About Rachel May

Chair of Committee on Aging, Chair of Legislative Commission on Rural Resources

Democrat, Working Families Democrat, Working Families

District 53

Senator Rachel May represents Central New York’s 53rd District, which includes most of the City of Syracuse, parts of Onondaga and Oneida counties, and all of Madison County. She chairs the Senate Committee on Aging and the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, and is a member of the committees on agriculture, elections, environmental conservation, higher education, and Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation.

As a freshman legislator, Senator May has been instrumental in passing transformative legislation, including comprehensive election reforms, tenant-centered housing reforms, unprecedented criminal justice reform, and the nation’s most ambitious climate legislation. She has worked hard to bring the people of Central New York into the process of decision-making in Albany, by holding a record number of legislative hearings in and focused on the region, including hearings on the Climate Leadership and Community Preservation Act, rural broadband, farm labor rights, health care for all, and upstate nursing home issues during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, she has brought her downstate colleagues to Central New York for roundtables on opioid addiction treatment and prevention, minority and women-owned businesses, and childcare and child welfare. She has also sponsored and passed into law a bill to create the first regional STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) school for Central New York, which is currently under construction in the City of Syracuse.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Aging, she has been a vigorous supporter of home care workforce initiatives, expanded funding for in-home care programs, the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, and nursing home accountability. She has sponsored bills to create a Reimagining Long Term Care Task Force, authorize a family caregiver tax credit, and create a home care jobs innovation fund to support workforce growth.

A resident of Syracuse, Senator May had a successful career in higher education prior to running for public office. She started out as a professor of Russian language and literature at Stony Brook University, where she was a proud member of UUP, before earning tenure at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She moved to Syracuse in 2001 and retrained in ecology and sustainability, becoming director of sustainability education at Syracuse University. 

Senator May earned a master’s degree from Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship and a Ph.D. in Russian language and literature from Stanford University. She also earned a master’s degree from SUNY-ESF. She and her husband, a professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, have one daughter who recently graduated from Cornell University.
 

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