James L. Seward (New York)

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This article is about the New York Politician. For the Georgia politician, see James Lindsay Seward.
James Seward
Member of the New York Senate
from the 51st district
Assumed office
January 1, 2003
Preceded by Thomas W. Libous
Member of the New York Senate
from the 50th district
In office
January 1, 1987 – December 31, 2002
Preceded by Lloyd Stephen Riford Jr.
Succeeded by John A. DeFrancisco
Personal details
Born August 11, 1951 (1951-08-11) (age 65)[1]
Oneonta, New York
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cynthia Seward
Children Ryan and Lauren
Residence Milford, New York
Alma mater Hartwick College (B.A.)
Religion United Methodist
Website State Senate Site

James L. Seward (born August 11, 1951) is a Republican New York State Senator since 1987. Seward was first elected to represent the 50th District in 1986, and due to redistricting, is currently representing the 51st District. The 51st is a rural district, comprising Greene, Schoharie, Otsego, Herkimer, Cortland counties, as well as portions of Tompkins, Chenango and Ulster counties (51st District Map).

Early life and career[edit]

Seward was born in Oneonta, New York[1] and attended Oneonta public schools. He went on to Hartwick College in Oneonta and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.[2] In addition, he studied at the Nelson Rockefeller Institute of SUNY Albany.[2] Hartwick College honored Seward with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1999.[3]

Seward is a former Milford town justice and former chairman of the Otsego County Republican Committee.[2] He was a delegate to the 1976, 1980, and 1988 Republican National Conventions and an alternate delegate in 1996.[2] He lives in Milford, New York with his wife Cynthia (née Milavec).[2] They have two grown children: Ryan and Lauren.[3]

Senate career[edit]

Senator Seward was elected to the state senate in 1986 and was appointed chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee.[2] In 1999, Seward became chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Insurance.[2]

In 2007, Senator Seward was asked by former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno to assume a post in the senate leadership team as majority whip. In 2011, Senator Republican Leader Dean G. Skelos asked him to assume the position of assistant majority leader on conference operations.[2]

Seward has been an advocate for education, securing state aid for local districts to offset rising taxes and to support technology and special education initiatives within his schools.[2] He strongly supported enactment of the STAR school tax relief program and has championed property tax relief.[2] Seward voted against a same-sex marriage bill on December 2, 2009; the bill was defeated.[4] However, in 2011, the Legislature ultimately enacted, and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law, a same-sex marriage bill, which Senator Seward opposed.[5]

Seward is a director of Wilber National Bank, a trustee of Glimmerglass Opera, serves on the boards of directors of Pathfinder Village and the Catskill Symphony, and is a member of the Milford United Methodist Church.[2]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Lloyd Stephen Riford Jr.
New York State Senate
50th District

Succeeded by
John A. DeFrancisco
Preceded by
Thomas W. Libous
New York State Senate
51st District

Preceded by
Neil Breslin
New York State Senate
Chairman of the Committee on Insurance