If you are looking for a new Republican voice, you might want to consider Jill Lochner

The Front Page - Upstate New York| By 

Published Apr 5, 2023

At first, congressional candidate Jill Lochner thought the call to her home was encouraging.

The caller heard she was running for Congress as a Republican. The caller liked what Lochner was saying about being an old-fashioned Republican. The caller said he was a Democrat and started asking about positions on specific issues. At one point, Lochner asked if this was some sort of interview. The caller said he was just curious.

Afterward, Lochner tried to follow up. She sent follow up messages without a reply. The caller had disappeared.

Even for a political novice, it all seemed quite odd.

She is suspicious about who the caller was.

Jill Lochner has no money, no staff and no real plan, but you have to wonder if someone was worried about her.

Or maybe they were just making sure she was not a threat.

She has a message you don’t hear anymore.

She has a message that has not been used against Rep. Elise Stefanik before.

Jill Lochner uses words like “doing the right thing” that we have not heard a lot lately.

Well, not from Rep. Stefanik.

The Stefanik people reacted as they usually do with a paranoia that has always been odd for an incumbent who can raise boat-loads of money any time she wants.

Lochner has been a -stay-at-home-mom for the past decade. Her husband works from home as a software engineer.

She has four children - three boys and a girl - aged 9, 6 and 5-year-old twins.

“I’m going to come out of this with my morality intact,” Lochner vowed. “Even if I lose, I’ve been involved, done the right thing and will be able to hold my head up. It is important to do it the right way.”

In some ways, being a political novice makes her a more attractive alternative. Many of us have seen enough of the professional politicians.

Lochner is taking on Stefanik in a way she has not been challenged before - on ethics, on lying and morality. Lochner has experience in ways Stefanik does not. Jill Lochner has been living in the real world with a young family for the past 10 years. She is intimately familiar with the problems so many families in the 21st Congressional District face because she lives their lives. She did not grow up privileged, attend Harvard and work at the White House. If Jill Lochner wants to see a rose garden, she has to grow them herself.

While Rep. Stefanik has perpetuated one crisis after another on social media in recent weeks, Lochner has provided a refreshing counter balance:

In response to Rep. Stefanik tweet on supporting government involvement in children’s education: 

Jill Lochner for Congress
Incessant fear-mongering tweets accomplish nothing. My kids’ teachers send monthly newsletters about what they’re teaching, I’m in communication with them, I’m invited in the classroom, and I attend PTA & Board meetings. Don’t make problems out of nothing.

Rep. Elise Stefanik
Parents should have the right to know what their child is learning.
@HouseGOP is working to create transparency in the classroom, but every Dem on Committee voted AGAINST our Parents’ Bill of Rights.


Lochner is hoping there is a silent majority in the 21st Congressional District longing for those old-fashioned values.

Republican officials have not been welcoming. That’s not surprising. The party has often been ruthless even when it comes to fellow Republicans. Ask former state Sen. Roy McDonald.

Lochner got two answers from county Republican committee chairs across the district and neither was encouraging.

The good old boy network is still strong in the North Country.

When I talked to outgoing Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava recently, he was extremely careful in talking about Stefanik. My take was that he did not want to do anything that might hurt his community from getting needed funding in the future.

That’s the challenge Lochner is facing.

When I started the interview with her at a Glens Falls coffee shop, I asked her the most important question: Why?

Why put herself and her family through what will certainly be personal attacks?

She smiled and said, “I’m crazy.”

And she laughed.

“I am coming out against the insults and the lies,” Lochner said. “I want to be the exact opposite of Elise Stefanik.”

In the past, that would not be a political platform.

But it is unique in these times.

The question is whether people still care about whether public officials lie or not.

“That’s what I’m banking on,” Lochner said. “I strongly believe they are out there.”

Like most incumbents, Stefanik has won re-election easily even while evolving from a moderate trying to represent all the people of a flame-throwing Trump worshiper.

Five years ago, she was much different.

In Tim Alberta’s 2019 book “American Carnage,” he quoted Stefanik saying that Trump made it “very, very difficult to recruit women candidates” for Congress.

But she didn’t stop there.

“There will be a post-Trump era,” she said. “And I think there is going to be a new generation of voices in the Republican Party that push back on some of the trends we’ve been seeing - the isolationist, anti-trade, anti-intellectualism trends that are not moving us in the right direction.”

That moderate thinking made her popular.

“I liked Elise when she started. I voted for her,” Lochner said. “But recently she has not been representing the 21st. She’s been lying and worried about her own political career. The last straw was George Santos.”

Stefanik may be right about “a new generation of voices in the Republican Party.”

Maybe one of those voices is Jill Lochner.