John A. DeFrancisco was first elected to the New York State Senate in 1992. He was reelected by substantial margins in his next four races. In 2002, Senator DeFrancisco retained his seat in the newly-drawn 50th District, which includes most of Onondaga County, by a margin of 4 – 1.
Senator DeFrancisco has been a strong supporter of the initiatives that have helped move New York State closer to its former prominence. He has worked with his Senate Republican colleagues and Governor Pataki on legislation which helped to reduce crime, reform welfare, and lead the nation in cutting taxes and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
Senator DeFrancisco has also demonstrated his commitment to issues raised by his constituents. In 1998, he played an instrumental role in the adoption of Jenna’s Law by reaching out to Jenna’s parents and introducing them to Senate Majority Leader Bruno and Governor Pataki and tenaciously fighting for the legislation. Senator DeFrancisco also joined the grassroots efforts and successfully led the charge to the successful passage of the Lee-Anne Cruz Memorial Act.
Prior to his election, he served 11 years on the Syracuse Common Council, first as Councilor-at-Large and later as Council President. A community leader and education advocate, Senator DeFrancisco is a former member and President of the Syracuse City School District Board of Education and a past Vice President of the Conference of Large City Boards of Education. His contributions to local organizations are numerous. Most notably, he served two terms as President of the Central New York Leukemia Society and was a member of the National Board of Trustees and first President of the Central New York Combined Health Appeal.
A lifetime resident of Syracuse, Senator DeFrancisco attended Christian Brothers Academy. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering in 1968. While at SU, Senator DeFrancisco was Captain of the varsity baseball team and president of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers. Moreover, he received the Eastern College Athletic Conference and Syracuse Manley Scholar athletic awards his senior year. He was also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon social fraternity.
Senator DeFrancisco received his Juris Doctor degree from Duke University in 1971. While at Duke, he was a member of Duke Law Journal’s Editorial Board, and graduated in the top 10% of his class.
Senator DeFrancisco was admitted to practice law in New York in 1972 and in Florida in 1973. He is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, and before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senator was an associate with the Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett law firm in New York City before serving as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force from 1972 to 1975. After his military service he was appointed Assistant District Attorney of Onondaga County, a position he held from 1975 until 1977.
From 1978 to 1990, Senator DeFrancisco was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Syracuse University College of Law.
Senator DeFrancisco has been in the private practice of law since 1977 and practices with the DeFrancisco Law Firm in Syracuse. He and his wife, Linda, have three grown children, two grandchildren, and reside in Syracuse.
Senator DeFrancisco’s Committee Assignments starting in 2003 are: Judiciary (Chair); Tourism, Recreation and Sports Development; Banks; Codes; Energy and Telecommunications; Health; Investigations and Government Operations; Local Government; and Racing, Gaming and Wagering.