ITHACA, N.Y. — Leslie Danks Burke, the Democratic nominee seeking to unseat incumbent Republican State Sen. Tom O’Mara, announced on Monday the endorsements of a bi-partisan group of seven municipal elected officials in the district that have given her their support.
Among those elected officials is City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, who says that with Democrats now controlling the upper chamber, the region goes largely un-represented when it comes to Albany’s contentious budget process since the city is represented by Sen. O’Mara, who is a Republican.
“Leslie is extremely hard-working, smart and empathetic — and most importantly, she will fight for our values in Albany,” said Myrick on Monday. “With a Democratic majority in the senate, our voice is currently silenced with O’Mara as our representative. Leslie will be in a position to fight for us inside the caucus and on the floor of the senate.”
While Myrick’s endorsement is hardly a surprise as mayor of what is easily the bluest area of the district, it isn’t just Democrats turning to Danks Burke for a chance to have a seat at the table in Albany. Three of the seven endorsements come from elected Republicans in the Town of Big Flats in Chemung County, the Village of Painted Post in Steuben County and the Village of Odessa in Schuyler County.
Of note on that list is Big Flats Town Supervisor Ed Fairbrother, the Republican supervisor of the town that Sen. Tom O’Mara calls home. He says that while staff from O’Mara’s office have been helpful, it was Danks Burke who got in touch directly about what he needs.
“Tom does live here. But I am not getting any help with the state. Leslie has come here, met with me and said what she would do to help small governments. Tom, I haven’t heard from him. His office staff has gotten stuff done,” said Fairbrother by phone on Monday morning “But it is what it is, we’re a Democratic state, maybe a Democratic senator will get something done or could help us.”
Fairbrother refused to get into the specifics of the issues with the state that he has brought to Sen. O’Mara’s office and stressed that this doesn’t change his personal politics.
“I am a Republican, I support Republicans and I’m absolutely supporting Congressman Tom Reed,” said Fairbrother. “I’ve sat on some committees with her. We disagree on our politics, but again, she has sat down and given me some very strong ideas of what she wants to do and how she wants to do it. Maybe it’s just time for a change.”
Danks Burke is an attorney and longtime advocate of healthcare, childcare and rural economy. She has previously picked up the endorsements of New York’s Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 267, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the Working Families Party, among others.
She will face off with Sen. Tom O’Mara in the general elections to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The full list of the seven officials making their endorsement can be found below:
- Bill Boland (D), Mayor of Corning, Steuben County
- Ed Fairbrother (R), Town Supervisor for Big Flats, Chemung County
- Ralph Foster (R), Mayor of Painted Post, Steuben County
- Shawn Hogan (D), Former Mayor of Hornell, Steuben County
- Leigh MacKerchar (D), Mayor of Penn Yan, Yates County
- Gerry Messmer (R), Mayor of Odessa, Schuyler County
- Svante Myrick (D), Mayor of Ithaca, Tompkins County