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Your guide to the 2020 elections 

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Look, 2020 has been a mess. Americans are getting collectively thrashed by a virus, much of the country is in righteous unrest over systemic racism and police brutality, and a combination of demand and political meddling broke the mighty U.S. Postal Service.

On top of that, we have to answer some serious questions, such as who should be president. Voters have to decide whether they want to keep Donald Trump or replace him with Joe Biden. Chances are most people have already figured this one out.

But also important are the local congressional race and the state legislative races that will be on the ballot. These representatives make the decisions that Rochesterians feel in their daily lives. The economy, education, infrastructure, justice, policing, the preservation of the environment, and more are in their hands.

The last day to register to vote is Oct. 9 and the last day to apply for an absentee ballot in Monroe County is Oct. 27. The applications have been mailed to registered voters, but if you don’t have one and want to get an absentee ballot, you can apply at monroecounty.gov/elections-absentee.

Early voting begins Oct. 24 and ends Nov. 1. Election Day is Nov. 3. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Whether you do it by mail or in person, exercise your right to vote. There’s a mess to clean up.

Your guide to the 2020 elections:
Where and how to vote early in Monroe County
Race for the Senate’s 55th District is about roots
The race to succeed Robach is wide open
Monroe County Clerk
25th Congressional District (most of Monroe County)
State Senate 54th District (Webster and outlying counties)
State Senate 59th District (Henrietta, Wheatland, and outlying counties)
State Senate 61st District (Riga, Chili, southwest Rochester, and outlying counties)
State Senate 62nd District (Sweden, Ogden, and outlying counties)
Assembly 133rd District (Pittsford, Mendon, Rush, Wheatland, and outlying counties)
Assembly 134th District (Greece, Parma, and Ogden)
Assembly 135th District (Webster, Penfield, and Perinton)
Assembly 136th District (Irondequoit, Brighton, parts of the city of Rochester)
Assembly 137th District (Gates and parts of city of Rochester)
Assembly 138th District (Chili, Henrietta, and parts of the city of Rochester)
Assembly 139th District (Hamlin, Clarkson, Sweden, Riga, and outlying counties)
Elections officials act to avoid repeat of primary problems

Monroe County Clerk

Jamie Romeo
jamieromeo.com

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  • Jamie Romeo
Romeo, an Irondequoit Democrat, is running to keep the position Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed her to in February.

Soon after she became county clerk, her office — which records deeds, mortgages, court documents, and operates the local Department of Motor Vehicles branches — had to halt in-person transactions due to the pandemic. Romeo led the office as it shifted many of its operations online, including coordinating the electronic filing of real estate transactions.

Prior to her appointment as clerk, Romeo briefly served in the state Assembly. She was the chief of staff for former state Sen. Ted O’Brien and a longtime aide to the Democratic Caucus of the county Legislature.

Karla Boyce
karlaboyce.com

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Boyce, a Mendon Republican, has the distinction of being the first county legislator to leave her seat due to the body’s 10-year term limits and then to return when she was elected to the seat several years later. She served from 1994 to 2005, and then from 2012 until present.

A former executive director of the Rochester-Monroe County Youth Bureau, Boyce currently works as youth development and teenage services coordinator at Coordinated Care Service Inc. She pledges to run a secure, customer-focused clerk’s office.

Boyce was at the center of controversy last year when she introduced legislation making it illegal to harass or annoy police officers and other first responders. Despite substantial opposition, legislation passed along party lines. But after fierce backlash, Boyce early this year co-sponsored legislation to repeal the law.

25th Congressional District

All of Monroe County except Hamlin, Wheatland, Rush, Mendon, and a part of Clarkson

Joe Morelle
votemorelle.com

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  • Joe Morelle.
Morelle is one of the most recognizable and influential Democrats in Monroe County politics and government. He has spent more than 30 years in public office, starting in the county Legislature and working his way up to majority leader of the state Assembly. In 2018, following the death of longtime Rep. Louise Slaughter, Morelle was elected to take over her seat in the 25th District seat. He lives in Irondequoit.

His campaign emphasizes his experience, as well as his commitment to core party issues such as reproductive rights, tougher gun laws, and LGBTQ rights. Morelle does not favor a single-payer health care system, but has advocated for what he calls “universal health care” that blends public and private insurance.

