Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell

A Staunch Advocate for Criminal Justice Reform and Same Sex Marriage endorses Jordan:

"I have seen Jordan prove himself to be a thoughtful, thorough, and caring public servant. Jordan has been at the table in Albany for the fights that have mattered most: from passing marriage equality to banning fracking in New York State."

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton 

endorses Jordan:

"Jordan Lesser is, far and away, the most qualified person for this position, and I wholeheartedly, and without reservation, endorse him for this very important Assembly seat."


Ray Schlather

a prominent Tompkins County Attorney endorses Jordan:

"Jordan has demonstrated the common sense, the work ethic and the vision that reflects the values of this community"

Cynthia Brock 

Ithaca Common Council 1st Ward Alderperson endorses Jordan:

"Jordan's Experience in Albany is unmatched...[and it] is what we want in a leader in uncertain times"

Adelaide Park Gomer 

President of Park Foundation endorses Jordan:

"He would start with his feet on the ground, with no steep learning curve. Given the current coronavirus and racial problems, it seems that someone with Assembly experience, a proven track record, and a progressive agenda is our best choice.  Jordan Lesser is that person."


John Dennis

Local Environmental Advocate

endorses Jordan:

"I greatly admire his ability to get things done...I am impressed by Jordan's genial nature, his accessibility, and his drive"

Jamie Dangler

Statewide Vice President for

United University Professionals (UUP) endorses Jordan:

"Jordan embodies the values and commitment we need to fight for strong and accessible P-16 education, equity for all, protection of our environment, and adequate funding for the public good"

Rich DePaolo

Town of Ithaca Councilperson

endorses Jordan:

"Jordan Lesser is not a newcomer.

He has built valuable alliances in Albany. He stands unequivocally for the progressive values we champion and has proven that he has the intellect, skill and tenacity to deliver."

Walter Hang

Founder of Toxics Targeting

endorses Jordan:

"Jordan was our secret weapon in winning the shale fracking battle.  Whenever we had a complex legal, technical or regulatory question to investigate, comprehend and decide, Jordan was there to help resolve the matter, no matter the hour day or night, no matter how knotty or vexing the issue."


Margaret Johnson, PhD.

Legislative Aide to

Assemblymember Barbara Lifton endorses Jordan:

"The best choice is someone with progressive values and integrity who is ready now to navigate legislature's complex dynamic. That person is Jordan"

Linda Smith

Former Chief of Staff for Assemblymember Barbara Lifton

endorses Jordan:

"The most qualified candidate to effectively represent the district is Jordan Lesser"

Steve Johnson.jpg

Steve Johnson

Retired Vice President for Government and Community Relations

at Cornell University 

endorses Jordan:

"His legal training, networks and years of experience will enable him to bring meaningful benefits to Tompkins and Cortland Counties"

Between the corona virus, divisive national politics, and a growing social justice movement, there has not been much bandwidth left for unpacking info on all seven candidates running in the NYS 125th assembly race.

Some even voted early by absentee ballot before Assemblywoman Lifton’s endorsement of Jordan Lesser.  It is important to know that New York State election law permits in-person voting even after submission of an absentee ballot. Once you vote in person, your absentee ballot is then superseded by this and becomes null and void. “If a person whose name is on an envelope as a voter has already voted in person at such election….such envelope shall be laid aside unopened.”

As Assemblywoman Lifton said there is really only one viable choice in this race. Jordan’s experience at the State level as her legislative counsel is unmatched. His frontline experience over the last 10 years is what sets him apart.  Among his substantive work is the 7-year battle to pass the hydrofracking ban: he was the key inside person writing legislation and briefs, and building alliances with assemblymembers to pressure Cuomo.  Jordan knows how to make change. Experience counts.

Patti Jacobson

Ithaca, NY

In 2008, I moved to Albany after serving 12 years on the Tompkins County Legislature. Living in the Albany environment has given me a special perspective on what it takes to be an effective legislator at the State level. It seems to me that Jordan Lesser is the most qualified and has the skill and talents necessary to serve the 125th District with honor and distinction.

