Candidates for Elections

Town of Caroline

Caroline Town Supervisor

Mark Witmer

I’m honored to have served as Town Supervisor for the past seven-plus years. Here’s a snapshot of my accomplishments:

The community Solarize program initiated in Caroline blossomed into county-wide, then state-wide, Solarize and HeatSmart programs promoting affordable residential solar, home energy improvements and heat pumps.

By taking concrete, sustainable local actions we qualified for a $100,000 state grant to implement a town-wide “Brighten Up” LED lighting conversion.

We updated the town’s comprehensive plan after seven years of careful work. We are now working on a zoning law that will promote community goals articulated in that plan.

Working with other elected leaders and key county personnel, we are now taking steps to enhance rural emergency medical response countywide.

We are exploring municipal broadband that will enhance the reliability and affordability of broadband service throughout the town.

We’ve replaced aged highway trucks and are now embarking on construction of new highway facilities.

We’re developing a renovation grant for the historic Town Hall.

And we’re working to make the South Hill Rail Trail a reality soon.

We’ve done all of this while staying under the tax cap.

I look forward to continuing our work together to keep Caroline such a great place to live.

Caroline Town Clerk


Jessie Townsend

Information Pending

Caroline Town Council

Michele Brown

I grew up in neighboring Endicott, NY, and graduated from Union-Endicott High School. After living in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, my family moved to the Ithaca area in 1995 and to Caroline in 1996. I was employed at Cornell University Library as a book conservator from 1995 until my retirement in 2021. During that time, my husband and I also maintained a private book
restoration business, which I continue.

For the past three years, I have served the Town of Caroline on the Economic and Land Use Development Task Force, the Planning Board, and the Zoning Commission. My first community organization experience was while living in New Hampshire, when neighbors and I formed a lake association to monitor the water quality and control boating traffic on the small lake where we lived.

I am running to complete the remaining two years of a term vacated in the spring. 

My priorities as a member of the Caroline Town Council are to evaluate the proposed zoning law, explore renewable energy projects and enhance broadband access. In addition, I am dedicated to conservation projects for the town, such as renovating the town hall and developing an emergency response plan to protect town records and books.

Kate Kelley-Mackenzie

I am running for re-election because I care deeply about our community. I want to continue working on in-progress projects, including broadband build out, safe streets for all, rebuilding our town barns, the South Hill Recreation Trail Extension, and responsible land use planning, including zoning.

The residents of Caroline are in desperate need of affordable, high quality broadband. I obtained $131,000 from the county. With that and funds from the 2021 American Rescue Plan, we were able to initiate a broadband feasibility study. We are now working with the Town of Dryden’s Broadband Utility for a 2024 buildout.

I represent Caroline on the Ithaca Tompkins County Transportation Council. Working with eight other municipalities, we obtained money to write a Caroline Safe Streets for All transportation plan that will enable us to apply for federal grants for infrastructure projects. 

I am a longtime supporter of the South Hill Recreation Way Extension to connect Caroline with the countywide rail trail system.

Looking to the future, our town needs to invest in land use and development. I support limited zoning to uphold our Town Comprehensive Plan.

Tim Murray

A Caroline resident for 41 years, I am Deputy Town Supervisor on the Caroline Town Council. I endorse community efforts to protect the environment, homes and local businesses from incompatible land use through responsible zoning. Having spent over four years as liaison to the Zoning Commission and working on the revised comprehensive plan, I am inspired by our tireless committee volunteers, who are committed to shared and transparent town governance. Let’s keep working together to fulfill our town’s commitment to diversity, ecology and responsible planning.  

I advocate for expanded emergency health services and broadband, energy independence, enhanced public safety, extension of the South Hill Recreation Way and renewal of town infrastructure and highway fleets. I am committed to fiscal responsibility and to seeking out county, state and federal grants to support new and ongoing initiatives. I applaud the board’s recent passage of tax exemptions for first-responders, veterans, the disabled, seniors and living quarters for parents and grandparents. My aim is to enhance support of the underprivileged, public transportation and programming for youth and seniors. 

I serve as Director of the Cornell Council for the Arts, and I bring to the Town Council decades of experience in national board service, administration and robust private, state, and federal fundraising.  

Caroline Town Highway Superintendent


Bobby Spencer

Information Pending

Caroline Town Justice


Susan Barr

Information Pending

Town of Danby

Danby Town Supervisor

Joel Gagnon

Joel Gagnon

Small towns, Danby included, have lost a lot that used to connect us to each other. How can we
recover some of that?

I believe local government can help make life better for us all, and that we can accomplish
much more by working together than by laboring individually. I also believe that the decisions
we make collectively are often better than what any one of us might decide on our own.

For local government to work, people have to know what is going on and have an opportunity to share their opinions. The town board and I are committed to open and participatory government. We don’t avoid issues or act impulsively, basing decisions on careful, data-driven
analysis. We do not all hold the same viewpoint, but we have a good working team. Getting our zoning law in step with our comprehensive plan was my primary objective when I was first elected three years ago. Together, we got that done.

