June 30, 2015

Statement from President Merodie A. Hancock on Samuel D. Roberts ’12 Becoming Commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

“I applaud Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Senate for nominating and confirming Sam Roberts, one of SUNY Empire State College’s outstanding alumni, as commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

“An advocate for the State University of New York and SUNY Empire State College, Sam’s voice will be missed in the state Assembly.

“As a nontraditional student and an expert in labor relations, Sam embodies many of the college’s academic strengths.

“Sam’s years of experience as an elected official, a leader in organized labor, a community activist and as an individual with an outstanding education make him the right choice to lead the statewide office that provides services to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

“My congratulations go to Sam on his appointment as commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.”

About Samuel D. Roberts ‘12

Fifty-nine-year-old Sam Roberts ’12 is a member of the New York State Assembly and represents the 128th Assembly District, which includes parts of the city of Syracuse and all of the towns of DeWitt, Salina and Onondaga.

He chairs the state Assembly Task Force on University-Industry Cooperation and serves as a member of many standing committees, including labor, libraries and education technology, small business and many others. He also is a member of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.

First elected to the state Assembly in November 2010, he will resign his seat, now that his appointment has been confirmed.

Roberts grew up on the east side of Syracuse, earned two associate degrees from Onondaga Community College, two certificates in labor studies from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in Business, Management and Economics from SUNY Empire State College.

He also served as an Onondaga County legislator, from 1990-99, while employed with General Motors.

At GM, he worked as a journeyman tool and die maker for 30 years. During his more than 41 years as a member of the United Auto Workers and as an active retiree with the union, he was elected recording secretary of UAW Local 465 and chair of Local 854’s education and civil rights committees.

Roberts also holds an eighth-degree black belt in American Shotokan karate. He ranked No. 1 in New York, New Jersey, among the top 10 in the United States and Canada and was the winner of the world championships prior to retirement from competition.


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