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Democrat running for election in central New York State – Onondaga (Syracuse), Madison, and Oneida counties
Video clip: “Francis Conole Mission”
In 2020, the Democrat incumbent lost this important House seat by just 109 votes, but Francis Conole is a candidate who can swing the district back to blue, especially given the extreme positions of his opponent. Francis advocates for affirming the right for women to receive abortion care by codifying Roe v. Wade; investing in the Black community to confront systemic racism; reinstating the assault weapons ban and other firearms reforms; supporting Medicare and social security protections; and building more things in the U.S. again. He is strongly committed to protecting the environment and has been endorsed by League of Conservation Voters, and by the Sierra Club. Planned Parenthood has also endorsed Francis. His Republican opponent, on the other hand, who “proudly voted for Donald Trump” in 2016, calls the Dobbs decision “a monumental victory”; attacks sensible gun safety measures as unconstitutional; and claims that climate change can’t be solved by reducing carbon emissions.
Francis graduated from the Naval Academy three months before 9/11, and led a division of 40 sailors when he was just 25 years old. Following his tours at sea, he joined the Office of Naval Intelligence, where he led a branch of analysts producing critical intelligence.
In 2010, Francis deployed with Army Special Forces into a combat zone in Iraq. He worked alongside Iraqi forces and planned the safe withdrawal of troops. Upon his return to the U.S., he became a Defense Secretary Policy Advisor in the Obama Administration; for his service, he was awarded the Defense Meritorious Achievement Medal. He volunteered to serve on the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee for Obama. He is currently a Commander in the Naval Reserves and was recently promoted to Captain.
Francis cites his time on Obama’s Armed Forces Inaugural Committee as a pivotal part of his career. Despite being in uniform and acting as such, he said he was passionately engaged in Obama’s election. “I led a team of military from all backgrounds, races, demographics. We were really focused on Inauguration Day, and being a part of that day and standing there seeing us elect our first African-American president was an extremely proud moment for me.”
A native of Syracuse, New York, Francis comes from a family of teachers, social workers, nurses, veterans, and police officers – the kind of working families he pledges to fight for. In addition to his degree from the Naval Academy, Francis earned an MBA from the University of Maryland as well as a Master’s in National Security Studies from the Naval War College.
His opponent is extreme-right Republican Brandon Williams, endorsed by both the Republican Party and the Conservative Party of New York. A native of Texas, he moved around in the West before coming to Central New York in 2010. He is a co-founder of a Silicon Valley software company. His website states he “proudly voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.” He opposes abortion rights, calling the Dobbs decision “a monumental victory.” He would oppose any effort to pass a ban on assault-style semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15, saying a ban on assault rifles “won’t change the gun violence problem.” He has repeatedly attacked red flag laws, calling this common-sense measure a violation of the constitution and abuse of government authority. He supports a national concealed carry law.
Williams says you can’t solve “more exaggerated climate … [with] plans to reduce carbon emissions.” His position would be “greatly increasing the number of trees.” He stated that Russian interference in the 2016 election “has proven to be false.” He supports requiring Voter ID and eliminating ballot drop boxes. He believes in requiring undocumented immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship: “I support building the wall on our Southern border and enforcing immigration laws so that we have a robust and fair system that doesn’t reward law breakers." His positions are extreme and out-of-touch with working families in the district.
With our help, Francis can win this race and add his support to the many important issues coming before the House.