Candidates for the New York State Senate 53rd District and 22nd Congressional District Races

New York State Senate 53rd District

Leslie Danks Burke

Leslie Danks Burke is a progressive Democrat; a mom, attorney, activist and advocate who built her career standing up for our values. She fought for racial equality and abortion access; represented people in public housing, under incarceration, or seeking to immigrate; worked in international litigation, for local businesses and farms, for women suffering assault, and for =families crushed by inadequate healthcare. Leslie is a tireless community volunteer for the Tompkins County library, Tompkins-Cortland community college, Planned Parenthood, Democratic Women of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, and the PTAs of every school her children have attended.

More importantly, Leslie is a mom who simply cannot stand down in the face of wrongs in the world that our children will inherit.

In previous campaigns in very tough districts, Leslie consistently outpaced Democratic enrollment by double-digits, standing strong for honest, progressive values — even where it’s not easy. When she saw confederate flags springing up after President Obama’s election, presaging the horrors of the Trump presidency, she swung into a decade-and-a-half organizing across upstate New York, advancing solutions to the Republican neglect of our region. Now, with fairer district lines, but to defeat a Trump Republican who twice won his Democratic city by exploiting the worst of extreme right-wing rhetoric, we need Leslie’s deep compassion and her ability to forge coalitions even in the toughest environments.
Twitter/IG: @leawebbforny
FB/YouTube: @leawebbfornystatesenate

Lea Webb

Born and raised in Binghamton in a blue collar, union-member family, my life’s work has always included public service. One of my first roles was as a community organizer with Citizen Action, building support for more equitable access to health care and fairer education spending. In 2007, I ran for local office because I saw that’s where real decisions are made that affect people’s daily lives. I defeated the sitting President of the Binghamton City Council, becoming the first Black person ever elected to Council. Reelected in 2011, I served the Council’s limit of eight years. 
Since 2013, I’ve been working as an educator at Binghamton University, providing diversity, equity and inclusion trainings and programs for faculty, staff, and students. In this role, I am a proud UUP/NYSUT union member. 
I’ve stayed involved in electoral politics as a national trainer with Vote Run Lead, training thousands of women across the country on how to run for elected office. I was a Co-Chair/Co-Founder of the Black Millennial Political Convention and a Founding Board Member of Local Progress. I’m proud to have been honored with the President’s Award by the Broome-Tioga Branch of the NAACP for my significant contributions to our community.
I’m a strong believer that we need leaders that walk the talk. So as I ask for your support to represent our region in Albany, I want you to know what I’ve done with my years in elected office. Please see my website for my thoughts on the   climate, housing, human rights, jobs and small business, unions and workers, so much more. 
I know there is so much more to do to create equitable opportunities for all, and a safe and healthy future for our children. My issue focus areas include better, affordable housing for rural and urban communities, a healthy and resilient environment, quality healthcare, and common sense, equitable investments in our communities. I ask for your support during my campaign for State Senate so I can bring your voice to Albany and together we can continue the work that needs to be done for our region. 

New York 22nd Congressional District
Twitter: @FDConole
Facebook: conole4NY

Francis Conole

Francis Conole is a proud Democrat, a fourth generation Central New Yorker, U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Iraq War Veteran, and former Defense Secretary Policy Advisor who has dedicated his life to service and sacrifice. Over the past year, Francis stood with our community through the pandemic and in the fight for justice, served as the Syracuse City Chair of the Onondaga County Committee, and supported the Navy’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He currently serves as a Commander in the Navy Reserves where he was recently selected for promotion to Captain. Francis has a proven record of solving problems in the most unique and challenging of circumstances. 

Central New York and our country face a multitude of crises that put our democracy, our working families, and our environment and planet under direct threat. Having faced crises his entire life, Francis Conole is running for Congress to meet this moment, protect our democracy, lower costs for working families, and build an economy that works for everyone by investing in training and education and the clean energy jobs of the future.

Sarah Klee Hood

Sarah Klee Hood is a Democratic Congressional Candidate for NY-22. Sarah is an Air Force veteran, a full-time working mother, and an elected town councilor. Sarah was born and raised in the district and stands on the shoulders of three generations of labor. She is the first in her family to earn her college degree. D.C. labeled Sarah a non-traditional candidate because she comes from working class roots. But this is her strength – her ability to connect and understand the challenges of the district.

Sarah directs a clean technology incubator, working at the intersection of environmental policy, technology development and funding. She directly supports the scientists and small businesses creating the technology to address climate change.

