In mid-December at a table in the downtown Collegetown Bagels, Leslie Danks-Burke – a local attorney and onetime state senate candidate – laid out a vision of political action grounded in the grassroots.

She expressed a desire for a progressively-backed populist movement, focusing her attention on building local campaigns from the ground up in the mold of the past several decades of conservative campaigns that had successfully changed the political culture of not just New York State, but of the nation itself. Her aim, she said, was to serve as advisor and mentor to prospective candidates looking to break into local politics, naming a “no race is too small mentality” as the key to long term political success.

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