Saranac Lake’s Ratigan returns to MSNBC

Dylan Ratigan, a Saranac Lake native and Lake Placid resident, talks to Enterprise staff about his choice to run for Congress Feb. 20 at the Enterprise office. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

Democratic congressional candidate Dylan Ratigan appeared on MSNBC’s “The Beat” with Ari Melber Monday evening to talk about his bid for office, explain his view of the country’s flaws on a national stage and discuss the practical use of anger.

Returning to the cable news channel where he worked as a bombastic commentator before he quit in 2012, the Saranac Lake native and Lake Placid resident was a calmer presence this time around but explained why he was known as “Cable TV’s Angriest Anchorman.”

“Everybody learns to harness the anger,” Ratigan said. “When you have the intimacy of the knowledge of how corrupt our political system is – excuse me, how broken it is – when you see the suffering, the real-life consequences that people suffer as a result of the un-serious and reckless nature of our government, it can create anger. The reality is, you have to learn how to channel that anger into productive solutions.”

Right off the bat, he clarified that he is running against “an extremely impressive field” of Democrats for the opportunity to run against Stefanik, referencing the seven other Democratic candidates running for NY21.

He revealed that the GOP tax bill last year was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” in prompting him to run for office, saying that it was not “serious” legislation. Ratigan said he is running to confront the biggest symptom of politicians not working for American people: a lack of jobs.

He said New York’s 21st Congressional District historically faces twice the national average unemployment rate, a statement he made in his pre-campaign interview with the Enterprise. Currently, however, it’s more like one-and-a-half times. The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in January, according to federal data, whereas the NY21 counties’ rates ranged from 4 to 7 percent, according to the state Labor Department.

Ratigan’s key objectives are to protect workers with labor unions, to have the federal government invest in rural districts such as NY21 and to create jobs.

He also said he wants to reform the primary process, making primaries open and ending gerrymandering. While he said the 21st District is gerrymandered, it has actually been un-gerrymandered. The district reorganization in 2012, which took effect in 2013, was set by a panel of federal judges and approved by the state Legislature to get rid of a gerrymandered system for congressional districts, although not necessarily for state legislative districts. (Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said New York’s congressional redistricting took place in 2010. It also simply said it “was an effort by the state Legislature,” which left out the federal judges’ role.)

Ratigan was questioned why voters should chose him over incumbent Rep. Elise Stefanik, who has voted against President Donald Trump on the tax bill, Russian sanctions and repealing waste reduction rules.

“How many jobs has she created?” Ratigan asked.

Speaking more critically of the congresswoman than he has in the past, Ratigan said Stefanik’s number-one problem is that she is a career politician who is a part of the “system” and doesn’t confront its corruption.