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NY State Republican Party

Check Out the Rising Stars

Established in 1932, the Association of New York State Young Republican Clubs is one of the oldest political institutions in the nation. This year, NYS Young Republican Chair Peter Guinta is proud to announce the following Young Republicans were recipients of the Rising Stars award for their efforts to support the NYSYR’s mission.  This is the largest award class ever.

Neal Bailey 2023 republican rising star

Neal Bailey
Albany County

Neal Bailey. Neal got his start in politics while attending Siena College, where he became an active member of the Siena College Republican Club. After becoming Vice President of the Chapter, Neal assisted with event planning, growing the club, and getting club members involved in local elections.

After graduating, Neal began to get more involved in local politics, and he joined the Colony Republican Committee. He spent countless hours volunteering to help flip the Teen of Colonie Red. Helping to elect Town Supervisor Peter Crummy and Colonie Town Board member Jeff Madden.  Neal also volunteered with Liz Joy’s campaign in New York’s 20th Congressional District in 2020 and 2022.  Most recently, Neal volunteered to help elect State Senator Jake Ashby and Supreme County Judge Tom Marcelle.

Neal was one of the founding members of the Albany County Young Republicans in 2020 and he remains active in Albany County politics as a member of the Colonie Republican Committee and the Albany County Republican Committee. 

Isabela Goncalves 2023 republican rising star

Isabela Goncalves
Albany County

Abhorring certain melodies subtly permeating this discordant, but wonderful, orchestra that is society Isabela takes it upon herself to troubleshoot accordingly and utterly adores the avenues opened up by virtue of immersion in the legislative environment and all of its vibrant personalities. She feels at home when keeping true to her Portuguese heritage, which unavoidably evokes a love of the written word and a flare of exploration. In keeping with her ancestors practices, Isabela delights in connecting with like minded folk who may otherwise not have crossed paths; for one she regularly recruits young Republicans to join the Albany and Schenectady County Young Republicans and the Republican Club of Albany County formerly known as the Albany County Republican Women’s Club as well as sits on the Albany County GOP. Utterly grateful for the various ventures she has met via clubs, committees, and the legislature, Isabela’s frazzled by the potential corrosion of this counties core camaraderie but still thrilled to see what the future holds! 

2023 repulican rising star aiden oconnorAiden O’Connor
Bronx County

Aiden O’Connor, even though only 20 years old, has made a significant impact in the GOP. Aiden, while in high school was the Chairman of the Florida Federation of Teenage Republicans.  He also started the Turning Point USA and College Republicans chapters at his school at SUNY Maritime College. Aiden is also the acting director of the New York College Republicans Downstate Region.  In addition, Aiden has also been involved with election campaigns since he was 13.  Outside of politics. Aiden has been involved with many clubs and organizations throughout his academia, such as the Regiment of Cadets at SUNY Maritime College.  Aiden is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree of Science from SUNY Maritime College.  Aiden is also a former NCAA football player.

Michael Tanzini

Michael Tanzini
Broome County

After graduating from SUNY Oswego in 2014 with a degree in Broadcasting and Mass Communications, Michael began his professional career as a Production Assistant with WICZ Fox 40 TV before moving to a full-time Anchor and Reporter role with WIVT/ Newschannel 34. During his time as a journalist, Michael focused on community-oriented stories, investigative reporting, and local government and politics.

A native of Endicott NY, Michael continues to serve his community in Broome County legislature as a Legislative Analyst, a role he was appointed to in December 2020. In this capacity, he works closely with the county administration and essential personnel to act as a liaison between departments and legislators. Each year, he assists legislators during the budget process, providing information associated with adopting a more than $400 million budget period moreover, he represents the legislature on a variety of governance boards, including the board of acquisition in contract and the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena Board of Directors. Michael is proud to carry on the legacy of his grandfather, Victor Lacatina, who served as chairman of the Broome County legislature from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. An active member of the Broome County Republican Committee, Michael volunteers on numerous campaigns and assists with election efforts.

jordan fleming

Jordan Fleming
Chenango County

Jordan Fleming grew up in Chenango County and graduated from Bainbridge Guilford High School.  He has worked on several campaigns over the last few years, including Mark Maiser for State Supreme Court, Joe Angelino for State Assembly, and numerous county clerk campaigns.  He recently served as a field organizer for the RNC, focusing on electing Marc Molinaro to Congress. He now serves as a Legislative Aide for State Assemblyman Joe Angelino and owns and operates a 500-acre cattle and crop farm in Chenango County.