George Mitris
mitrisforcongress2020.com

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Mitris, whose family emigrated from Greece to the United States when he was 8 years old, is a lawyer with his own practice who is making his first run for public office. The Brighton resident is a self-described conservative Republican, but he’s said several times that he’ll work across party lines and meet with practically anyone to advance solutions to local and national problems.

On his campaign website, Mitris states that he is pro-Second Amendment, but that he backs universal background checks, improved mental health checks, and regulations on assault weapons. He notes that he supports school choice and pathways to citizenship for immigrants already in the country. He also wants to reform the country’s immigration system to make it more efficient for people trying to enter the U.S. legally.

Kevin Wilson
kevinwilsonforcongress.com

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Wilson, a digital marketer who lives in Rochester, is the Libertarian Party candidate in the race. On his campaign website, he states that he joined the Libertarians after he became disillusioned with the two-party system.

His campaign stresses key Libertarian principles, such as reducing the national debt and taxes, reining in executive power, a return to a non-interventionist foreign policy, and ending the War on Drugs. He also pledges to uphold the Second Amendment.

State Senate 54th District

Webster, Wayne and Seneca Counties, parts of Ontario, Cayuga, and Tompkins counties

Pamela Helming
pamhelming.com

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Helming, a Republican, was first elected to the 54th District seat in 2016 after almost three years as Canandaigua town supervisor.

Much of Helming’s campaign platform is in line with other Republican lawmakers from upstate. She wants the state to provide tax credits for businesses that create jobs, preserve the STAR tax exemption for homeowners, remove the responsibility for funding and administering Medicaid from counties, and cap the state’s spending, among other things. She’s been a vocal opponent of the SAFE Act and introduced legislation to expand hunting in parts of her district. Helming also serves as chair of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.

Shauna O’Toole
facebook.com/Shauna4NYSenate

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O’Toole, a Democrat from Geneva in Ontario County, is a former high school earth sciences teacher and former Kodak engineer. A transgender woman, O’Toole serves as the executive director of We Exist, which creates programming for and about the Finger Lakes transgender and gender expansive community.

Throughout her campaign, O’Toole has emphasized the need for the state to provide tax breaks and financial assistance to small businesses to help them weather the pandemic. She has said that she wants to be a representative of the working class in Albany.

State Senate 59th District

Henrietta, Wheatland, parts of Livingston, Wyoming, and Erie counties

Patrick Gallivan
facebook.com/Senatorgallivan

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Gallivan, a Republican from Elma in Erie County, served two terms as the sheriff there before he was elected to the state Senate in 2010. He touts his work on legislation that enacted a property tax cap in New York, lowered tax rates on corporations and the middle class, and relieved counties of some of their Medicaid costs.

He opposed the rolling back of a law that shielded police disciplinary records from public view. Gallivan also voted against the SAFE Act and he supports its repeal.

Jason Klimek
jasonforstatesenate.com

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Klimek, a Henrietta Democrat, works as a corporate and tax attorney at Boylan Code, where he heads the firm’s cannabis practice group. He describes himself as a strong supporter of cannabis legalization. He has also worked in the film and securities industries.

Among the issues he’s emphasizing in his campaign are reform of the state’s tax system, which he has said relies too much on property taxes to fund education and programs such as Medicaid. He also supports a statewide single-payer system for health care.

State Senate 61st District

Riga, Chili, southwest Rochester, Genesee County, part of Erie County

Jacqualine Berger
bergerforsenate.com

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Berger, a Democrat, was elected to the Amherst Town Board in 2017 and is currently the deputy town supervisor. She has advanced degrees in early childhood and special education and is a lecturer for SUNY Empire State College.

She has a platform that includes expanding job training programs, encouraging the clean-up and reuse of brownfields and vacant buildings, supporting municipal broadband programs that extend high-speed internet access to unserved and underserved areas, increasing state funding for child care, and supporting the community school model, where students and their families also receive support services.

Edward Rath III
edrathforsenate.com

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Rath, an Amherst Republican, is an Erie County legislator who was first elected to the office in 2007. He includes among his achievements writing legislation that would create a property tax stabilization fund for Erie County.

