Valesky to face first Republican challenger in 8 years
State Sen. Dave Valesky (D-Oneida) has his first Republican opponent in eight years. Economist Janet Burman has decided to run against Valesky, in a district that stretches from the city of Rome in Oneida County into Cayuga County, and includes half of the city of Syracuse.
Burman said she and her husband almost decided to leave New York for a lower taxed state two years ago, but decided against it, because they loved Syracuse. Now she says she’s going to try to do something about those taxes, by running for state Senate.
“We’ve got a lot of assets here,” said Burman. “If we could just get state government to behave more responsibly, this place could be booming.”
Burman will run against Valesky, a Democrat who has spent the last seven years sitting with Republicans in Albany, as part of the Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC. During that period, Valesky ran unopposed in the general election. This spring, the IDC disbanded.
Burman said this is not part of a plot to put a candidate on the November ballot, now that Valesky is again caucusing with Democrats.
“I came to this decision on my own,” she said. “The Republican Party has responded favorably to it, but I wasn’t recruited. There wasn’t an active effort to get a candidate. This is just something I’ve been watching since last year, and decided this is something I’m going to do.”
Burman said beyond taxes, the other issues she will focus on include education and the fight against poverty. She admitted she’s the underdog in a race against Valesky. But she said he doesn’t have anything to show for his eight terms in Albany.
“The most damming thing I hear about Dave Valesky, is that he’s a nice guy. I’m a nice gal. That’s not enough. That’s not demonstrating leadership,” she said.
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