By: Stephanie Sorrell-White | Times Telegram

LITTLE FALLS — Martin Babinec — an entrepreneur with roots in Little Falls — has announced his bid for the 22nd Congressional District seat.

“It all starts here in Little Falls,” he said, about creating a better upstate New York, to a group of supporters at the Black Box Theatre at the Stone Mill Inn on Monday.

Babinec, born and raised in Little Falls, started TriNet, a human resource company that eventually grew to have more than $2 billion in annual sales and created 2,500 jobs for people across the country.

He is also the founder of Upstate Venture Connect, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the growth of startups, and co-founded StartFast Venture Accelerator, which invests in and helps guide a group of startup companies each year in Central New York. He also co-founded IntroNet Corporation, a software startup creating a platform that helps people connect to resources and further growth in the job-creating environment.

Babinec said he believes he has the ability to work with elected leaders and leaders around the community and 22nd District, saying there is a need for collaboration.

“Too many politicians talk at each other and not enough talk with each other,” he said.

Babinec talked about jobs and the economy, stating of the area’s “best and brightest … too many feel they have to move away to pursue their dreams and enjoy a high-quality of life.”

Babinec praised his hometown on Monday and called it a “special place.”

“It’s a community where people are engaged and they help each other,” he said. “It’s a community where history does matter and it’s a community that looks forward and tries to bring about change.”

Babinec said these are the reasons that led him and his wife Krista to move their family from Silicon Valley and raise them in Little Falls, leading him to spend 10 years commuting across the country.

Clete McLaughlin, who said he’s known Babinec since they were in kindergarten together 56 years ago, introduced him during the event.

“I said, ‘Why do you want to go down this path now?,’” said McLaughlin, to Babinec about his candidacy. “… He said ‘I want to give back to my country.’ No talking of building walls. He just simply wants to give back.”

Babinec has received the endorsement of the Independence Party in his bid for the seat.

“We are in interesting times,” he said. “Not only with the current [presidential] election cycle with dynamics we’ve never seen … [but] the voters are reacting to non-traditional candidates.”

The 22nd Congressional District seat encompasses parts of Herkimer, Tioga and Oswego counties and all of Chenango, Cortland, Madison and Oneida counties.

The seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, who chose to not run for re-election after first taking office in 2011.

Other candidates who have announced they are running for the 22nd Congressional District seat are state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford; former Oneida County Democrat Legislator David Gordon; Steve Wells, a Madison County Republican from Cazenovia; former Broome County Republican Legislator George Phillips and Broome County Democrat Legislator Kim Myers.

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