Senator-elect Rachel May (SD-53) Announces New Staff Hires

Syracuse, NY – Rachel May, Senator-elect for New York’s 53rd Senate District, is proud to announce the first round of staff selections.

Chief of Staff — Zach Zeliff, of Syracuse, most recently served as Campaign Manager for Rachel May’s Senate campaign, and will now be transitioning into the Chief of Staff role with her office. Previously, Zach worked as Community Engagement Coordinator at CNY Fair Housing, where he worked on policy and communications related to fair housing in Central New York. He also served as a research assistant on the book Daring Democracy, which explored on the history of the democracy movement and the need for democracy reform in our current political system. Zach received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Economics, and Policy Studies from Syracuse University in 2015.

Deputy Chief of Staff — Kristin Williams, of Schoharie, was formerly a senior legislative advisor in the New York State Assembly. Most recently she was Legislative Director and Albany Director of Operations for Hudson Valley Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Columbia, Duchess). Prior to that she worked for Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix Ortiz of Brooklyn. She has also worked as an Analyst on the Assembly Central staff for the Environmental Conservation committee.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Eckerd College.

Legislative Director — Eric van der Vort, of Syracuse, was most recently an APSA Congressional Fellow in the office of Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he was a legislative and policy staffer. Prior to that fellowship, he was a community organizer and taught at Syracuse University, where he is also a doctoral candidate in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He has lived in Central New York since 2011. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University and Masters of Arts degrees from Ball State University and Syracuse University.

Communications Director — Jessica Bumpus, of Syracuse, was most recently Communications Manager for the Dana Balter campaign for Congress in NY-24. Prior to that she worked in the non-profit sector as Operations Manager & Sustainability Advisor for the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. She is a community organizer and currently sits on the board of several local non-profits, including Vice President of Believe in Syracuse. She has lived in the Syracuse area since 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Masters of Business Administration from Marylhurst University.

Community Liaison — Nodesia Renee Hernandez, of Liverpool, was most recently an educator with the Syracuse City School District since 2001. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Minority Paralegal Association, promoting a better environment for at risk communities through the empowerment and education of youths, while providing free service to the community. Prior to that Nodesia was the Congressional Field Organizer for the Dana Balter campaign. While pursuing her Legal Studies Degree, she was an intern with the Onondaga County Bar Association. She continued as a volunteer winning the 2008 Liberty Bell Award given to non-attorneys whose community services has contributed to the Justice Systems and Liberty. She holds a Bachelor in Science from Syracuse University and also earned a New York State Paralegal Certificate. She also studied in the Masters Program at Syracuse University’s School of Education.