State Assemblyman Pat Burke, D-Buffalo, has been involved in numerous campaigns, but he's making his first foray into presidential politics.
He said he will be working, organizing and building a coalition to support, hopefully, future President Elizabeth Warren in Upstate New York. Burke said an Assembly colleague who is part of the Democratic National Committee helped him make contact with the Warren 2020 campaign.
"I've been a fan of hers for a long time. Her background and history has been advocating for working families," he said.
Last presidential cycle, the Erie County Democratic Committee was one of the first in the country to endorse Hillary Clinton, but this year most of the party establishment is taking its time. Burke believes there's an opportunity for Warren to make inroads in Upstate and Western New York by getting a head start.
He said his plan is not to overcomplicate things.
"You go talk to people," Burke said. "You go share the message of what's important which is, in I think our community which is reflective of a lot of people in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio, is working class values, reducing taxes and understanding that over the last 30 years, it's been working class people who have burdened over and over and over again."
The Democrat said an Upstate Warren coalition could help volunteers in surrounding states with earlier primaries, but he also pointed out New York will have a different role in the presidential race next year.
"We moved our primary up so it's going to be in April. So New York is going to be in play and be a lot more important than it's been in the past," he said.
Burke said he plans to meet with Warren's staff this summer to collaborate on creating a program and he also expects the candidate to visit the region sometime in the fall.