About Tom

New York State Senator Tom O’Mara represents the state’s 58th Senate District, a district spanning the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions which he has represented since first being elected to the New York State Senate on November 2, 2010.

Tom has said, “The future cannot be predicted, but we can build a foundation for it and influence its development.”

The 58th Senate District Senator O’Mara represents covers all of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates counties, and a portion of Tompkins County (the city and town of Ithaca, and the towns of Enfield, Newfield and Ulysses).

The district is defined by small cities and villages, agriculture and tourism, small businesses and manufacturing.  Winemakers and grape growers throughout the Finger Lakes region remain the cornerstone of New York State’s world-class wine industry.  The district is home to Watkins Glen International, one of the iconic sporting venues in the world and an economic engine locally, regionally and statewide.  We enjoy beautiful and vast natural attractions and resources — including a network of parks and trails that is second to none — which draw millions of visitors from around the state, the nation and the world.

From Corning, Inc. and Alstom Transportation in Hornell in the western part of the district to Cornell University in Ithaca in the district’s eastern half, the 58th District enjoys a foundation of cutting-edge high-tech manufacturing, research and development, and 21st Century entrepreneurship which bodes well for the future.

Senator O’Mara has worked diligently to help build the state-local partnerships which have been established across the region — through the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) and in many other ways — that are implementing short- and long-term blueprints and strategies to create jobs and strengthen communities.

These state-local partnerships have promoted job creation and provided badly needed workforce development programs. They’ve strengthened area schools and enhanced the environment. They’ve improved local roads and bridges.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I do the very best I know how, the very best I can.”

Senator O’Mara is proud of the partnerships he’s developed with mayors, town supervisors, county executives and managers, educators, business leaders, family farmers, wine producers and grape growers, and concerned citizens from every walk of life to understand the challenges and advance worthwhile community initiatives to address them.  He’s reached out across our cities, towns and villages to do some good and to get things done.  He’s worked with countless area leaders to identify the 58th District’s common goals, build on our strengths and develop strategies to shore up our weaknesses.

Read more on Senator O’Mara’s work in the ISSUES section.

But the work is far from done.

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, Senator O’Mara was appointed Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, one of the Legislature’s key committees.  In addition to his chairmanship, the Senator also serves as a member on the following nine Senate standing committees: Agriculture; Banks; Codes; Energy and Telecommunications; Finance; Insurance; Investigations and Government Operations; Judiciary; and Transportation. Since 2011, he has also served as one of five state senators on the joint, bipartisan, 10-member Legislative Commission on the Development of Rural Resources, and as a member of the following Senate Task Forces: Heroin and Opioid Addiction; Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases; and Workforce Development.

Prior to his Senate election, he represented the 137th Assembly District. He was first elected to the Assembly in 2004 and represented Chemung and Schuyler counties as well as part of Tioga County for three consecutive, two-year terms.  He was named Assistant Minority Leader Pro Tempore for the 2010 legislative session, the third-highest ranking position in the Assembly Republican legislative conference.  In addition to his leadership role, he also served as a member of the Assembly Committees on Ways and Means, Energy, Banks, Ethics and Guidance, Judiciary and Tourism. As the ranking member on the Assembly Energy Committee, he worked to provide lower cost, more competitively priced energy for residents and businesses in New York State, while encouraging conservation efforts and fostering the use of renewable and clean energy.

Senator O’Mara has stood as a commonsense, clear and strong voice in Albany on behalf of his constituents across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.  He has been outspoken in his opposition to the out-of-control spending in Albany and a strong advocate for cutting waste in government, particularly in the state’s $60-billion-plus system of Medicaid where he has championed ways to better manage care, improve disease management and utilize cutting-edge data mining technology to save potentially billions of taxpayer dollars that are being lost to waste, fraud and abuse.

Throughout his public service, Senator O’Mara has been guided by a long-held belief that “Government does not create jobs, business does.” That’s why he’s focused on developing public policies and strategies that allow state government to improve the economic climate for doing business in New York by opposing tax increases, and reducing state spending, mandates, overregulation and oppressive property taxes.

In the Senate, he has been at the forefront of efforts to revitalize Upstate New York’s manufacturing sector.

In short, Senator O’Mara’s record is one of achievement and experience, building foundations — and always fighting for us.


Senator O’Mara , a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and his father, John, pay a visit to Sunset View Creamery in Schuyler County to help bring attention to an important sector of New York State’s agricultural industry. It was also an opportunity for the Senator and his father to reflect on their own family’s history in New York State cheese making. Senator O’Mara’s grandfather, also named John, was a cheese maker who operated the Colosse Cheese Factory in Oswego County in the first half of the 20th century.  Sunset View Creamery is operated on Hoffarms Dairy, a century farm located in Odessa, New York, just south of Watkins Glen. Above, the O’Maras are shown with Ron Hoffman, owner and operator of Hoffmans Dairy.  Senator O’Mara holds the New York State Fair 1st Place medals for cheese making that Colosse Cheese was awarded in 1937 and 1941, when his grandfather operated the factory.  Read more…

A former Chemung County District Attorney, Senator O’Mara has also served as Chemung County Attorney and as an Assistant District Attorney in both Manhattan and Chemung County. He holds a Juris Doctorate from the Syracuse University College of Law and a B.A. from the Catholic University of America, and is presently a member of the Barclay Damon LLP law firm in its Elmira office (formerly the Davidson & O’Mara, PC law firm).

Active in his community, Senator O’Mara is counsel to the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency.  His focus is on improving the business climate in New York State and fostering economic growth in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.  He is a member of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, and has been a member of the Southern Tier Economic Growth Board of Directors and the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development.  He is a former Director and Secretary of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira, a Trustee of the Horseheads Free Library, and a Board Member of the Wings of Eagles (formerly the National Warplane Museum). He was the 2001/2002 Chairman of the American Red Cross Chemung/Schuyler Chapter and a Director there for seven years. He was a member of the New York State Judicial Screening Committee for Chemung County and a member of Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli’s Southern Tier Organization to Reform Medicaid (STORM).

An avid outdoorsman who enjoys fishing, camping, skiing and snowmobiling, Senator O’Mara is a member of St. Mary Our Mother Parish in Horseheads, the Sons of the American Legion, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Shooters Committee on Public Education (SCOPE), as well as the Farm Bureau of New York/Chemung County, Ancient Order of Hibernians–Elmira, and Montour Falls Moose.

Senator O’Mara is a native of Chemung County, born and raised in Horseheads. He and his wife, Marilyn, and their three children (and the family’s beloved chocolate lab, Titan, and cat, Rico) currently reside in Big Flats.

“I was born and raised, and have spent my life right here in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes,” Tom says.  “I’m proud that so many of us have worked together to weather the storms, to put down foundations for a stronger and safer future, and to never stop fighting for more effective government.  We’ve come a long way and I look forward to the opportunities we’re going to have to secure even more success in the years ahead.  As always, thank all of you for your ongoing encouragement, participation and support.”