Figuring out how to revitalize our downtown is critical to Danby again becoming a place where people will want to live. That means offering affordable, attractive housing, businesses that meet our needs and an environment that nourishes our spirits and supports community.

Having day care in the hamlet would support parents and help foster connections. Couple that with a recreational facility, a library, enhanced internet access and community-focused institutions like the church and fire department and you start to connect in natural ways that build community.

Working together, the town board and I have brought many good things to Danby. Support us at the polls, and we’ll make Danby better than it ever was.

Can we grow our downtown without losing our connection to nature? Historically, almost every house in Danby had a view of undeveloped land, fields and forests. I would like to see us develop in a way that preserves much of that, using walking/biking trails, community gardens and connected recreational spaces.

Danby Town Board

Paul Hansen

My connection to Danby goes back to the late 1970s, when the company I worked for built four houses on Steam Mill Road. We would often go to the old Benjamin’s to get lunch.

I arrived in Ithaca in 1971 and spent four years at Cornell. I met the man who hired me to work on those houses while building sets for the theatre department. He taught me well: After leaving his employment, I ran my own construction company for more than thirty years. I cared about the craft, devoted myself to making sure we maintained high standards and sweated the details.

I’ve worked for Danby as the code enforcement officer, learning a lot about town residents and how our government worked. I also spent two years with Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service, first as a volunteer, then as a paid counselor. It taught me the importance of listening.

My wife and I have moved into an old farmhouse on Comfort Road in 2004. In 2007–2008 we built a new home behind it. In 2018 our son and his family moved half a mile up the road. Our life revolves around our son, his partner and our two grandsons. Family is, and has always been, at the center of my decisions.

Living and working in Danby for much of my life, I have come to love the town’s rural quality and the wonderful mix of people who live here. I believe families, those who have lived here the longest and those who will move here someday, must be at the center of how we plan for the future. I believe we must protect the natural environment and protect Danby’s rural beauty while making sure it remains accessible to young families. We must also respect the wishes of our farm families, who shaped the community we cherish.

Leslie Connors

I have lived in the Ithaca area since 1964 and on Durfee Hill Road, in Danby, for 20 years. I retired in 2018 after years of working in the social service and mental health fields. Besides my work on the town board, I am currently involved with the Friends of the Library Book Sale and Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve. When I have the time, I can be found in the garden.

I have been a Danby Town Board member since 2009, and I am still learning new things. I spend a lot of time reading. In addition to town board meetings, I attend Planning Board and Board of Zoning Appeals meetings. I go to all trainings offered. I enjoy research: gathering information, weighing differing options, considering different opinions and keeping an open mind in search of what is best for the larger community and its future.

Issues and tasks I would like to continue supporting: 

  • finding ways to tighten the budget and keep taxes as low as possible
  • ensuring that members on town boards and committees reflect Danby’s population and encouraging young residents to get involved
  • using Danby’s “Zoning Audit” to identify changes that might better match Danby’s Zoning Law with the Comprehensive Plan; this might include finding ways to encourage mixed-use development in the hamlets and avoiding development in outlying areas, protecting open space and wildlife/bird habitat
  • completion of a Town Road Inventory, which would impact road maintenance, potential development and zoning related issues
  • enforcing speed limits on our roads
  • plans for remediation of or removal of unsafe buildings
  • improving the town website so it is a resource for residents

I don’t feel like I represent a specific group or a specific location. I try to represent everyone. I think it is important that staff, council and committee members respect all residents and each other. Negativity and engineered controversy are counterproductive to Danby’s growth and stability.

I would like the privilege of serving another term as Town Councilperson.

Danby Town Clerk

Mariah Dillon

I’m a candidate for the Danby Town Clerk because I want to give back to my community, and serve the town and its residents.

I support the goals of having a town government that is transparent, inclusive, honest, democratic, respectful and collaborative. I enjoy working with diverse groups of people. The Town Clerk position fits well with my skill set: I’m task oriented and I have a background in process documentation, planning, project management, information technology and governance. I have leadership qualities, a basic understanding of government law and I enjoy being organized. I have a very logical perspective and can remain impartial, a critical function of the Town Clerk. 

My goals as Town Clerk are as follows:

  • serve the administrative needs of Danby residents
  • facilitate an efficient and effective town operation 
  • efficiently manage town records
  • effectively update the Town website with current information
  • work collaboratively with the Town Board on fiscal matters
  • take and publish official town meeting minutes in a timely manner

I live on King Road West in Danby with my husband Scott, our lab mix Sadie, our tractor Maple and several happy-go-lucky chickens. On any given day you will find us removing dead and dying trees, stacking wood and making wood chips for the garden and tractor paths. I’m especially psyched about our backhoe attachment for the tractor. (Who knew digging holes could be so fun?)

I look forward to getting to know more about the Town of Danby and being of service to my community.

Danby Town Highway Superintendent

Keith Shipman

I am a 49-year Danby resident, a husband and the father of two children. I’m a business entrepreneur, having successfully owned and operated my own rental/construction business
for the past 20-plus years. I am also your current Highway Superintendent, and I am pleased to announce that I am running for another term.

