SYRACUSE State Sen. David Valesky is running unopposed for reelection to a fifth term. The Democrat from Oneida has represented the 49th State Senate District, which spanned southern and northeastern portions of Onondaga County, the eastern portion of the city, as well as northeastern portions of Cayuga County and all of Madison County. Following 2012’s redistricting, in his next term he will represent the 53rd District, which includes the bulk of the city, the southeastern corner of Onondaga County, all of Madison County and two towns in Oneida County.
What are the major issues facing your district?
Jobs and economic development. Central New York has suffered greatly as a result of the national recession, and, even though we are beginning to see some improvement nationally, statewide and locally, the issue of job creation still remains at the top of my list. We need to attract and retain good-paying jobs, and while we are making some strides on a statewide basis to create a business friendly environment, more work needs to be done.
Another critical issue is education, and how our schools are funded. We need to ensure that every child in every district has the resources they need to succeed, and one of the ways we can do this is to ensure school districts, especially high-need, low-wealth districts like many of those in my district, are equitably funded.
What have you accomplished since coming into office?
Leading up to the 2010 elections, I had become incredibly fed up with the partisan politics that had gridlocked state government for years, prompting us to be called the most dysfunctional legislature in the nation. I have always believed that the best policy comes from bipartisan cooperation, and we had not been seeing any of that — and it showed. So in 2011, three of my colleagues and I joined together to form the Independent Democratic Conference, an entity separate from either of the main conferences, with the pledge to work in a bipartisan fashion and put policy over politics. We have worked closely with Governor Cuomo and both Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature on issues that are of great concern to our constituents, and I believe it has been very successful.