Senator Jim Alesi is currently serving the residents of the 55th Senate District, having begun his eighth term in office on January 1, 2011. As a native of East Rochester, the Senator represents his hometown, and the surrounding towns of Chili, Henrietta, Irondequoit, Mendon, Penfield, Perinton, Pittsford, Riga, Rush and Wheatland, and portions of the City of Rochester. Having been raised in a family dedicated to public service, Senator Alesi was elected president of his high school graduating class, and became involved in many local community organizations. In 1989, the Senator was elected to the Monroe County Legislature, and served until 1992, when he was elected to the New York State Assembly. As a freshman lawmaker, Jim Alesi was chosen by his peers to be President of the incoming class, which was at the time, one of the largest incoming classes in Assembly history. In February 1996, Senator Alesi won a special election to the State Senate, and was elected in November 1996 to his first full, two-year term in the Senate.
As a former small business owner himself, Senator Alesi currently serves as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, and has focused his efforts on job creation and economic development. This Legislative Session, Senator Alesi introduced – and passed with bipartisan support – the Job Creation and Retention Package, to improve our state’s economic climate, strengthen our small businesses, and spur job growth in our communities by providing businesses and manufacturers incentives to create new jobs, and by relieving those businesses and manufacturers of excessive taxes and burdensome regulations. For his advocacy on behalf of the business community, Senator Alesi was appointed by the Governor to serve as a member of the New York State Small Business Advisory Board, has previously served on the New York State Workforce Investment Board, and has been recognized on two occasions as a “Guardian of Small Business” by the National Federation of Independent Business, and as a “Champion of Small Business” by The Business Council of New York State.
Always mindful that investing in education, health care, and the arts, will lead to wide-spread job growth and economic prosperity, Senator Alesi has been a strong proponent of securing state monies for community-based organizations and programs, including area colleges and universities, regional health centers and clinics, and well-known museums and art groups. Without question, Senator Alesi has always considered higher education a cornerstone to a healthy and vibrant community, both economically and intellectually. A top priority since he began serving in the Senate, Senator Alesi continues to ensure that colleges and universities in his district, including the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Monroe Community College, and St. John Fisher College, receive the financial resources needed to educate our leaders of tomorrow.
Partnering with area colleges and universities are area medical facilities. In Monroe County, health care is the largest employer, and the Senator has worked closely with Rochester General Hospital, Strong Memorial Hospital and Highland Hospital in recent years to provide the highest quality patient care and medical service available to residents. Throughout his tenure in the Senate, Senator Alesi has made it a priority to join in the fight against cancer, with a particular emphasis on aiding research efforts to further the treatment and early detection of breast cancer. The Senator has secured past funding for the Lipson Cancer Center at Rochester General Hospital, Pluta Cancer Center, for digital mammography equipment for Highland Hospital, and for the expansion and renovation of the Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Heart Center at Strong.
Senator Alesi’s concern for the health and well-being of his constituents is evident throughout the local community. The Senator sponsors an annual Family Health and Fitness Fair, one of the largest health care expositions in the northeast. The event features hundreds of health-related exhibitors offering free services and information, and attracts nearly 3,000 attendees each year. Senator Alesi has also worked tirelessly with the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Center for Community Health, to increase opportunities for outreach and education programs aimed at underserved populations in our community. Due to his strong advocacy for the Center for Community Health’s Healthy Living and Vida en Salud programs, which encourage physical activity and healthy living in the African American and Latino communities, and the Healthy Living Library, a unique educational community resource dedicated to health and wellness, Senator Alesi was awarded the Inaugural Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Award, presented by the Medical Center’s Center for Community Health.
Besides education and health care, Senator Alesi firmly believes that a solid arts and cultural foundation enhances the overall quality of life for area residents, and serves as an enticement for businesses looking to relocate to Upstate New York. The Senator has been instrumental in promoting annual events, most notably as the founding sponsor of the Rochester International Jazz Festival, now in its tenth year, recognizing the tremendous value such events have on the pride and the economy of a region. To enhance the world-class arts and recreational resources in the region, the Senator continues to support area organizations, most notably the Greater Rochester Visitors Association, the Seneca Park Zoo, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Strong Museum, Memorial Art Gallery, George Eastman House, Genesee Country Village and Museum, Susan B. Anthony House, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester City Ballet, Rochester Broadway Theatre League, Geva Theatre, and many more. For his dedication and commitment to the arts community, Senator Alesi received the Public Leadership in the Arts Award, presented by Americans for the Arts, in consultation with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Senator Alesi has received more than two hundred community and civic awards, including: Achievement in Advocacy, American Heart Association; Kiwanis Person of the Year, Kiwanis Club; Community Spirit Award, Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester; Barber B. Conable Jr. Award for Public Service in Support of Historic Preservation and Education, Genesee County Village & Museum; Crystal Award, Special Olympics Genesee Region; Jerry Flynn Children’s Classic Legacy Award, Gilda’s Club; Key to the City of Rochester, presented by then-Mayor Robert J. Duffy and the Citizens of Rochester; Outstanding Asset Builder Award-Monroe County, Rochester-Monroe County Youth Bureau; Advocate’s Spirit Award, Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester; Arts Visionary Award, Geva Theater Center; and Founder’s Award, AIDS Community Health Center.
To honor our veterans’ contributions and service to our country, and in recognition of their valor and patriotism, Senator Alesi has been a long-time champion for our veterans. Dating back to his days as a Monroe County Legislator and State Assemblyman, Senator Alesi has been a vocal advocate on issues important to those that have served in the Armed Forces, and a strong supporter of veterans service organizations, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Veterans Outreach Center (VOC) and Honor Flight.
During his tenure in office, Senator Alesi has secured nearly $2,000,000 for many American Legion and VFW posts in his district, VOC, and various community events and projects dedicated to ensuring that the service, and lives, of our veterans will be forever honored and remembered – such as welcoming the International Marine Tattoo to Rochester, and the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Fairport; completing the World War II and Korean War memorials; serving on the Advisory Board for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park; dedicating the James E. Widener Memorial Bridge in Chili; and renaming portions of area highways the Korean War Memorial Highway, the Monroe County American Legion Highway, and the POW-MIA Memorial Highway.
Many of the Senator’s proudest moments in office have been the opportunities to host ceremonies where veterans in the 55th Senate District received New York State’s Highest Military Awards: the Conspicuous Service Cross, the Conspicuous Service Star, and the Medal for Merit.