Unshackle Upstate makes legislative endorsements

Gazette file photo


A pro-business, anti-tax group comprised of 80 businesses and trade organization has endorsed more than 30 candidates  — both incumbents and challengers —for the state Senate and Assembly.

Unshackle Upstate, through its political action committee UPAC, announced its slate of 2016 legislative endorsements. The bi-partisan list is comprised of 11 Senate candidates and 22 Assembly candidates.

In its most recent policy agenda, Unshackle Upstate is pushing to reverse the $15-an-hour minimum wage requirements being phased-in across New York; revisit hydrofracking in the Southern Tier; implement a permanent 2 percent spending increase cap on state budget spending and reform the state’s “Scaffold Law” to reduce liability on construction companies.

The group also lobbies to consolidate local governments and services, create more workforce development programs, and redevelop upstate cities.

“Voters across upstate are concerned about sluggish job growth and the overall health of the economy. The 33 candidates that we’ve endorsed today will fight for a pro-growth agenda that includes tax relief, sensible regulatory reforms, a better business climate and a brighter future for upstate New York,” said Greg Biryla, executive director of Unshackle Upstate. “We’re proud to support these candidates and encourage upstate voters to support them with us on Election Day.”


Senate endorsements include:

  • Julie Killian (R) Sen. District 37
  • Terrence Murphy (R) Sen. District 40
  • George Amedore (R) Sen. District 46
  • Jim Tedisco (R) Sen. District 49
  • John DeFrancisco (R) Sen. District 50
  • Fred Akshar (R) Sen. District 52
  • Rich Funke (R) Sen. District 55
  • Tom O’Mara (R) Sen. District 58
  • Pat Gallivan (R) Sen. District 59
  • Chris Jacobs (R) Sen. District 60
  • Rob Ortt (R) Sen. District 62


Assembly endorsements include:

  • Karl Brabenec (R) Asm. District 98
  • Pete Lopez (R) Asm. District 102
  • Steve McLaughlin (R) Asm. District 107
  • Dan Stec (R) Asm. District 114
  • John Byrne (R) Asm. District 116
  • Ken Blankenbush (R) Asm. District 117
  • Marc Butler (R) Asm. District 118
  • Will Barclay (R) Asm. District 120
  • Cliff Crouch (R) Asm. District 122
  • Gary Finch (R) Asm. District 126
  • Bob Oaks (R) Asm. District 130
  • Brian Kolb (R) Asm. District 131
  • Phil Palmesano (R) Asm. District 132
  • Peter Lawrence (R) Asm. District 134
  • Steve Hawley (R) Asm. District 139
  • Robin Schimminger (D) Asm. District 140
  • Mike Norris (R) Asm. District 144
  • Angelo Morinello (R) Asm. District 145
  • Ray Walter (R) Asm. District 146
  • Dave DiPietro (R) Asm. District 147
  • Joe Giglio (R) Asm. District 148
  • Andy Goodell (R) Asm. District 15


Prior to receiving Unshackle Upstate’s endorsement, the 33 candidates – comprised of incumbents and challengers – were vetted using the organization’s legislative scorecard grades, questionnaire responses and input from regional business leaders.

Following today’s endorsements, Unshackle Upstate and its leadership team will continue to monitor other races across the state and may make additional endorsements prior to November 8.