NY21 Dem hopeful Steven Burke talks jobs, infrastructure

MACOMB — While Aaron Woolf has sucked up all of the oxygen from the left in the race to replace outgoing Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh), the federal representative who announced earlier this year that he is retiring after a two-term stint, another Democrat is vying for his party’s nomination: Steven Burke.

“I saw a vacancy when they picked a novice,” Burke said in between mouthfuls of Raisin Bran when reached by phone at his home in this small town in St. Lawrence County. “With the problems occurring in the district and the crossroads we’re at, they’ll eat him up alive in Washington DC and he won’t know how to bring the necessary help to the North Country that we need.”

Burke is referring to Aaron Woolf, the filmmaker/grocery store owner who was endorsed by 11 of the 12 Democratic county committees on Feb. 12 — Essex County issued a belated endorsement on March 27 — but didn’t speak to the press or make any public appearances until a month later.


Burke said he has “negotiative experience” and is familiar with how legislatures work, attributes that he said make him the best man for the job.

The candidate currently serves as a councilman in Macomb. In addition, he said he once worked for the state senate as legislative assistant, did a stint with Perry Duryea, the state assembly speaker from 1969-74, and was a Middlecountry Central School District board member.

“As a young man, I interned in the US Supreme Court for a short time,” he said. “It was incredible and I didn’t realize how important the experience was until years later.”


Burke said Congress isn’t a miracle worker when it comes to job creation and legislators should take a pro-active approach in resurrecting the moribund economy.

“The entire country is now experiencing what the North County has been feeling for many years,” he said. “We have to utilize ideas and get the country moving. We have to try to raise all ships with an incoming tide of ideas.”

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