Leslie Danks Burke speaks at a protest by Verizon workers in Ithaca back in April. Photo by Mike Blaney

ITHACA, N.Y. —Longtime local advocate and attorney, Leslie Danke Burke, announced on Tuesday that she would run for New York State Senate in the 58th District.

Danks Burke, who previously ran for the seat against Republican incumbent Tom O’Mara in 2016, says that the district — which covers a large portion of the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier, doesn’t have a voice in Albany willing to stand up to special interests and dark money.

“I’ve stood up for years to the powerful interests that work against success for families in our beautiful Southern Tier and Finger Lakes. I’m running for State Senate to give our region the voice we don’t have in Albany now,” said Danks Burke in her campaign announcement. “A lot has changed since 2016, but my opponent hasn’t, and life for many in the 58th district hasn’t gotten better. It’s outrageous that our current Senator says our region has plenty. Our taxes are through the roof, yet our young people are leaving because they can’t find a future here.”

Danks Burke is no political novice, in addition to her 2016 bid for O’Mara’s seat, she ran in the 2012 Democratic primary against Nate Shinagawa and Melissa Dobson for a chance to take on Tom Reed in New York’s 23rd Congressional District — a primary Shinagawa eventually won before falling to Reed in the general.

“I have spent the last fifteen years advocating for public schools, libraries, community colleges, local businesses, support for farmers, and healthcare in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes,” added Danks Burke. “Today is the beginning of our future, and I challenge my opponent to join me in being honest with the voters.”

Danks Burke is also the founder and president of a Public Action Committee, Trailblazers PAC. The organization endorses and mentors candidates that advocate for transparency and open campaign financing — regardless of party affiliation, nationwide.

“To expose the dark money problem, I started a PAC that purposely doesn’t do things PACs are allowed to do — like donate to my campaign or hide money in and out through loopholes. Because even though the law allows it — just like it allows our Senator’s side-job at a lobbying firm — that’s plain wrong,” said Danks Burke.

While no other Democrats have announced, the primary will take place on June 23 with the general election taking place Nov. 3.