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In New York's 128th Assembly District race, a familiar matchup returns

Ellen Abbott
Republican candidate for the 128th Assembly District John Sharon during an event on Wednesday.

For the third time in six years, Republican John Sharon will challenge Democrat Sam Roberts for the 128th Assembly District seat.

Sharon admits going into a race in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans overwhelmingly, it doesn’t look promising.

“Just do that red-blue math, the numbers are not good," Sharon said. "But I’m not concerned about that, because I’m trying to reach out to the people who live here. And say, look, I’ll work for you, I will listen to you, I’ll be accessible, I’ll be visible, I’ll give you everything I’ve got every day.”

Sharon contends that Roberts, who’s running for his third term, has not been very visible in his six years in the state Assembly.

Sharon, a private practice attorney in Syracuse, says he has a chance this time against Roberts, because the first time he was just getting his political feet wet, and the second time, he was among several Republicans who lost elections in a wave of Democrats who turned out for the presidential election.

“If you look at the numbers closely, I think that in a race with just my opponent, I’m a lot closer than you’d think," Sharon said. "I think that this community is ready for something different, and ready for someone who’s willing to do the hard work to address some of these issues."

He also says ideologically, he doesn’t fit in any particular hole.

"I consider myself sort of a pragmatist with fairly Republican leanings in the area of fiscal control and things like that," Sharon explained. "On the other hand, as a trial lawyer and a lawyer, I am absolutely a soldier in the world of civil rights.”

Initial issues Sharon is focusing on include crime, infrastructure and the future of I-81, and job creation. The 128th Assembly District includes parts of the city of Syracuse, and the towns of Onondaga, Dewitt and Salina.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.