By Ramona du Houx

The Hamilton College Sunrise group, an affiliate of a national movement of young people seeking immediate action on climate change, endorsed first-term New York state Sen. Rachel May for re-election in the 53rd District, which includes Madison County, the city of Oneida and Kirkland.

Members of the Sunrise Movement demanding action on climate change at a rally. Photo by Sanya Bery of PEN.

Sen. May is a first-term Democrat from Syracuse who faces Republican Sam Rodgers in the November election.

“In her answers to our initial questionnaire when soliciting our endorsement, Senator May named lead poisoning and flash floods as two great concerns for the 53rd district. She has supported legislation to divest the NY State pension fund from fossil fuels and has actively supported divesting Syracuse University and Cornell University’s endowments from fossil fuels,” said the Hamilton Sunrise group. “As senator, she was a key player in passing the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), introduced legislation to include climate education in NY K-12 schools, and, looking ahead, plans to introduce a bill to establish a New York Civilian Conservation Corps.”

Praise for May also came from her college in the Assembly.

“I’m proud and humbled that Sen. May is backing the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act (A.1536-A/S.2126-B) that I’ve sponsored in the Assembly, said New York Assistant Speaker Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, EOPA Leadership Council member, Army veteran. “Pensioners in New York state have already lost over $25 billion thanks to Comptroller DiNapoli’s delay in divesting from volatile fossil fuel firms. Indirectly, New York’s continued investments in these oil and gas companies puts America’s armed forces at risk. I stand with the 97 from the Assembly and Senate who are calling on New York to pass the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act.”

The Sunrise group also announced that they plan to campaign for a divestment of Hamilton’s endowment from fossil fuels, moving the college’s carbon neutrality date from 2050 to 2030, and increased climate policy in the Mohawk Valley.