The opioid crisis is affecting several political campaigns, but most candidates don't run on being a victim of it. Boyd Melson is a different story.
Melson burst into New York's 11th congressional district Democratic primary with stunning ad in which he admits to a 7-year fight to break an addiction to painkillers.
Boyd Melson Shows Off His Fighting SkillsThe ad begins with news reports about the crisis, as Melson pensively looks at the New York skyline. We hear that Staten Island – the lion's share of the 11th district – has the highest rates of opioid deaths in New York City.
"I was born into a life of service" Melson says, over a montage of childhood photos, noting that he and several family members are military veterans. On top of that, "when I was active duty I boxed full time. I ended up become the World Military Boxing champion." The ad is heavy on footage of Melson in the ring, as there is no better to show that a candidate is a "fighter."
But the story takes a turn. He needed multiple surgeries, and then was prescribed painkillers for six months. "That was the beginning of a seven year journey to get myself off of taking those medications," he shares.
He points a finger at feckless politicians for failing to address problems like the opioid crisis. "We're talking about people, dying. Dying! I'm tired of politicians caring more about being re-election than serving their people."
The ads shifts to a collection of stories about how the Republican incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan refused to hold traditional town halls about his party's health care bill. Melson scoffs, "If you don't want to do the bare minimum, which is, respond to people that hired you ... then just get out of the ring."
The ad ends with a big emotional punch, with Melson in the ring and helping the disabled learn how to box. He talks of giving away all of his boxing winnings to charity, and how he was called "The Rainmaker" because that's "who is called" throughout history "when hope is needed."
Melson Has Something To Prove To DemocratsMelson has to hope that this humdinger of an ad helps overcome some inherent obstacles, namely that he was recently registered as an independent, not a Democrat, and not in the 11th district. He's not even the only veteran in the Democratic primary, one his opponents Max Rose earned a Purple Heart in Afghanistan.
But Melson does have a story to tell, and in this video, he told it well.