking to farmers, in talking to people that have lost their farms, was the large amount of people that were struggling,” Mitrano said Thursday. 

She added that many people can relate to the pain surrounding George Floyd’s murder and the suicides of dairy farmers.

“So many different things might divide us: skin color, city, rural,” Mitrano said. “But the common value we have is that we can appreciate and understand to, at least, the common ground degree, someone else’s experience. And we can feel for them and want it to be better.”

Mitrano said she is done waiting for something to be done to help farmers, and she’s running for office to help suffering people.

“I want to address their pain in the way that politics can’t,” Mitrano said. “And I want to address the pain that we now all experience watching what happened in Minnesota last week.”

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