In Government, History, Media Advisory on June 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Jean Kessner, Syracuse Common Council, will Challenge David Valesky in a Democratic Primary if he continues to refuse to return to the Dems.   Dave Valesky is part of the IDC ( Independent Democratic  Coalition) that has been siding with the Republican minority to give them control of the Senate.  By doing so the Senate has blocked important legislation like a Moratorium on Fracking, Women’s Equality, DREAM act ect.  Please see these two Important events this Week

Tuesday June 24th at 4pm Press conference with Assembly person Sam Roberts and others supporters of Jean Kessner’s primary against Dave Valesky if he refuses to reunite with Senate Democratic Conference.

WHERE: New York State Office Building 333 E Washington St, Syracuse, NY

Thursday June 26th at 4 pm PETITIONING FOR Jean Kessner to get on the ballot.  There will be a press event with clip boards in hand at 4pm at the SEIU office in Syracuse 250 South Clinton St

Contact Larry at 917-721-5205


June 19th, 2014 SYRACUSE, NY – As this year’s legislative session comes to an end it is once again clear that the Republican-IDC coalition in the Senate has failed to deliver on key legislation supported by a majority of New Yorkers. Senator Valesky was among the small group of Democrats who formed the IDC and gave control of the Senate to Republicans despite the Republicans not having the majority of votes. Legislation important to people in Syracuse and the entire senate district, like a real Minimum Wage Increase, the DREAM Act, Women’s Equality Act, a ban on Fracking, and Public Funding of Elections have been blocked by the Republicans in control as a result of the Republican-IDC coalition deal. Concerned citizens, leaders and advocates responded today by calling on Senator Valesky to rejoin the Democrats and take back control of the Senate from the Republicans. Further, if Senator Valesky instead chooses to continue to support Republican control of the Senate, a growing list of organizations and local leaders are resolved to enthusiastically support Jean Kessner in her bid to defeat Senator Valesky in a Democratic primary.

Ruth Heller, Vice President of 1199 SEIU United Helathcare Workers, “Though Senator Valesky has been individually supportive of healthcare workers, we cannot ignore the fact that he allies himself with conservative interests in the New York State Senate. These conservatives have stopped the Dream Act from becoming a reality, real campaign finance reform from being enacted, and a real minimum wage that raises standards for all workers. Only with a Democratic New York State Senate will we ensure that these important issues to working people pass. That is why we are supporting Jean Kessner for the New York State Senate. We need a Democrat who will not just say they support Democratic issues, but one that will get things done. That’s why we are supporting Jean Kessner for NYS Senate.”

Andrea Miller, President, “NARAL Pro-Choice NY’s endorsement process is about choosing the candidate that is the greatest champion for choice. In this coming election, we will solicit questionnaires from candidates, interview and make our selection based on responses to those questionnaires. Incumbents’ records – both words and actions to secure choice in New York – will as always have a significant bearing on our selection. We have watched with dismay for two sessions as the alliance between the IDC and the Republican caucus has allowed the anti-choice minority view to prevail in the Senate. Members of the IDC will need to reconsider the implications of this anti-choice alliance, if they plan to seek re-endorsement from NARAL Pro-Choice NY.

D. Bruce Carter, President of Central New York Pride, “Jean Kessner has been successful during her time as a member of the Syracuse Common Council. She has listened to her constituents and been a strong advocate for them. She is knowledgeable about a wide range of issues and is a strong advocate for people of all kinds. Ms. Kessner also has a long history of support both for women’s issues and for LGBTQ issues. I am certain that she will work hard to see that legislation promoting equality and equity reaches the NY State Senate floor and that she will work hard for the interests of all her constituents.”

Lionel Logan, an active member of the community said, “I have been registering voters and getting people involved in the Syracuse community for over 20 years. I am personally aware of the deep frustration in our community when we can’t get common sense bills voted on in our legislature. That is why I believe that Jean Kessner will provide the leadership and energy that we need to bring these bills to the floor to have some real impact in our community.”

Eric Kingson adds, “This is democracy at work. Senator Valesky, a good man, has disappointed those who thought we were sending a real Democrat to the New York State Senate. I hope he returns to the Democratic Party, but if not, I am delighted to learn that he will be challenged by a strong candidate whose affiliation, commitment and views will align with Senate Democrats.”

Jerry Lotierzo of the Alliance for Retired Americans, “Jean Kessner would make a superb state senator. She is smart, a tireless worker, and always on the right side of issues that are important to Central New Yorkers.”

Vicki Baker, Former County Legislator and Environmental Advocate, “Jean Kessner works hard to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe. She voted to ban fracking in Syracuse and she fought to protect us from dangerous fracking by-products bring trucked through the city. She shares our concerns about how trash-incineration will spew toxic mercury into the atmosphere and hurt clean, renewable energy generation that can put Central New Yorkers to work with family-supporting jobs.”

Paul Schuh, UAW Region 9 NYS CAP Director and WFP State Co-Chair, “Labor can’t accomplish it’s goals until there is a change in the leadership of the Senate. The IDC the last two years has allowed the minority party in the senate to control the agenda. This is not right and this is not democracy.”

Rosemary Rivera, Organizing Director, Citizen Action of NY, “We worked hard in the past to elect Dave Valesky to the Senate so he could fight for upstate needs like fair wages, funding for our schools, and public funding of elections. Instead he joined the IDC-Republican coalition that has been the barrier to progressive legislation. We urge Senator Valesky to rejoin the Democratic Senators, and if he does not, we will support a primary against him.”

I supported Senator Valesky as a Democrat. I worked to get him elected so he could caucus with other Democrats in the State Senate, not so he could put Conservative Republicans in charge of the Senate. We’ve been patient; we’ve held our criticism long enough. The Republican IDC Senate is not working for New Yorkers. It’s time for Senator Valesky to come home to the Democrats,” said Assemblymember Sam Roberts (128th Assembly District). “We need Senator Valesky to be a Democrat, and until he does I will be supporting Jean Kessner for New York State Senate. Jean has been a champion of the people of Syracuse. We would be lucky to have her as our Senator. The voters know Jean and trust her to work with other Democrats to pass progressive legislation.”

Joan Mandel, Executive Director of Democracy Matters, echoed the call saying, “I am endorsing Jean Kessner’s candidacy in the Democratic primary. Jean has the experience and the vision that we need in our district to pass legislation that benefits all of us. As long as Senator Valesky is part of the IDC, he cannot truly represent his Democratic constituents. Jean is an articulate and serious candidate and it will be my pleasure to work hard to make sure she wins.”

Syracuse Common Councilor, Jean Kessner said, ““From the women’s equality agenda, to a minimum wage closer to a living wage, to campaign finance reform, Senator Valesky has let us down. In standing with the Republicans, the Independent Democratic Caucus stands in the way of progress that would benefit real people right here in Central New York. I’m in the process of gathering petition signatures to challenge Senator Valesky in the primary.”

Contact: Allison Krause, Communications Coordinator, 1199SEIU – or 315 295 1838


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