Among the priorities Rath has outlined in his campaign are property tax relief and the repeal of New York’s 2019 bail reform laws. He’s also emphasized his support for law enforcement, criticized legislation establishing public financing of political campaigns, and his desire to be a voice for upstate in the Senate.

State Senate 62nd District

Sweden, Ogden, Orleans County, Niagara County

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Robert Ortt
robortt.com

Ortt, who lives in the Niagara County city of North Tonawanda, currently serves as the Senate Republican leader. He is running uncontested.

Assembly 133rd District

Pittsford, Mendon, Rush, Wheatland, Livingston County, part of Steuben County

ChaRon Sattler-Leblanc
votecharon.com

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Sattler-Leblanc, a Pittsford Democrat, started the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in 2015, 25 years after her cousin and her cousin’s daughter became victims of domestic gun violence. Gun violence is a priority issue for Sattler-Leblanc, and she promises to advocate for evidence-based legislation, while advocating against “nuisance bills that target responsible gun owners.”

She also backs the single-payer New York Health Act and state investment in rural broadband.

Marjorie Byrnes
byrnes4assembly.com

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Byrnes, a Republican from Caledonia in Livingston County, is seeking re-election to the seat she first won in 2018. She’s an attorney who served as a Rochester City Court judge for 10 years. Byrnes supports term limits for all state offices and has vowed to serve no more than three two-year terms in the Assembly.

Her priorities in the Assembly have included increasing funding for New York’s bridge and road repair programs, raising “this region’s voice against Albany’s red tape,” and funding for every school district to have trained, armed school resource officers in their buildings.

Assembly 134th District

Greece, Parma, Ogden

Carolyn Carrol
carolyncarrol.com

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Carrol, a Greece Democrat, works as a fraud investigator with the Monroe County Department of Human Services. On her website, Carrol said she was inspired to run for public office by the work of the late Rep. Louise Slaughter.

As part of her platform, Carrol said she would hold quarterly meetings in the district and hold virtual sessions in which residents of the district could vote on popular bills, both efforts she said are designed to help her understand the opinions of district residents. She also supports a universal health care system for New York.

Josh Jensen
jensenforassembly.com

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Jensen, a Republican, currently sits on the Greece Town Board. He held several staff jobs in state Sen. Joe Robach’s office and now works as client strategy and relations supervisor at Tipping Point Communications.

His priorities in the Assembly would be jumping off what Jensen considers his accomplishments in Greece, including supporting town budgets that reduced taxes, increasing funding for police and public safety, and supporting measures to protect and improve infrastructure.

Dylan Dailor
dailorforassembly.com

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  • Dylan Dailor
Dailor, a Greece resident who is running on the Working Families Party line, is autistic and has written two books about being on the autism spectrum. He also regularly speaks on the topic and has given two TEDx talks.

On his website, Dailor has laid out positions on everything from making school supplies purchased by teachers tax-deductible to land-use reforms. He favors tax rebates for people who retrofit their homes with energy efficient technologies, and wants to repeal and replace the SAFE Act.

Ericka Jones
No website

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Jones, who lives in Greece and is running on the Green Party line, is a long-time disability rights advocate and activist. She works for the Vermont Center for Independent Living as a peer counselor.

Much of Jones’ advocacy work has centered around public transportation, particularly ensuring accessibility to wheelchair users and other disabled people.

Assembly 135th District

Webster, Penfield, Perinton

Mark Johns
facebook.com/AssemblymanMarkJohns

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  • Mark Johns
Johns, a Webster Republican, has held the seat in the Assembly since 2011. Before he was elected to the position, he spent 30 years working for the Monroe County Public Health Department.

A backer of independent redistricting who is often critical of gerrymandering in New York, Johns has also introduced legislation to create a unicameral legislature. He touts his support of state budgets that cut middle-class tax rates and his support of legislation creating the state’s property tax cap. He’s also been pushing for passage of a bill he wrote that would allow each legislator to bring one piece of legislation to the floor for a vote each term.