What I’ve learned about Albany is that experience counts. It’s important to understand the mechanisms that govern the State. It’s important to have a network that you can call upon to support your agenda and help you magnify your impact. It’s important to be dedicated to public service as a positive force that can improve people’s lives. Jordan Lesser brings these talents and more to the job and will use them effectively on behalf of the District and the State as a whole.

I lived in the 125th for almost 60 years and I still care deeply about its future. That’s why I offer my support for Jordan Lesser in this important election. He will not disappoint you.

Barbara Blanchard

Former Tompkins County Legislator

I think we need someone with a strong sense of public duty, honesty, and commitment in these uncertain times. Jordan Lesser has all those qualities, plus years of valuable experience at the State Legislative level. Perhaps because he’s already been working in the NYS Assembly
at a high policy-making level, to me he seems more able to turn ideals into real solutions, to figure ways to change the dynamics of state government, to help make people’s lives better.

David Ritchie

Retired SUNY librarian and

Former VP for Academics,

Cortland Chapter of United University Professions (UUP)

I have advocated on numerous state issues over the years,  and I understand how complicated Albany is and how hard it is to get important legislation done.  We have a strong field of candidates with good ideas, but it's clear to me that Jordan Lesser, after 10 years as Assemblywoman Lifton's key staffer, is the person most qualified and most able to continue Lifton's successful work, most critically on Climate Change, and on the full range of progressive issues. Jordan is my choice for Assembly.

Lynn Leopold

Member of Finger Lakes Land Trust

During these critical times we need an experienced effective leader representing New York State’s 125th district. Jordan Lesser has unparalleled experience among the candidates running for this office. He is a skilled attorney with expertise in environmental law. He has already had great success in drafting and expediting legislation of great importance to our region. We wholeheartedly support Jordan Lesser to be our next representative.

Judy Abrams & Sherman Kelly

Residents in Ithaca, NY

I am supporting Jordan Lesser because he will be a highly effective legislator for the 125th District.  Jordan really knows his way around Albany.  As Barbara Lifton's chief legislative aide, he helped create and guide important legislation ranging from marriage equality to environmental protection.  He has intimate knowledge of the budget process and understands the value of building coalitions.  His experience, compassion and intelligence make him the best person to honor and continue the service that Barbara Lifton has provided to our district.  

Paul Mazzerella

Former, long-time Executive Director Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services

"Lesser is More" works for me!  Jordan Lesser's experience in Albany as Barbara Lifton's General Counsel gives him considerable advantage in experience along with his proven good judgement,  imagination and proven track record... all things we are in dire need of from our elected officials!  


Our next global pandemic will be climate change! Jordan knows that very well and has shown his ability to avert environmental threats with his excellent anti-fracking and garbage incineration bills -both very important to preserving our physical and mental health.

Victoria Romanoff,

Architectural preservationist, visual artist, and long-time county resident



At the beginning of this Assembly race, I said that I wasn’t going to do an early endorsement and that I thought all the candidates should go to work on their campaigns and let the voters get to know them all – but I also said that I reserved the right to endorse for this seat I’ve held for 18 years, and for this district that I care so much about.

With a crowded field, whom most people seem to view as competent and caring people – and they are – I keep having more and more people asking me to weigh in and let them know who I think would be most able to pick up the baton and continue the work I’ve been doing. The question I keep getting is: “Who can continue the kind of progressive leadership we expect and need and who really
understands how things work in Albany?” With so many asking me, I feel I have a responsibility to answer that question.


The person that I think is most prepared and best qualified to continue this work is Jordan Lesser. Jordan has been my Legislative Counsel in Albany for 10 years. He’s very bright, hard-working, and deeply committed to our progressive values -- women’s rights, civil rights, workers’ rights and human rights. Very importantly, he is a true expert, with his Environmental Law Certificate and
his very extensive experience working for me, on the most pressing issue we’re facing -- Climate Change.


He was my key staffer in the seven-year fracking battle, where he did crucial legal and legislative work. He’s one of the unsung heroes of that critical victory on High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing. He did a tremendous amount of invaluable work for me – and, importantly, for this district! Of course, after the fracking battle, he continued working as my key aide on the Climate issue; he understands where this issue stands in Albany and will be ready on Day One to keep pushing that critical effort forward. He’s also very knowledgeable about the whole range of environmental issues that we care about so much in this district – water quality and Harmful Algal Blooms, protection of air and land,
invasive species, plastics and solid waste issues, among others.


