After the end of World War II, my father’s father put his career on hold and went to Germany to help establish democracy and the rule of law. A few years later, during the McCarthy witch hunts, my other grandfather lost his job for refusing to sign a loyalty oath that he knew was unconstitutional. They both believed deeply in our country and our system of government and understood that it takes the hard work of committed citizens to keep that system from succumbing to cynicism and corruption. I am proud to follow in their footsteps at this time of crisis for our democracy.
I have long been involved in Democratic politics and community activism, but the principled community of resistance that has arisen in the past year has inspired me to go a step further and run for office for the first time. My professional background is in education: I taught high school math, then Russian language and literature at the college level, and am now Coordinator of Sustainability Education at Syracuse University. I work to connect students and professors to the people who keep the university working, in energy management, food services, buildings and grounds, waste management/recycling and transportation. We find inefficiencies in the system and work together to craft smart, cutting-edge solutions. I also work with teachers in local schools to help them learn about the remarkable history and ecology of Onondaga Lake, so that they can introduce their students to this important local resource.
In 2001, my family had to choose between my teaching job in St. Paul, Minnesota, and my husband’s job at Le Moyne College. We chose to settle in Central New York for its strong sense of community, its openness to people from all over the world, its natural beauty, and the feeling that we could be involved in making a difference here. It was a great decision. Our daughter loved growing up in Syracuse, graduated from Nottingham High School in 2016, and now attends Cornell University.
For me, the choice to live in Syracuse opened many doors. I served on the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Democratic Committee, the Board of FOCUS Greater Syracuse and the Mayor’s transition team for sustainability. As a Board member of OCRRA for many years, I helped get a state-of-the-art compost facility built in Onondaga County. I have had the opportunity to be involved with numerous grassroots groups working on education, the arts, and the environment.
I am excited and honored to represent this dynamic and diverse region in Albany, and to chair the Senate’s Committee on Aging and the Commission on Rural Resources. My colleagues know me as a fierce advocate for upstate interests and a thoughtful legislator. For my constituents, I strive always to be a good listener and a creative problem-solver.