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Listen to Me: Spotlight New York

Buffalo, N.Y. | On a national level, New York is reliably Democratic. But the blue state has become a battleground of competitive House races. And none is more tighter than the race in upstate New York between Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul and Republican candidate Chris Collins.

According to a Siena College poll released this week, the candidates are dead even, 47 percent to 47 percent. While Hochul hopes to repeat her 2011 special election victory, Collins could benefit from the 26th district being redrawn to skew Republican.

So what issues resonate with voters in this swing district?

Many New York voters, interviewed as part of NewsHour’s Listen to Me project, listed health care as their greatest concern.

Hochul supporter Margaret O’Sullivan of Buffalo said she wants to make sure Medicare is still around when she reaches retirement age.

“Medicare is needed in cases where we worked most of our lives, if not all our lives,” she said. “We’ve paid into it and we deserve the care we need.”

While small business owner Paul Zemla said the economy was on his mind, the undecided voter would also like to see entitlement programs such as Medicare reformed.

“Too many people rely on it,” he said. We must reform Medicare so that patients “get their feet back on the ground and going in the right direction as opposed to people just sitting around and waiting for everyone else to give it to them.”

Derby resident Sharon Mortin said the health care issue hit close to home.

“I know several people without it, in my own family, for one,” she said. With out-of-pocket expenses insurmountable, “there’s probably millions more, same as in my family, that just don’t have the care to get things done.”

We’ve traveled the nation asking voters what issues matter to them most. Now, it’s your turn. Submit your own Listen to Me video here.

Know a language other than English? Become a NewsHour translator and help make the election more accessible.

For more election cycle coverage, visit the NewsHour Politics page.

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