Most importantly, I think, he’s been, not just “in the room,” but “at the table,” working closely with other legislative staff, as well as with many, many constituents and advocates on issues too numerous to list. As my aide in Albany, he’s very knowledgeable, and cares about the whole range of issues that are important to this district – PreK-12 Education, Higher Education, Healthcare, Transportation, Child Care, Economic Development, and more. As an attorney, he’s well-versed in Ethics and Constitutional issues, and is deeply committed to Civil Rights, which always play an important role in the work of a legislator, and are, justifiably, under a strong spotlight now.

This is a time of great challenge and uncertainty. Jordan understands those tremendous challenges and will be able to put his extensive experience in Albany to work immediately. I know he’ll work very hard for this district, with intelligence, energy and integrity. I also know he will listen carefully and with respect to all the constituents of this district -- and he will make us proud.

Jordan Lesser is, far and away, the most qualified person for this position, and I wholeheartedly, and without reservation, endorse him for this very important Assembly seat.

Barbara Lifton

Assemblymember for the 125th District


It is with pride and confidence that I share my endorsement of Jordan Lesser for New York’s 125th Assembly District. As the author of bills repealing 50-a and legalizing gay marriage in New York State, I know what it takes to pass ambitious, impactful legislation, and know Jordan has what it takes to make a difference. Jordan’s deep understanding of the law, Albany operations, and local needs will allow him to be a valued and effective Assembly Member.

Throughout his time working for my friend Barbara Lifton, I have seen Jordan prove himself to be a thoughtful, thorough, and caring public servant. Jordan has been at the table in Albany for the fights that have mattered most: from passing marriage equality to banning fracking in New York State. Passing meaningful legislation takes the patience to work through complex policy details, the vision to understand what is needed most, and the tenacity to keep pushing until it’s done right. Jordan’s work banning fracking in New York State proved he has these skills and more, and his expertise on environmental legislation will allow him to hit the ground running and lead on the most pressing issues of our times.

Jordan’s values, temperament, and knowledge will make him an excellent representative for the people of the 125th Assembly District.  


Assemblymember Danny O'Donnell

69th District 

Chair of the Codes Subcommittee on Criminal Procedure

Chair of the Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee



There are seven great candidates running to replace retiring Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, 125 th NYS Assembly. However, Jordan Lesser  stands out among the field for very practical reasons.

With COVID dominating our lives, and calls for social, economic and planetary justice rocking our communities across the land, the challenges in New York State are greater than ever. We need someone in Albany who knows how to meet those challenges, and who can hit the ground running. Jordan is unique among the candidates in both respects because of his deep and effective Albany experience.
State-level experience: Jordan knows how to get things done in Albany: 
            Jordan has worked for the past ten years at the forefront of every major issue in Albany as Legal Counsel to Barbara. He was her principal policy person and confidante. Jordan knows how to navigate the complex legislative processes in Albany; and, he has developed the many necessary connections and allies among staff and other legislators who will work with him to make a difference.


           For sure, Jordan understandably has been recognized for his critical work with Barbara in championing comprehensive environmental protection.

               ● He was the key inside person in banning hydrofracking in New York, drafting legislation, writing sign-on letters for Assembly members to pressure the Cuomo administration, and  authoring three legal briefs to uphold zoning laws that banned gas drilling at the local level.
               ● He drafted and negotiated legislation blocking waste incinerators in the Finger Lakes.
               ● He held a seat at the table in this year’s budget to secure $700 million in the Environmental Bond Act for climate mitigation programs. 
               ● He served as Barbara’s delegate to the Regional Harmful Algae Blooms Roundtable.

               ● He drafted and negotiated legislation for the Aquatic Invasive Species Transport law.


For this and more, Jordan’s work for the 125 th district has been recognized nationally. He was one of only 48 officials across the country to be selected for a national fellowship by the Council of State Governments in 2019. 


