James Nicholas Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) was first elected to the Assembly in 1982. On November 29, 2005, he was unanimously elected Minority Leader by his colleagues. Throughout his tenure, Tedisco has been a leader and outspoken advocate for reforming state government and the budget process. He has authored numerous bills designed to make government more accountable to the people and bring about an on-time budget.
Tedisco graduated from Bishop Gibbons High School in 1968, received his B.A. in Psychology from Union College and a graduate degree in Special Education from the College of Saint Rose. While at Union College, he received numerous athletic awards for his talent on the basketball court, as well as other collegiate and civic awards for academics, character, community service and conduct.
From 1973-1982, Tedisco worked in the field of education, first as a guidance counselor, varsity basketball coach and athletic director at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School in Schenectady, then as a special education teacher, resource room instructor and varsity basketball coach at Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar. Tedisco entered public service in 1977 when, at the age of 27, he was elected the youngest Schenectady City Councilman at that time. He was re-elected by an overwhelming majority four years later.
In 1982, Tedisco won a four-way primary to be the candidate to succeed long-time Assemblyman Clark Wemple, who had retired. He then went on to win the General Election. As a Freshman Legislator, Tedisco was named Ranking Minority Member of the Children and Families Committee. As a result of his work on behalf of missing children, he was appointed Chairman of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Missing Children. Following years of research, legislation and statewide public hearings on the subject, he authored a book in 1996 entitled, “Missing Children: A psychological approach to understanding the causes and consequences of stranger and non-stranger abduction of children.”
Tedisco is active in many civic organizations. He is a member of the Sons of Italy, Schenectady Lodge 321; Principessa Elena Society in Saratoga Springs; Ballston Spa Elks Lodge No. 2619; Schenectady Rotary Club; Union College Alumni Association; Schenectady Big Brothers/Big Sisters; Friends of the Schenectady Museum; Center for HOPE; and serves as Honorary Chairman of the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation.
In addition to receiving numerous community and civic awards and honors, including being named the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award winner, and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) 25th Anniversary Award, Tedisco was elected in 2002 as one of the first members of the Union College Athletic Hall of Fame.