- He represents the 56th district, covering parts of the City of Rochester, the Town of Brighton, and the western suburbs of Monroe County.
New York state Sen. Jeremy Cooney is running for a second term from the 56th district, covering parts of the City of Rochester, the Town of Brighton and the western suburbs of Monroe County. He made history in 2020 as the first Asian American elected to state office from upstate New York, and the first state senator in decades to graduate from Rochester City School District (RCSD). He flipped the seat by defeating Republican Mike Barry by 14,500 votes, replacing Joe Robach in the 56th Senate District seat, who retired after the 2020 election.
Cooney announced his intent to run for a second term in a video posted on his social media handles on Dec. 30. “I’m excited to announce my run for reelection to the New York State Senate in 2022,” he said. “This past year has shown me that public service is still a noble calling and that hard work, positive leadership and new ideas matter at the highest levels of state government. I’m proud of the wins we achieved for my hometown and look forward to continuing to deliver for Rochester’s families.”
In the video announcing his run for a second term, Cooney said that during his first year in office, he helped deliver “the largest public school funding increase in years,” both urban and suburban. He also wrote over 50 legislative bills and served as the first chair of the new Cities II Committee, which focuses on upstate cities and those outside New York City, according to his state Senate profile. He was named co-chair of the Marijuana Task Force for the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus. He was instrumental in passing landmark legislation to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana.
Born in an orphanage in Calcutta, Cooney was adopted as an infant by his single mother in Rochester, New York, with the church and the community of Rochester as her pillars of support. He has often said that he was raised in a home with Irish values that placed a lot of emphasis on family, faith and community.
He began his career working on Capitol Hill for the late U.S. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and later served in the role of chief of staff for the City of Rochester under Mayor Lovely Warren. Before running for public office, Senator Cooney served as the senior director for community relations with Empire State Development (ESD) under Governor Andrew Cuomo. At ESD, he helped lead public affairs for large-scale economic development projects.
Active in Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region, Cooney sits on the Board of Trustees for his alma mater, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, and is a member of the Vestry for Christ Church Rochester (Episcopal). He is a proud Eagle Scout and serves as a Vice-Chair of the Executive Board for the Boy Scouts of America, Seneca Waterways Council.
He earned his B.A. with honors from Hobart College and his J.D. from Albany Law School. He is married to Dr. Diane Lu, a urologic surgeon at the University of Rochester Medical Center.