But, at the same time, he was doing the mundane work of governing behind the scenes in less dramatic ways. For example, Jordan and Barbara developed, negotiated, and moved legislation for the recent creation of a third Tompkins County Court judgeship, for expansion of daycare facilities, for affordable housing, for ensuring equal pay for equal work, for public transportation, for acquiring new
parkland, and for much more. 


Jordan grew up in this community. For those of us who have watched the arc of his career, he has demonstrated the common sense, the work ethic and the vision that reflects the values of this community.

In short, Jordan has proven that he immediately can advance the long legacy of progressive work championed by Marty Luster and then by Barbara Lifton. There is no time to waste. We must elect someone who can get things done.

Without reservation I commend Jordan Lesser to you. Please join me in electing Jordan to represent the 125th Assembly District. 

Respectfully yours,

Raymond M. Schlather

Schlather, Stumbar, Parks & Salk, LLP

Ithaca, NY



Jordan Lesser has the experience we need to effectively represent us in the NYS Assembly.


For many years I have worked directly with Jordan in Albany, witnessing his ability to analyze and present information to back legislative action in support of public education, environmental protection, and economic progress that benefits all. He understands the legislative committee structure, which is key to getting bills passed, as well as the practical steps it takes to develop and advance legislation. Jordan embodies the values and commitment we need to fight for strong and accessible P-16 education, equity for all, protection of our environment, and adequate funding for the public good.


The strength of his convictions is matched by his willingness to listen and his skills in translating community values and objectives into effective law-making and funding for public needs.


Jamie Dangler

United University Professions

SUNY Cortland

Cortland County


I am proud to support Jordan Lesser in the race to continue Barbara Lifton’s legacy of strong
leadership and representation in the 125 th Assembly District. As a Town of Ithaca legislator
since 2008, and an activist for years prior, I have had the good fortune to work with many
government officials, some of whom are also on the primary ballot this year.

But, as Assemblywoman Lifton indicated by her recent endorsement, there is really only one
viable choice in this race. Jordan’s experience at the State level as Lifton’s legislative counsel is
unequalled. His frontline action on the most pressing issues of our time, such as climate change, the environment, and social justice, is what sets him apart in this election. Jordan might have less local name recognition than other candidates (even though he grew up here), but that is because he has been in Albany for the past ten years, actually doing the very work that we will be calling on our rep to achieve.

When the primary is over, we will continue to benefit from the service of the candidates we are being asked to choose from, some of whom are our personal friends. But this is not the “Send Your Friend to Albany” sweepstakes. We have an obligation to elect our most-qualified, most experienced and most impactful candidate to represent us in an environment that can quell
even the most well-intentioned idealists. Jordan Lesser is not a newcomer. He has built valuable alliances in Albany. Jordan is passionate enough to lead, but collaborative enough to govern effectively. He stands unequivocally for the progressive values we champion and has proven that he has the intellect, skill and tenacity to deliver. Please join me in supporting Jordan Lesser for Assembly.

Rich DePaolo

Town of Ithaca Councilperson



I want all activists who have worked with me to safeguard New York's public health and the environment to know that as a private citizen I am wholeheartedly supporting Jordan Lesser to represent the 125th Assembly District where I live and raised my three sons.  I not only believe he is the best candidate, I believe he is the only the candidate who is fit to serve in that important position given his unmatched experience, proven track record and rare personal qualities.


Jordan served as Barbara Lifton's legislative counsel for more than 10 years.  He is a native Ithacan and attended Cornell before completing his law degree at Tulane.


I worked closely with Jordan on a level that is hard to believe during the entire arc of the shale fracking battle.  I know him, respect him and rely on his legal, public policy and advocacy skills, which I consider at the highest level based on my more than 40 years of experience working as an environmental advocate in the New York State Capitol, including running a five-year campaign to prevent New York from being fracked. 


Jordan was our secret weapon in winning the shale fracking battle.  Whenever we had a complex legal, technical or regulatory question to investigate, comprehend and decide, Jordan was there to help resolve the matter, no matter the hour day or night, no matter how knotty or vexing the issue.  He is absolutely reliable, stunningly capable and steadfastly rock solid.  As an attorney, he also was responsible for filing an amicus brief in the successful Dryden Home Rule Legal case.


