CNY Political Leadership Institute trains future leaders like me (Your letters)

For the publisher:

With the recent local elections just behind us, I wanted to take a moment to highlight our region’s unique asset, the CNY Political Leadership Institute. At 17, I had the honor of being the program’s youngest graduate to date in its class of 2021.

The CNY Political Leadership Institute, PLI for short, is administered by Direction Grand Syracuse. The LIP is a bipartisan program that seeks out central New Yorkers with a sincere desire to serve their community, whether that is by running for office or supporting candidates they believe in, and gives them the tools and knowledge to basis they need to achieve their desire. serve a reality.

What is the most refreshing aspect of the program? He gives his students the opportunity to learn from local leaders and campaign staff, on both sides of the aisle, in a non-partisan way. The effect of this is profound and unheard of in the political world. The PLI trains future leaders in a way that creates an early personal connection with their “opposition”.

Fun fact: There were 12 PLI graduates on ballots in Onondaga, Oswego and Cayuga counties in the last election cycle. At the age of 17 (at the time), thanks to the multitude of doors that this program opened for me, I had the privilege of running one of these campaigns. As a result of this program Josh Davis, a first-time candidate and LIP graduate seeking campaign assistance, was able to get in touch with me, a promising youngster looking to gain experience in the field. political world, and I was confident that I had the knowledge base to run his campaign.

As a result of my LIP experiences, I felt confident in my ability to craft a message specific to the district Josh was running in, complement that message with his experiences, and engage in an eight month campaign to connect. with the community in a variety of ways on the message. Not only that, but the PLI left me with an understanding of a large vocabulary of technical electoral terminology that can often discourage citizens without political ties from getting involved.

Before PLI, all I had was a sincere desire to serve the community of central New York City, with no tools or connections to do so. Now, for almost a year since the LIP, I have a wide range of skills consisting of experience from both the campaign side and the government side, I have tediously launched and led a campaign full Common Council for a candidate for the first time, I coordinated a successful county legislative campaign, I work in the county executive office every day after school, and I have had a multitude of Humiliating experiences in contact with citizens in the heart of Syracuse Northside on the campaign trail, leaving me with an ever-growing desire to serve my community, even outside of politics.

I cannot stress enough the value of this program to the community. It brings together people of all backgrounds, ages, political affiliations and backgrounds in good faith to learn how to effectively express their ideas at the ballot box. And for those without political ties, it has made finding public office and supporting candidates in central New York more accessible than ever.

Liam O’Connor | Camille

Senior, West Genesee High School

Institute of Political Leadership, class of 2021

For anyone interested in joining the 2022 CNY PLI class this year, registration opens in January at

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Richard V. Johnson