30-second spot comes on heels of growing support, strong performance in recent debates, and fundraising prowess as race enters final week


ELMIRA, N.Y. – State Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke today released a hard-hitting new TV adcriticizing incumbent Tom O’Mara for his employment by an Albany lobbying firm, and his vote against ending the statute of limitations for child victims of sexual assault.

The 30-second spot, entitled “Fighting for Us,” opens with the message that New York has been identified as a “national shame” for failing to protect child sex abuse victims.

The ad calls out Senator O’Mara for getting ”a second paycheck from a lobbying firm in Albany,” while voting down legislation aimed at extending justice to child victims of sexual assault. The ad goes on to contrast O’Mara with Danks Burke, who is currently a community advocate and local public school parent.

The bill in question is the Child Victims Act, which would eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual assault crimes committed against children. Currently, child sexual assault survivors only have until their 23rd birthday to seek justice. Despite a strong push by victims’ advocates and legislators, the bill failed to come to a vote in the waning days of the last legislative session.

This wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of Senate Democrats, who pushed for a vote on the bill’s content as part of an amendment attached to a human trafficking bill. None of the Senate’s Republican majority supported the effort, and the proposed amendment was voted down.

The ad highlights incumbent O’Mara’s ties to lobbyists. O’Mara is a partner at Barclay Damon LLP, a high-powered registered Albany lobbying firm that counts many energy, gas and fracking companies among its clients. O’Mara’s many anti-environmental votes during his chairmanship of the Environmental Conservation Committee have led to questions about O’Mara’s independence on environmental matters before the legislature.

At stake is the Senate’s 58th District – one of the largest geographic districts in New York, covering five rural counties in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes. With a year-long campaign culminating, the Danks Burke campaign continues to accelerate in the final stretch, owing to recent strong debate performances and a fundraising apparatus that has out-raised O’Mara in every filing period since the race began.


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 7 and 11-year-old daughters, Sophia and Anna.

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