While serving in the Air Force Sarah experienced how “taking care of the home life” allowed people to enter the workforce and perform to their greatest capacity. It was because of this, Sarah is committed to ensuring all Americans have access to: single-payer universal healthcare, affordable childcare, family medical leave, and expanded college and trade access. Sarah has experienced how together, they change the trajectories of lives. Sarah firmly believes she is the voice for working families and will fight for the services that lift the bottom and spread the middle.

Chol for Congress
P.O. Box 11061
Syracuse, NY 13218

Chol Majok

I was born in South Sudan and escaped civil war as one of the “Lost Boys.” I came to the United States in 2001 as an unaccompanied minor refugee in foster care and became an American citizen. I’m running for Congress because I know first-hand what happens when government does not work for the people. My lived experiences continue to shape my agenda to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity to live the American dream.

I’m a 2004 graduate of Fowler High School, earned a Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse, an MA in Political Science from the University of Albany, and a Doctorate Degree in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher College. I’ve been married to Abiei for twelve years, and we have five children: Akuch, Gop, Majok, Akau, and Yar. We are proud homeowners in Syracuse’s Elmwood neighborhood.

My government career has focused on bringing community input into the political arena. I was a Community Engagement Specialist for State Senator David Valesky. As Director of Constituent Services for Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, I listened to neighbors and brought their concerns and ideas back to City Hall. As an elected City Councilor, I chair the Public Safety Committee and am proud to have advanced needed police reform legislation.

As Workforce Development Director for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center, I helped community members find pathways to meaningful jobs and careers that supported them in their path towards building financial security. Most recently I have been Director of Home Ownership and Community Engagement at Home HeadQuarters in Syracuse.

My priorities for this campaign are: • Support for Rural Americans • Public Safety • Workforce Development • Education • Affordable Housing • Environment • Infrastructure • Accessible and Affordable Healthcare
Twitter: @JoshuaUE99
Facebook: @JoshRileyNY

Josh Riley

My name is Josh Riley, and I am a Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 22nd Congressional District.  I am so excited to get to work with you and for you! Together, we will flip this seat from red-to-blue in November and bring change to Upstate New York.

I was born and raised in Endicott, where my family worked for generations in the local factories. Those were good, blue-collar jobs that could earn you a place in the Middle Class even if you didn’t have a college degree – so long as you had a strong work ethic. 

As my generation came of age, we lost a lot of those jobs. I delivered the newspaper to my neighbors every morning, and it often had headlines about Upstate New York’s job losses right next to headlines about Wall Street’s capital gains.  That experience has motivated much of what I have done throughout my career. 

With (a lot of) student loans, savings from my newspaper route, and part-time work, I attended the College of William & Mary and Harvard Law School. At my law school graduation, future Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan presented me with the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership.

After law school, I turned down offers to work for the big banks on Wall Street and instead moved to South Florida to work with the American Academy of Pediatrics on a landmark civil rights lawsuit representing kids from low-income families who had difficulty accessing healthcare services.

My experience in Congress includes working as a Staff Assistant for Congressman Maurice Hinchey, as a Heyman Fellow for Senator Ted Kennedy’s Labor & Pensions Committee Staff, and as Senator Al Franken’s General Counsel on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.  I also worked as a Policy Analyst at the U.S. Department of Labor and as a Law Clerk in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

I’m running for Congress to protect and strengthen our Democracy; to revitalize the economy in Upstate New York; and to restore opportunity for neighborhoods like the one in which I grew up in. 

I am so excited to meet with members of the community over the course of this campaign. 

Sam Roberts

Sam Roberts has the experience, leadership, and compassion that we need to represent us in the US Congress (NY-22).

A native of Central New York, Sam was born in Syracuse and grew up in a working class family with parents who were both part of the Labor movement and he attended public schools. Beginning as a community organizer, Sam’s commitment to service started locally as he helped to educate and galvanize voters. He then went on to serve in the Onondaga County Legislature to address the needs of residents locally, served in the New York State Assembly giving us a voice in Albany, and served as the New York State Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to help those who are most in need. With a background also rooted in Labor, Sam is a proud member of the United Auto Workers union and is a retiree of General Motors where he worked as a journeyman tool and die maker.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Empire State College, Associate degrees from Onondaga Community College, and certificates in Labor Studies from Cornell University. Sam currently lives in Syracuse, most recently served as a senior advisor for Oswego College, and vows to be a trusted voice in Washington working hard for Central New York, Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier.