Collins to face challenge from political newcomer

Jul 7, 2017

A political newcomer plans to challenge incumbent Republican Congressman Chris Collins in the 2018 election.

Frank Smierciak II, a 26-year-old Lancaster resident has much in common with Collins, including support for President Trump.

Frank C Smierciak II

“This will not be easy. I don’t expect it to be,” Smierciak said of the upcoming race in New York's 27thCongressional District. “But I want to earn every vote and every donation I get. I need to earn that. I need to prove myself to the people that I’m worthy of their support. I’m also young and I look very young, so I anticipate that being a sticking point for a couple people.”

Smierciak holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University at Buffalo, where he was a senator in the Graduate Student Association.

Smierciak has spoken out against the SAFE Act in the past and plans to make gun rights a main focus of his platform.   

“I’d like to see our second amendment rights restored, especially in New York state because in this state our rights have been infringed a lot more than they have in other states,” Smierciak said.

He currently works in medical payment administration at Optum, which is part of United Health Group. Healthcare reform is another issue Smierciak identified as a priority. He supports a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, saying it will be a  means of getting the cost of healthcare “under control.” The newcomer also wants to see a solid future for the continuation of Social Security.

Smierciak is hopeful that grassroots funding will sustain his campaign against Collins’ substantial political war chest.

“No secret about it, Collins has the ability to fundraise very well,” Smierciak said. “And I’m going to rely on grassroots, but I think that’s a better avenue to follow because it makes you earn every dollar that you get and it shows you that you definitely have the support of your constituents.”