George H. Winner, Jr. was born in Elmira on July 31, 1949, and is a lifelong resident of the district he represents in the Senate.
Following 13 consecutive terms in the New York State Assembly, Mr. Winner was elected in the November 2004 General Election to represent New York State’s 53rd Senatorial District. The 53rd District is comprised of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates counties, and a portion of Tompkins County (the city and town of Ithaca, and the towns of Enfield, Newfield and Ulysses).
Mr. Winner was appointed Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Ethics in 2005 and held this chairmanship until January 2007, when he was named Chairman of the Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, one of the Senate’s senior committees. Mr. Winner served as Chairman of the Legislative Commission on the Development of Rural Resources from 2005 to 2009.
He currently serves as the Ranking Republican member of the Investigations Committee. During his Senate tenure, Mr. Winner has also served as a member of the following Senate Standing Committees: Agriculture; Crime Victims, Crime and Correction; Elections; Energy and Telecommunications; Health; Higher Education; and Judiciary. He has authored numerous state laws, including laws to implement New York’s first comprehensive strategy to combat the illegal drug methamphetamine; strengthen the Finger Lakes and statewide wine industry; roll back state regulations detrimental to New York agriculture; enhance efforts to expand the availability of high-speed Internet to rural, upstate regions; ease the local property tax burden through local shared services and other efforts to encourage municipal cooperation; enhance upstate economic development and job creation efforts; and reform the state’s ethics and lobbying rules, among others.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Mr. Winner represented a portion of New York’s Southern Tier for 26 years in the Assembly following his election in November 1978. Before being elected to the Assembly, Mr. Winner was counsel and legislative assistant to then Senate Deputy Majority Leader William T. Smith of Big Flats from 1971 to 1978.
Mr. Winner, a 1971 undergraduate of St. Lawrence University, was admitted to the practice of law in New York in 1977 following the completion of a legal clerkship. He is a partner in the Elmira law firm of Keyser, Maloney, Winner LLP and is a member of the Chemung County and New York State Bar Associations.
Mr. Winner was named the Assembly Minority Leader Pro Tempore on January 1, 1990 by Minority Leader C.D. "Rapp" Rappleyea. He was reappointed to this position in 1996 by Minority Leader Thomas Reynolds, in 1999 by Minority Leader John Faso and in 2003 by Minority Leader Charles Nesbitt. Prior to being named Assembly Minority Leader Pro Tempore, Mr. Winner served as Deputy Minority Leader and, for four years, as the Ranking Minority Member of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Mr. Winner also served as a member of the Ways and Means Committee and the Rules Committee.
During his Assembly tenure, Mr. Winner served as chairman of the Assembly Minority Task Force on the Corrections Crisis, which investigated the state’s prison system and made far-reaching recommendations for the more efficient administration of New York’s penal institutions. Mr. Winner has also served as a member of the New York State Court Facilities Capital Review Board, the New York State Public Authorities Control Board, the Assembly Minority Task Force on Job Loss Prevention, the Judicial Conference of the State of New York, the Assembly Health, Banks, Social Services and Correction committees and the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee. He was chairman of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Economic Growth.
Mr. Winner and his wife, the former Lynn Hardman, are the parents of three daughters, Catherine, Elizabeth and Meredith. They reside in the City of Elmira, Chemung County.