ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – A Libertarian candidate is joining the race for Mayor in Elmira. Grace Merrell, who also goes by Grace Galactica, is gathering the signatures she needs to appear on the November ballot. She will be running against republican incumbent Dan Mandell and democratic mayoral candidate Jim Hassel.

“I’m running for mayor because I want to represent the people.” said Merrell. “There’s not any new jobs. There’s not any new houses being built. People are leaving. I want people not only to come here, but thrive here.”

Merrell says she has been involved with the Libertarian Party for about five years. She says she recently moved to Elmira and is ready to lead the city in a new direction.

“My passion is definitely the Libertarian Party and what it represents. It’s not just a political party. It definitely is a culture. It’s a way of being, it’s a way of living your life. It involves self-governance. It involves letting people live how they want to live, you know, not policing your neighbors because they smoke weed, or they voted for somebody different than you. It’s the party of the individual.”

In a press release announcing her candidacy, Merrell says she wants to make Elmira a sanctuary city for the Second Amendment.

“There’s not actually much I can do from my Mayoral seat other than being an elected official in government that’s giving real pushback against gun laws. Gun laws I know are a tricky topic, especially in New York because people believe in common sense gun laws but really, when you can protect yourself, crime will go down. Everybody deserves to be able to wield a weapon and protect themselves because you can have the best cops in town, but if a robber is in your living room, they might not make it there in time. A sanctuary city, you know, I can’t do that all myself. I can certainly press for it. It just means some laws won’t apply to us here because I believe in the Constitution, which a lot of government officials have sworn an oath to the Constitution but not upheld it and I want to uphold the Constitution, which means no infringement on our guns, or any guns for anyone.”

Merrell says she is also focusing her campaign on First Amendment rights, community-driven leadership and government transparency. Merrell also highlighted other issues she will be addressing.

“The East Side often feels forgotten, cops do not live within the city limits, fumes are poisoning our air, elected officials keep raising taxes, new jobs, business and homes are not appearing but
disappearing. Something in Elmira needs to change to stop our citizens and neighbors from
leaving” she said. “I’m going to actually listen to you because I care, and I am not a politician. I’m just another individual finding for the people representing the people not lining my pockets. That’s my plan.”

Even though Merrell is a Libertarian, she will technically be running as an Independent.

“The way it works at the state level to get your name on the ballot is, in a race for governor or in the presidential election, if they run a candidate, they have to get a minimum of 2% or 130,000 votes when the election occurs in order for their party to stay on the ballot,” said Jim Hare, Democratic Commissioner of the Chemung County Board of Elections. “The Libertarians did not make that and therefore there is no libertarian line on the ballot. She’s creating her own independent line for this mayoral race, and she’s using libertarian as the title of her party.

Mr. Hare says the Board of Elections is currently seeking poll workers for upcoming elections. For more information, click here.

Are you planning on running for Mayor of Elmira? Let us know by emailing nicolasdubina@wetmtv.com