Meet Dana Balter
Dana Balter believes that every person deserves dignity, access, and opportunity. Since she was very young, Dana has been a fierce advocate for her brother, who has cognitive disabilities, making sure he has the resources and opportunities he needs to thrive. As a child, Dana stood with her brother against bullies, and it sparked in her a lifelong commitment to advocate with and for those who need support.
Dana is the third of four children and the granddaughter of Holocaust refugees. Because of her family’s history, Dana cherishes our American identity as a country that offers all people safety from persecution and the opportunity to pursue success. She is determined to ensure that immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers are treated with dignity.
Like so many central and western New Yorkers, Dana knows the struggle of living paycheck to paycheck. She worked her way through college as a waitress and bartender and is still working to pay off her student loans. Dana will fight to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.
Dana’s experiences moving through the world by her brother’s side led her to a career in disability services, where she started as a teacher and later became the director of education at a disability services nonprofit. Through her work, Dana helped hundreds of clients and their families access the supports and services they needed. She will continue the fight to ensure that people with disabilities are treated equitably.
After years of working with clients and their families, Dana wanted to understand how to dismantle the systemic barriers that stood in the way of their success, so she returned to school to study public administration. While in graduate school at Syracuse University, Dana suffered a serious injury and was forced to put her studies on hold for several years. Dana knows what it’s like to struggle to find health insurance because of a pre-existing condition and worry about going bankrupt because of mounting health care bills. That’s why she is committed to making healthcare and prescription drugs more affordable and accessible for all.
After recovering from her injury, Dana re-enrolled at Syracuse University and went on to teach at the university level, most recently teaching public policy and citizenship at her alma mater, SU’S Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Dana believes strongly in the importance of civic education and participation in democracy, which is why she will always fight to protect and enhance both. In Congress, Dana will prioritize a bold agenda of democracy reforms, which includes the protection of voting rights, strong ethics rules for Congress and the president, and campaign finance reform.
After the 2016 election, Dana sprang into action as a community organizer, working to hold her elected representatives accountable for their actions and to advance a progressive policy agenda for central and western New York. In 2018, Dana ran an unprecedented grassroots campaign in New York’s 24th Congressional District, swinging the district 16 points, breaking volunteer and fundraising records, and coming closer to defeating Congressman John Katko than anyone ever has before.
Dana Balter is running for Congress because everyone in our society deserves a fair shot at success. She believes that working families in our region deserve a representative who shares their life experiences and will vote in their best interests. Dana will work to guarantee quality, affordable healthcare for every person; build a fair economy that works for everyone; and get big money out of politics so that the power rests with average people, not special interests. She will fight for an economic recovery from COVID that lifts up hardworking people, and she will champion policies that move all central and western New Yorkers forward.