Voters hungry for more options at the polls are in luck, now that an independent from Milford has secured enough signatures to appear on the general election ballot this November.
Nick Troiano submitted more than 7,000 signatures to the Bureau of Elections Thursday, nearly double the amount required to challenge incumbent Tom Marino, R-Cogan Station, and Democratic opponent Scott Brion, of Liberty, for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives that represents the state's 10th congressional district.
"People like the idea of choice and competition," the 25-year-old candidate told the Sun-Gazette. "Because they want a government that works for them."
Troiano is set to become the first-ever independent congressional candidate in the 10th district, provided that his achievement is not formally challenged within the next week.
In less than four months, he put together a "robust" grassroots campaign and spoke to well over 10,000 voters in 15 counties.
He said his success in securing enough signatures reflects a starved electorate.
"That's why our campaign has the momentum and the message to win in November," he said, praising his campaign's 40-some volunteers whose ages range from 18 to 93.
Troiano said he decided to run for office in the wake of the federal government's 16-day shutdown last fall.
"It was my highest point of frustration," Troiano said, adding that he'd been tired of "politics as usual," so if he ran for office, he would only accept financial donations from individuals.
He sees his young age as an asset, not a liability.
"People perceive this campaign as a breath of fresh air at a time when we need new blood and fresh ideas," he said. "It just so happens that our current congress is literally the oldest and longest serving in history."