A young attorney and former Syracuse University football captain is trying his hand at politics. Republican Sam Rodgers officially launched his campaign Wednesday, hoping to unseat freshman Democratic State Senator Rachel May in November.
Rodgers says people in the 53rd district are starting to question some of the priorities of democrats.
"A lot of the anger and frustration with what's going on now is the one party rule in Albany, and that fact that laws can just be pushed through. We're just not considering alternatives. What are the practical consequences of the laws that are being passed."
For example, Rodgers told supporters, the controversial criminal justice reform laws.
"Our representatives didn't listen to district attorneys, who we elect to enforce our criminal justice. They didn't listen to judges, who we elect for their neutral discretion. They didn't listen to law enforcement, who we rely on daily to keep us safe. They ignored counter-arguments, hid it in the budget, and passed the law anyway."
Rodgers says other examples include the Green Light bill allowing undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses, and the Farmworker Labor Act, which he says will devastate local farms. Rodgers says he’d take a more pragmatic approach to weigh the impact on the diverse district.
"If you think of the people we have in the city of Syracuse, to Cicero, to Madison County, completely different things matter in their lives. That's where I can step in and think about these different circumstances. Not someone approaching it with an agenda. I want to listen, learn, and then advocate."
Rodgers has a law degree from Cornell University, and was just admitted to the bar. The 28-year-old Syracuse resident works part-time in the Onondaga County law department, and is earning his Masters in Public administration at SU. He was a long snapper for the SU football team from 2011 to 2014.