Assemblymember Sam Roberts and other community leaders announced Tuesday that they’ll back Jean Kessner in a primary challenge against Sen. Dave Valesky if Valesky doesn’t reunite with the State Senate Democratic Conference.
Groups including Citizen Action of New York, 1199 SEIU, Communication Workers of America, Central New York Pride, NARAL-Pro Choice NY and others rallied outside the New York State Office Building in downtown Syracuse to urge Valesky to end his alliance with State Senate Republicans.
Valesky and four other Democrats formed a power sharing agreement with the Republicans after the 2012 elections.
The groups say that the breakaway Democrats’ alliance with State Senate Republicans has prevented a slew of legislation from being taken up this legislative session, including an increase to the state’s minimum wage, the Women's Equality Act, the DREAM Act, and public funding of elections.
“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.