The following is a press release from Leslie Danks Burke, NY State Senate Candidate from the 58th Senatorial District, which covers Allegany, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins and Yates Counties.
Her opponent is incumbent Thomas O’Mara.
“Back-room deals keep our taxes high, our schools and roads underfunded, and our legislators in handcuffs.”
(Elmira)- Leslie Danks Burke, candidate for State Senate in New York’s 58th district, today challenged elected officials to hold themselves to higher standards by passing stronger ethics laws now. Danks Burke’s action comes in the wake of
corruption convictions of former Republican Senate leader Dean Skelos, sentenced last week to 5 years in prison, and former Democratic Assembly leader Sheldon Silver, sentenced the previous week to 12 years in prison.
Danks Burke today announced that she will voluntarily adhere to campaign finance limits that are stricter than those allowed by law, by rejecting key loopholes that have been abused by Albany politicians and New York City special interests.
Danks Burke also repeated her previous calls for limits on outside income and stripping pensions from corrupt politicians. “I challenge Senator O’Mara to join me in renouncing these loopholes that corrupt our political system and hurt the residents of our district,” said Danks Burke.
Danks Burke has previously pledged to refrain from accepting outside income. Senator Tom O’Mara, the district’s incumbent, earns such income as a partner in the law and lobbying firm Barclay Damon. O’Mara is Chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, with significant influence over conservation policies that Barclay Damon lobbies on.
“It’s a blatant conflict of interest,” Danks Burke said. “The Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee makes extra money by working at a law firm that lobbies on conservation issues. Senators should work for the taxpayers, and no one else,” said Danks Burke. “Not law firms, not special interests, and certainly not paid lobbyists.”
Leading by example, Danks Burke today added to her prior pledge by announcing that she will refuse any contributions that take advantage of the LLC loophole to exceed individual campaign contribution limits, and also will refuse any contributions greater than $11,000 from any County Committee. The state has set $11,000 as the maximum amount an individual may contribute, with County Committees allowed to funnel vastly higher amounts into campaigns.
“Albany still doesn’t get it. Special interest money pollutes and corrupts our state government, and my opponent refuses to act. We deserve better,” said Danks Burke. “We’ve had years of empty promises and finger-pointing while we get sold out to political interests from New York City and Long Island. Back-room deals keep our taxes high, our schools and roads underfunded, and our legislators in handcuffs.”
Bio: Leslie Danks Burke is the daughter of farmers, an attorney, wife, mother, and a regional advocate who has lived in the Finger Lakes for twelve years. Danks Burke sits on the Agriculture and Infrastructure subcommittees of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council. She serves on the boards of multiple organizations, including her regional Community College foundation, her local library foundation, and Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes. Danks Burke is a proud hockey mom and a Girl Scout Leader, and her greatest joy is spending time outdoors with her husband, Cody, and their 6 and 11-year-old daughters, Sophia and Anna.