Jen Lunsford
votejenlunsford.com

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  • Jen Lunsford
Lunsford, a Penfield Democrat, came close to unseating Republican state Sen. Rich Funke in 2018 and was set to challenge him again before she switched to run for the 135th District seat in the Assembly and Funke decided against seeking re-election.

A personal injury attorney, Lunsford’s platform is framed around helping New York recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is an advocate for broad action on climate change, and is calling for infrastructure investment, particularly for projects that reduce carbon emissions or help adapt to climate change. Lunsford favors a 2-percent tax on wealth over $1 billion and a tax on anyone earning $5 million or more a year, and cannabis legalization.

Assembly 136th District

District Irondequoit, Brighton, part of the city of Rochester

Sarah Clark
Sarahclarkforassembly.com

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  • Sarah Clark
Clark, a Rochester Democrat, serves as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s acting state director and previously held key regional and state level positions for former Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Part of Clark’s platform is the protection and expansion of women’s reproductive rights, paid family leave, affordable child care, and anti-sexual harassment and discrimination laws. She believes cannabis should be legalized and efforts be made to counter the harm strict drug laws have had on communities of color. She also supports the New York Health Act, a bill that would establish a single-payer health care system in the state.

Steven Becker
No website available

Becker is an optometrist from Irondequoit who is running on the Libertarian Party line. During an appearance on Radio Free NY, a local Libertarian radio program, Becker was critical of the debt taken on by the state’s public authorities, such as the Dormitory Authority.

While he said the state’s COVID-19 quarantine was excessive, he expressed support for a move made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to relax state regulations that require licensed medical providers from another state to get a New York license to practice here. He added that he’d like to see the policy adopted permanently.

Justin Wilcox

Wilcox, a Brighton Democrat and a Monroe County legislator, has the Independence Party line in this race, but he is not actively campaigning. In June, he lost the Democratic primary to Clark.

Assembly 137 District

District Gates, parts of city of Rochester

Demond Meeks
votedemondmeeks.com

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  • Demond Meeks
Meeks, a Rochester Democrat and labor union organizer with SEIU1199, is uncontested.

The seat is a significant one for Rochester, having been held by David Gantt from 1983 until his death in July. Meeks won the Democratic primary for the seat over Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, a protégé of the influential legislator, in the June primary.

Assembly 138th District

Chili, Henrietta, parts of the city of Rochester

Harry Bronson
bronsonforassembly.com

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  • Harry Bronson
Bronson, a Rochester Democrat, is seeking his sixth term in the seat after prevailing in a June primary race that focused heavily on the future of the Rochester City School District. He opposes a state takeover of the district and has instead supported implementing state academic and fiscal monitors that are to begin their work this academic year.

Throughout his campaign, Bronson has emphasized his progressive record of supporting gay rights, labor rights, and reforms in the criminal justice system.

Pete Vazquez
votevazquez.com

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  • Peter Vazquez.
Vazquez is a Henrietta Republican making his third attempt at unseating Bronson in the general election. He’s an Army veteran, small business owner, a Spanish teacher at the Charles Finney School, and president and CEO of the conservative Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York.

Legislation that would let the public put measures on the ballot, including those to recall elected officials, is part of his platform. He also supports legislation that would abolish the state Board of Regents and promote school choice.

Assembly 139th District

Hamlin, Clarkson, Sweden, Riga, Genesee County, most of Orleans County

Stephen Hawley
hawleyforassembly.com

Hawley, a Batavia Republican, has held the 139th District seat since a special election in 2006. He is the past owner and operator of a farm and owns an insurance agency.

The deputy minority leader of the Assembly, Hawley emphasizes his focus on the agricultural industry and legislation he has authored that would expand agricultural property tax credit eligibility and exempt farms from the state Scaffolding Law, which makes contractors and property owners liable when a worker is injured in an elevation-related fall.

Mark Glogowski
glogowskiforassembly.com

Glogowski is a retired Kodak researcher who is running for the 139th District seat on the Libertarian Party line. His platform includes rescinding the state’s current firearms restrictions, repealing the SAFE Act, and legalizing cannabis. Glogowski says he believes the state budget should not be used to make policy changes and that abortion should be legal only to protect the life of the mother.

This article originally stated an incorrect date for the voter registration deadline. The error has been corrected.

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