For all these reasons, Jordan has worked amazingly effectively with Assemblywoman Lifton, Assembly environmental leadership, his colleagues and activists.


Jordan is honest, open-minded, friendly, hard-working, battle-tested and worthy of the highest public trust.  He is a person of the finest character.  I have never heard him raise his voice, seen him make an error in judgment or reveal any personal shortcoming.  It is a privilege to offer Jordan my highest endorsement for election to the New York State Assembly as my representative of the 125th District.


Most importantly, Jordan is a fighter in the best sense.  He is intensely committed to Global Climate Change Action, toxic clean up and protection of public health and the environment.  I want all activists to know that they can trust Jordan to represent their interests openly, honestly, zealously and competently in the best tradition of the New York State Assembly.  He is a doer, not a talker. 


Just as Barbara Lifton single-handedly made an incredible difference in the outcome of New York's shale fracking fight by organizing her legislative colleagues to take effective action, I believe Jordan can similarly achieve great victories by working with Legislators, activists and organizations who were instrumental in winning that epic battle, which remains unprecedented in American environmental history.


I urge you to join me in supporting him in every way we can down the homestretch of the primary election campaign. 


Walter Hang

Founder of Toxics Targeting



Having had the opportunity to visit Jordan in Barbara Lifton's office in Albany and to participate in a negotiation session with three DEC officials, I greatly admire Jordan's ability to get things done using measured, quiet diplomacy in the halls of power. 


I am impressed by Jordan's genial nature, his insights, his accessibility, and his drive. His concerns about the environment and climate change particularly resonate for me. 


I am whole-heartedly endorsing him because of his unmatched experience in the legislative chambers in Albany advancing progressive legislation. Jordan's knowledge of both successful and unsuccessful legislation on issues such as health care, environment and workers' rights is encyclopedic. When it comes to drafting legislation and advancing it in Albany, his legal training and experience to date make him by far the most qualified candidate.  


I am sure as an Assemblyman, he will represent all his constituents with fairness and effectiveness. 


John V. Dennis

Local Environmental Advocate




I enthusiastically endorse Jordan Lesser in his run for the NYS Assembly.  As Assemblywoman Lifton’s former Chief of Staff, I worked very closely with Jordan for many years and can unequivocally attest to his exceptional and unique qualifications for the position. Jordan has been in the loop and at the table on many critically-important issues facing the 125th District and our state. 


His expertise in environmental law played a critical role in our ultimate success against fracking, and is absolutely essential for continuing to tackle head-on the ongoing threat of climate change. He understands the budget process and how crucial programs, agencies and local governments get funded. 


During his years of service in the Assembly he has developed a productive working relationship with elected officials, central staff and state agencies. He has met with countless constituents and has a keen understanding of the needs of the district. 


He will be able to hit the ground running on Day 1, prioritizing strong environmental policies, equitable and robust funding for public education and child care, while continuing to advocate for a fair tax system underpinning a fair economy. He will fight against the ever-growing inequality in our state to create more good jobs and lift more individuals and families into the middle class. With Jordan in the Assembly, you can be assured you have a compassionate and strong leader who will work hard to represent all parts of the district with equal fervor and commitment.

Linda Smith

Barbara Lifton’s former Chief of Staff

UAW member, former president of Local 1326

Board member of Midstate Council for Occupational Safety and Health 

Former President of Midstate Central Labor Council  



We need empathetic, well-grounded and clear-thinking leaders representing us in Albany. Having worked with Democratic candidate for Assembly Jordan Lesser as a fellow staffer in Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton’s office, and having worked for Assemblyman Marty Luster, I know that Jordan will be a fine, strong progressive leader like those before him.


Jordan is someone I trust completely to show up fully, day after day -- for all of us. He has the ability to listen with great focus yet think independently, cutting through chaos to find solutions. He has shown commitment, vision and action on a range of progressive issues in his 10 years working for the people of the 125th Assembly District. 


While the other candidates in this race have good qualities, they face a steep learning curve. The best choice is someone with progressive values and integrity who is ready NOW to navigate legislature’s complex dynamic…that person is Jordan.

Margaret Johnson, PhD.

Legislative Aide to Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton


©2020 by Jordan A. Lesser.