My name is Irena Raia, candidate for Tioga County Legislator. I’m a proud Upstate New Yorker, born and raised. I’m an Owego-Apalachin and SUNY schools graduate. I’m a Millennial homeowner and taxpayer. I believe in the future of Tioga County, and that future requires a connected community, a modernized, transparent governing body, and accessible elected leadership to represent our diverse coalition of citizens. To make this future our reality, we need leadership that C.A.R.E.S. about that future. The established local political scene and its players have had more than enough time to become inclusive and forward thinking. It is time for new voices to be heard, for new perspectives to be shared and valued. Election day is November 2nd, 2021, and I look forward to sharing my vision of the future of Tioga County with you.
I grew up in South Apalachin. I’m a proud product of our incredible public school system; I graduated from Owego Free Academy in 2009 and went on to receive my Bachelor’s of Science in Communications, Public Relations and American Studies from SUNY Fredonia in 2013. I currently live in Campville with my husband and our 6 furbabies, and I work in education for Cornell University as a course & media coordinator (yes, I really do make that commute every day). I serve on theTioga County Democratic Committeeas representative for my district, and as Chair of the Communications sub-committee. You could probably find all of that information online with some quick Googling, though. However, what that bit of Googling won’t tell you is this: I could have taken one look at our census data and concluded that even though I loved growing up here, Tioga County was not the place for me to build a future — because that census data shows that even though 54% of the active voters in this county are registered either as Democrats, Working Families Party, or unaffiliated, every single one of our county level officials are Republican, only two are women, and none are under 50, and that it’s been this way for a very long time. I could have looked at those numbers and said to myself what I hear others say so often in our community, that Tioga County is a place where “It is what it is”, and sought my future elsewhere. Perhaps someplace with more forward thinking leadership, leadership that reflects my values and concerns, maybe even a place with a shorter commute. I could have, but I didn’t. I decided that the mindset of “it is what it is” is perhaps the most dangerous outlook one can have. This outlook is a recipe for the kind of complacency and political disengagement that is not acceptable if we want to move forward together. So I decided that regardless of where you are in the world, anywhere you choose to call your home is what you make it. I decided to run for office. I hope you’ll run with me. Thank you for your support, and remember to vote on November 2nd, 2021!