121st State Assembly District = 127th Assembly District: Rematch Between Miller & Stirpe


On April 18, Democrat Al Stirpe of North Syracuse announced that he will challenge incumbent Don Miller for the assembly seat. Stirpe served two terms in the assembly before losing to Miller in 2010. For more info on Stirpe, see his profile under Races & Candidates.

With a newly designed district and more voters, state Assemblyman Don Miller, R-Clay, is campaigning for a second term in Albany in the November election.

The new district is the 127th Assembly District, replacing the area formerly known as the 121st Assembly District in the western part of Onondaga County. But the redesigned district has much the same voter makeup, with a slight advantage for the Republican party.

As of early April, Miller had no challenger. The local Democratic party will soon announce its candidate, said Vita DeMarchi, chair of the Onondaga County Democratic Committee.

The position pays $79,500 annually, with additional pay for committee and party leadership positions.

Election day is Nov. 6.

Miller did not respond to interview requests for this story.

Redistricting is the redrawing of legislative districts to account for population changes. The constitutionally-mandated process happens every 10 years and affects congressional, statewide and local seats. Data for redistricting is derived from the Census Bureau.

In New York state, a bipartisan legislative task force oversaw redistricting. A final plan was approved by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March.

After redistricting, the 127th Assembly District keeps the western Onondaga County towns of Cicero, Clay, Manlius and Pompey. New to the district are Fabius and Tully on the county’s southern border.Adding those towns means the assembly seat will represent 134,105 people. That’s an increase of 5,016 — or 3.9 percent — over the old district.

The new 127th Assembly District’s voter enrollment includes:

  •  33,919 — or 35 percent — Republican
  •  29,479 — or 31 percent — Democratic
  •  24,316 — or 26 percent — unaffiliated with any party

In 2010, Miller defeated Democratic incumbent Al Stirpe by 953 votes. It was Miller’s first run for office. His earlier political experience included advising others. In the 1990s, Miller ran a political consulting firm that worked on Republican campaigns in New York state and across the nation, according his campaign website.

Miller, 46, is a native of Liverpool and graduated from SUNY Buffalo with a degree in political science. In 1990, Miller served in President George H.W. Bush’s cabinet as a member of the scheduling and advance staff.

From 1997 to 2005, Miller taught university-level students in China. He returned to the U.S. and in 2006, worked at JADAK LLC — a high-tech healthcare engineering firm in North Syracuse.

Miller and his wife Tracy live in Liverpool with their two daughters.

In his first term in the state assembly, Miller introduced bills to cap state property taxes and to limits term for elected officials. Neither were enacted.

He is on the assembly’s committees on aging; banks; cities; consumer affairs and protections; corporations, authorities and commissions; and labor.

Miller has won praise and support from his fellow Onondaga County Republicans.

“When looking at a candidate you have to not only evaluate their position on various issues, but you have to decide if they are electable,” said Jim Corl Sr., one of Miller’s top supporters and Cicero’s GOP town chair.

He supports Miller’s efforts to pass term limits, Corl said. “The only way to bring about a major change in state government,” Corl said, “is to stop professional politicians from taking up a life residency in Albany.”

For his re-election fundraising, as of January 2012, Miller had just over $6,000 in his war chest. That’s according to the campaign’s last available financial disclosure report from the New York State Board of Elections.

Almost all of that money came from four individual donors, including $4,100 in support from Roger Burdick, owner of the Burdick Chevrolet dealership in Cicero. The January report also reflected the campaign’s $20,000 repayment of a personal loan from Miller.

The next campaign finance disclosure filing date is in July.

(Jared Kraham is a junior with dual majors in political science and broadcast journalism.)

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