Joseph A. Griffo, a native of Rome who brings to public service a commitment to make government serve the people, represents New York State’s 47th District in the New York State Senate.
As a leading advocate for the reform of the state Legislature, Griffo was one of the first voices in Albany to propose reform measures to increase direct voter participation in filling vacant offices, increase oversight and decrease spending in state authorities, enhance the public’s ability to see state government at work through an open process that involves all legislators and reduce spending by making the budget process more open and taking away New York’s license to spend. As the author of many reform measures, Griffo is seeking to create a focused Constitutional Convention that would revamp the rules of the Legislature to provide open government at all levels. Through these reforms and other aimed at eliminate waste, fraud and over-generous programs taxpayers can’t afford, Griffo is working to reduce state spending, creating a system of lower state taxes and fees, so that the Empire State’s business climate can revive.
Griffo has been an outstanding advocate for education across his district, supporting renovations at public and private campuses so that future generations of New Yorkers can revive the economy and develop stronger communities across Central and Northern New York.
In 2008, Griffo was honored by the state’s School Boards Association as a top freshman legislator. Also, the New York Public Interest Research Group analyzed the effectiveness and efficiency of state legislators by examining how many of the bills they proposed actually passed both houses in Albany. Griffo had the 13th highest percentage of all 212 legislators, and was 7th among legislators with more than 2 bills passed in the 2008 session.
Griffo knows the role of public education in shaping future leaders. He is a graduate of the Rome School District and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with Magna Cum Laude distinction in 1978 from the State University of New York at Brockport.
After working in Rome City Government to develop and implement programs targeting the needs of the community’s youth, he was elected to the Oneida County Board of Legislators in 1989.
In 1991, Griffo was elected Mayor of Rome. He served in that capacity for 11 years elected three times. As Mayor, the majority of the budgets Griffo delivered held the line on property taxes, while reforming government and delivering services to city residents more efficiently. His progressive, collegial style of leadership protected the local hospital from closure and helped to engineer an economic recovery following the departure of the Griffiss Air Force Base.
In 2003, Griffo was elected to the position of County Executive of Oneida County. As County Executive, he played a principal role in the advocacy to protect the defense department related jobs at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park. His efforts resulted in an increase of over 600 jobs, an unprecedented accomplishment in Base Realignment and Closure Commission Hearings. Griffo also worked with his fellow County Executives to push the state legislature to reform the burdensome Medicaid program and develop an eight county coalition to fight the development a power line across Upstate York.
The Rome native continues to reside in the city of his birth along with his wife, Lorraine, an elementary school teacher in the Camden Central School District.