Zach Meseck

Zachary Meseck
Chenango County

Zach is a young republican that made history in Chenango County as the Town of Preston’s youngest supervisor – winning a contested election, with a 2-1 lead, at age 25.

Born and raised in Upstate New York, Zach has worked in fields including fast-food, commercial, retail, beekeeping, automotive, public relations, law, government, and media. In addition to being a town supervisor, Zach currently works as a public information specialist for DCMO BOCES, runs his own business, Meseck Photography, and is the father of two wonderful children. He enjoys a wide variety of hobbies from reading to skydiving, and believes that now more than ever it’s essential that young people with common sense get involved with government.  In his spare time, Zach works with the boards of several nonprofits in the Chenango County area, and feels that volunteering is a great way to get started in leadership and to support community growth.

jenka manning

Jerika Manning
Clinton County

Jerika studied in Montreal and graduated with degrees in Human Relations and Youth and Adult Intervention. After graduating and starting her business, Jerika became involved in politics at a town level. Her passion for politics grew as she began to learn the intricacies and vulnerabilities of local government.

She quickly became the secretary of the Clinton County Republican Committee and was elected as Chair of the Clinton County Republican Committee in January of 2023. Jerika is passionate about thanking our nation’s heroes and is the Executive Assistant of North Country Honor Flight. She is equally passionate about protecting the constitutional rights that those heroes fought to defend.

Jerika is Co-founder of Ladies of Liberty a woman’s only shooting organization. Jerika is looking forward to revitalizing the Republican Party in Clinton County and encouraging new young Republicans to understand the importance of political involvement at all levels.

Carly Bulgia

Carly Bulgia
Duchess County

Carly Bulgia is a results-driven political strategist and team leader.  In Dutchess County, Carly spearheaded campaigns for multiple layers of government. Career working for former state senator Sue Serino Carly worked her way up from intern to deputy director for district operations and a close political advisor to the Senator. Carly works for the chairman of the Duchess  County legislature, Gregg Pulver and leads a communications effort of the majority caucus. She is also the Vice Chair of the Town of Poughkeepsie Republican Committee and aides the supervisor and town board races. Carly is a relentless campaigner and one of the few who enjoy getting petition signatures. Not one to step down from a challenge she has helped run state Senate races and blue seats and come out on top. Her extensive network of personal contacts aides her ability to solve problems quickly and makes her a formidable fundraiser. In her mid 20s she has already solidified herself as a top tier politico and one that will be making ways wherever she goes.

Christina H

Christina Holdsworth
Erie County

Christina is a partner at the law firm Goldberg Segalla. She focuses her legal practice on matters involving personal injury, motor vehicle accidents, premise liability, sports and recreation accidents, and sexual torts. She regularly authors articles on defending mental hygiene facilities and on sexual abuse claims.

A lifelong Buffalo resident, Christina is very active in her community she founded Ambush Buffalo, which became the largest social networking group for the Buffalo gay community, attracting 200 to 300 people every month. In 2020 she became Co-chair at the woman’s Bar Association of New York’s LGBT committee. She also regularly mentors young attorneys through UB Law School. Christina has been politically engaged for over 10 years and is a member of the Republican Lawyers Group, Buffalo Republican Committee, and the Erie County Republican Committee. She was appointed by the Erie County Sheriff to the Erie County Charter Revision Commission, tasked with reviewing and revising the Erie County Charter. In 2021 she was appointed to the Erie County Reapportionment Advisory Committee, reviewing new redistricting lines for the county legislature. In 2022 she ran for Buffalo City County Judge on the Republican line against two Democratic incumbents ambitiously running a campaign with a 6-month-old baby. She lives in Buffalo with her wife and their 11-month-old daughter.

Michael Kracker

Michael Kracker
Erie County

Kracker was elected Chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee in October of 2022. As Chair, he is committed to re-energizing the grassroots of our committee and growing the Republican Party across Erie County. Kracker has spent his career in service to the Republican Party. A former Executive Director of the Erie County GOP, and a Senior Congressional Aide, Michael has served in Republican leadership positions at the state, local, and federal level.

In addition to his role as Chairman, Kracker also serves as Senior Advisor to Senate Republican leader Robert Ortt. He previously led the Senate GOP statewide political operation. A lifelong Erie County resident, Kracker graduated from Williamsville South high school and earned a degree in political science at SUNY Geneseo. He lives in Kenmore where he cheers on the Buffalo Bills with his wife Erin.