2019 will have a full political calendar


When it comes to elections and politics, 2019 will be a busy year. There are no federal or state elected offices to be filled but there are many local and county offices on the ballots, including all the Oneida County Board of Legislators, county executive, and mayor and Common Council in Rome, numerous town and village offices and, as every year, school board seats.

And one party will be in control of Albany, while Republicans in the 22nd Congressional District will consider who, if anyone, will challenge a first-term Democratic representative in 2020.

Here is a look ahead at what’s known or can be reasonably assumed will happen in 2019 in politics and elections:

Three state lawmakers from western and central Oneida County will join their respective houses when the Legislature convenes Jan. 9.

Marianne Buttenschon will be the new member of the Assembly from the 119th District, replacing Anthony Brindisi, a fellow Democrat who ran successfully for Congress. The district includes Rome, Utica and central Oneida County. Buttenschon grew up in Whitestown and now lives in Marcy. She is dean of the Mohawk Valley Community College institute for Emergency Preparedness and Public Service.

John Salka, the Brookfield supervisor, will become the representative for Assembly District 121 after defeating veteran lawmaker Bill Magee in November. Salka will be in the Republican minority in the Assembly following Magee, who had been chair of the Agriculture Committee. The district includes all of Madison County, Sherrill, Vernon, Augusta, Marshall, Sangerfield, Bridgewater, and most of Otsego County. Salka had run against Magee twice before.

In the Senate, Rachel May will take office representing District 53, which includes Madison County, the city of Oneida, town of Kirkland and portions of Onondaga County. May, director of sustainability education at Syracuse University, defeated veteran incumbent David Valesky in the September Democratic primary. Valesky had been part of a group of breakaway Democrats who occasionally sided with Republicans to give the GOP control of that chamber, but May will be part of the new majority, making both chambers and the governor’s office under Democratic control.

Sen. Joe Griffo, R-Rome, will return after facing no opposition in either the Republican primary or general election. In December, he was named deputy minority leader, effectively the second highest-ranking Republican in the Senate.

Likely in early March, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente will give his annual state of the county address. Picente, a Republican, is nearing the end of his fourth four-year term.

At some point, Picente may announce a new way to distribute revenue from gaming revenue from the Oneida Indian Nation with municipalities and school districts with Oneida land. In November, he and the Legislature de-funded a plan that had been in effect after municipalities that had sued over the funds withdrew their litigation and asked to join and announced plans to renegotiate. The county receives a share of gaming revenue in lieu of taxes as part of a 1993 settlement between the state and the Oneida Nation.

At the state level, a question in March may be whether a budget can be easily agreed to with Democrats controlling the Assembly, Senate and governor’s office. Typically, the governor negotiates with leaders of the two chambers, who have been from different parties in most recent years, as the April 1 deadline for a budget nears. Whether having all three parts under one party control creates smooth negotiations is not necessarily guaranteed, however, as lawmakers and the governor may not share identical priorities.

In April are elections for village-level offices. Mayoral terms expiring this year include those in Barneveld, Boonville, Camden, Clinton, Holland Patent, New Hartford, New York Mills, Oneida Castle, Oriskany, Oriskany Falls, Remsen, Sylvan Beach, Vernon, Waterville. Village trustees will be chosen as well in most communities.

In May are elections for seats on school boards and referenda on districts’ budgets for the coming school year. In June is the first day for signing designating petitions for offices to be filled in November.  Various nominating-process deadlines come through July and August leading to primaries in September.

In November, headline elections will likely be for county executive and Legislature, as all seats are up for election, and in Rome, for mayor. Jacqueline Izzo’s term ends at the end of the calendar year, as do the terms of Common Council members.

Among town offices to be filled are those of supervisors in Annsville, Augusta, Ava, Boonville, Camden, Deerfield, Florence, Floyd, Forestport, Kirkland, Paris, Remsen, Steuben, Trenton, Vernon, Verona, Vienna, Western and Whitestown.


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