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Education advocate Melodie Baker announces candidacy for Congress

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Fri, Dec 6th 2019 06:10 pm

Local & national leader in education policy running as a Democrat for New York’s 27th Congressional District

Veteran education advocate and Democrat Melodie Baker recently announced her candidacy for Congress in New York’s open 27th Congressional District, following the resignation of Republican Chris Collins after he pled guilty to insider trading charges.

“I’ve worked in education and health care policy for 14 years and I’ve seen firsthand how partisan politicians and corporate interests in Washington are holding our government hostage,” Baker said. “It’s time to take back what belongs to the people.”

“I’m running for Congress to create economic opportunity for our region through investments in education, including skilled-trade training, expand access to affordable health care and reduce medical debt by making Medicare available to everyone, and help the middle class get ahead by reducing the wealth gap,” Baker continued. “This campaign is powered by people and I’m not taking a dime from corporate PACs.”

Baker is an education and health care policy expert who has a record of bringing people together to solve problems and improve lives. She pledged to do the same in Congress.

The granddaughter of rural Texas sharecroppers, Baker’s family moved to the Buffalo area during a blizzard when she was 3 years old. Her father was a carpenter who became a pastor and her mother ran a daycare. Baker learned to work with her hands at an early age, helping to build the family home on the East Side of Buffalo.

Baker overcame literacy challenges after the Buffalo schools were integrated, and recognized education as the great equalizer and creator of opportunity. She dedicated her career to advocating for education policy and health care access to lift up underserved urban and rural communities.

After working her way through Buffalo State College, Baker earned a master’s degree in executive leadership from Daemen College and an advanced graduate certificate in applied statistical analysis from the University at Buffalo.

Baker has spent the past 14 years forging solutions that expand access to quality education and affordable health care. Beginning as an assistant director for a Head Start program, she has earned local and national recognition for her work and given keynote addresses on education policy for the U.S. Department of Education.

Currently serving as the director of education for the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, chairwoman of the Erie-Niagara Birth to 8 Coalition, and the co-chair of RaisingNY, Baker also runs her own small policy firm where she conducts research and evaluation for governments and nonprofit organizations, including the New York State Department of Health.

Baker is also active in her father’s church and coaches girls’ youth basketball. Married for 17 years to Derek Baker, a beloved middle school principal, she is the proud mother of five: Djai, Derek, Kristian, Brenton and Michelle.

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