Hurley Resident Diane Neal Announces Candidacy for Congressional District New York 19
Diane at Sky Dive the Ranch in Gardiner, NY 2011.
(February 6, 2017) Hurley, NY – Full-time Hurley resident Diane Neal has officially filed the federal paperwork as a candidate in the 2018 Congressional race to represent New York’s 19th District. Ms. Neal has registered with “No Party Affiliation.” She will test her inclusive message of Empathy, Reason & Action against Republican incumbent John Faso and the Democratic nominee.
NY19 includes all of Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties, and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery, and Rensselaer counties. Ms. Neal believes that, like her, many of her friends, neighbors and fellow residents of the Hudson Valley are looking for an inclusive path to participation in civic life. An approach where all residents work together, combining their unique experiences, skills and perspectives will make NY19 a home that meets their current needs and prepares them for goals and challenges to come.
Neal made a conscious choice to run with no party affiliation so she can truly serve as a representative for the people of New York 19, and not be a servant to the agendas of special interest groups, party bosses or outside organizations. She believes that residents can make a collective choice to abandon the divisive rhetoric and tribalism that make for great, showy politics, but result in terrible governance:
“People don’t want to participate in civic life because they recoil from the increasing nastiness that pits us against each other and benefits no one. Even when citizens do take a risk and get involved they feel like their voices, their votes, don’t matter. ‘Only the rich, the powerful or the corrupt get a say, so why bother?’ I completely understand how they feel. Anyone who has had Thanksgiving dinner with family members of different parties knows how they feel.
However, our democratic republic requires citizen participation to function. And right now, with the growing chasm between ‘Rs’ and ‘Ds’, the massive influx of dark money into politics since Citizens United and the pervasive, pernicious click-bait posing as legitimate information, the only tools we have are our votes and our common purpose.
In NY19 we have an opportunity to come together strengthened, not divided, by our differences. I have faith in our ability to be an example to the rest of the nation, and show what can be accomplished when we choose empathy – being able to put yourself in another’s shoes, and reason – using logic and judgment to think, as the basis for our self-governance.
The truth is, most of us have beliefs on some issues that are liberal, ideas about other things that are quite conservative, but most of us as complete people fall somewhere in between. We are the unrepresented, passionate, moderates.”
Most people know Ms. Neal for her long-time roles on television series, first as ADA Casey Novak on Law and Order: SVU, from 2001-2012, and then as CGIS Special Agent in Charge Abigail Borin on both NCIS and NCIS: NOLA from 2009-2015. In addition, Diane has also held recurring and guest starring roles on Power, SUITS, 30 Rock, Blue Bloods, A Gifted Man and numerous other TV shows, movies and plays.
In 2009, in her early 30s, Ms. Neal began undergraduate studies at Harvard and will graduate with her first degree this May. She currently serves on the board of Urban Arts Partnership, Waterkeeper Alliance, Young Leaders of the RFK Center for Human Rights. Diane also actively supports The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Thirst Project, Joyful Heart Foundation, Middle Way House, and others.
Several years ago, while in Los Angeles for work, Diane was hit by an uninsured driver and suffered spinal injuries. Reliant on no one but herself, with many people financially dependent on her, she hid the pain and kept working as long as she could until it became impossible to ignore. Advised to limit activity (which is not in her nature) and to immediately enlist specialists’ help to begin recovery, she sold her city place and moved full-time to Hurley, NY with her three dogs. “I’m lucky because I could sell my things so I could recover. Most people aren’t that lucky. But now, after more than twenty years of working nonstop, I will lose my health insurance in months, because it is based on work, work I can’t do because of someone else’s negligence. Is there anyone in Congress now who knows that stress? I doubt it. But a lot of Americans know that anxiety – and that is not freedom.”
A Colorado native who lived in NYC and its metro area for twenty-two years, Diane has been fly fishing the Esopus with hand-tied flies and hiking the best Catskill trails for decades, before making her home in Hurley. She chose to live in District 19 for no other reason than her love for the area, which also drove her decision to run for Congress.
To volunteer, donate or learn more about Diane Neal for Congress, please visit www.dianenealforcongress.com