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Politics and Government

Sam Rodgers, former SU football player, challenging May for CNY state Senate seat

WRVO News (file photo)
Sam Rodgers outside the Onondaga County Courthouse.

A political newcomer and former Syracuse University football player announced his candidacy to challenge state Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse). Republican Sam Rodgers, 28, said May consistently aligns and votes with a downstate coalition.

Rodgers said policies like eliminating cash bail, are harming central New York. Beyond the current controversy, he said don’t overlook how it was passed.

“Our representatives didn’t listen to district attorneys,” Rodgers said. “They didn’t listen to judges. They didn’t listen to law enforcement. They ignored counter arguments. They ignored mounting opposition. They hid it in the budget, and passed the law anyway.”

Rodgers said there needs to be some judicial discretion to set bail.

“I believe the intent of the law is good,” Rodgers said. “I believe as written, it’s unwise. We really need to reconsider the practical consequences because other states have done criminal justice reform, and it’s turned out a lot better.”

County clerks have also sued the state over implementing the Green Light law, which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license, another policy May has supported.

“If our representatives are not listening to officials with expertise in the field, do you think our voices are being heard as citizens?” Rodgers asked.

Rodgers grew up in State College, Pennsylvania. In addition to SU, he also graduated from Cornell Law School, lives in Syracuse, and is working part-time in the Onondaga County Law Department, finishing up a master’s degree at the Maxwell School. He's the first and only Republican, so far, to announce a run for the nomination. 

The 53rd State Senate District includes most of the city of Syracuse, parts of Oneida County and all of Madison County.