I grew up in the town of Danby. Most friends know me to be a mechanical, construction and equipment operator, and an overall achiever of any task that I start. I have a lot of knowledge about road construction, excavating and working with various materials to achieve quality roads. I have the ability to work well with others. As a business owner I plan, budget and try my best to conserve spending. I work with agencies to achieve better environmental impacts and keep a safe work environment.

I am looking forward to another term in which I am committed to new challenges. I will continue to attend learning seminars and listen to new ideas to be able to continue to grow. I know priorities are a must with this position

Danby Town Justice

Gary Huddle

I am running for re-election as Danby’s Town Judge, a position I’ve held for the past 16 years. I’m proud that the Danby Court works well with all law enforcement, the district attorney’s office and all the attorneys that represent the defendants. As a judge I complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of training annually to stay certified with the State and Office of Court Administration.

Judge Theresa Klinger and I have applied for numerous New York State grants to improve Danby Court. We
used the funds to:

  • install the Court’s phone and fax line
  • buy three new computers and three printers, plus a laptop recorder for the bench
  • have a new courtroom bench built with lumber harvested from Danby Forest and built by local contractors
  • remodel a storage room and the old courtroom to accommodate three times more people
  • add air conditioning in the courtroom and a new roof over the entry
  • install a bulletproof payment window and side panels installed

Our latest improvement was adding a security system covering the courtroom, court office, hallways, the town clerk’s window, the main meeting room and the library, plus two cameras covering the parking lot. All of this
was achieved with New York State Grant money totaling over $55,000.

I have been a resident of Danby for over 55 years. My wife Gay and I have been married for 57 years. Our son and his family reside in Danby. Our daughter and her family live in Candor.

I am dedicated to serving the Danby community, and I look forward to serving as judge for the next four years.


Theresa Klinger

It is truly a privilege to serve the Danby community for over 34 years. I started my career as the Court Clerk in 1989, working for the Honorable James Herson. In 2007, I was appointed Acting Town Justice and have since won four four-year terms.

As one of the town judges, I uphold our Court’s reputation for fairness and integrity each time I preside over cases. I am committed to ensuring that cases brought before our Court are resolved efficiently and in a timely manner.

My Co-Judge Garry Huddle and I have made many physical improvements to our building. Our courtroom includes a beautiful judges’ bench, constructed by West Danby Woodworks; a new heating/air conditioning system; a covered entrance; new concrete steps and sidewalk; a security system complete with cameras, and a bullet- and fire- proof transaction window. All are the result of grant writing efforts resulting in more than $55,000 in funding from New York

Town Courts are known as “courts closest to the people.” I realize many people don’t necessarily want to find themselves having to appear in court, but people do ask me about our daily activities. I always welcome residents to visit; to see what we do, ask questions and learn more about the inner workings of local justice.

I have called Danby my home for over 35 years. I am retired from the Office of Legal Affairs at Ithaca College. I graduated Cum Laude from IC with a B.A. in Legal Studies. I thank the Danby Democratic Committee for endorsing me and thank the Danby residents for the privilege of allowing me to serve as your Town Justice.

Town of Dryden

Dryden Town Supervisor

Jason Leifer

Jason Leifer is running for his fifth term as Dryden Town Supervisor. First elected to the Town Board in 2008, Jason has 16 years of experience in Dryden government and knows the town’s strengths and needs.

Jason uses a team-based governing style to improve the town’s infrastructure and attract
environmentally friendly development. His efforts generated more than $140 million dollars in new public and private investment in just seven years. Other projects were made possible by responsible budgeting and grants.

Dryden Fiber, which will offer high-quality municipal broadband to all town residents, is now under construction. Revenue from subscriptions will fund town reinvestment for generations to come.

Under Jason’s leadership, Dryden’s Comprehensive Plan has been revamped with extensive community input; a project to update town zoning to conform to the new plan is under way. The much-loved Dryden Rail Trail is near completion, thanks to millions of dollars in grants from the state and federal government, as well as private donations of time, money, and materials.

A graduate of New York Law School, Jason primarily practices family law and criminal law and serves as an attorney for children.

Dryden Town Clerk

Bambi Avery

Bambi has served Dryden as Town Clerk since 1998, issuing licenses, collecting taxes and performing other duties for the town where she grew up. She also serves as President of the
Dryden Senior Housing Corporation, Trustee of the Southworth Library and Secretary of the
Willow Glen Cemetery.

Bambi is President of the New York State Town Clerks Association. She has been designated as a Certified Municipal Clerk and as a Master Municipal Clerk by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. Bambi is an invaluable resource because of her decades of experience and dedication to the town. She’s never considered her job political and simply seeks to serve the
town’s residents as best she can through the services her office provides.

Dryden Town Board

Christina Dravis

Christina Dravis was appointed to the Dryden Town Board in January to fill a vacancy. She is now running to serve her first full term.

Having worked in emergency dispatch services for nearly 30 years, Christina is passionate about matters of public safety. She managed the Tompkins County 911 Center and helped implement the Swift911 mass notification system now known as SIREN. She is an Exterior Firefighter and Fire Police member of the Varna Volunteer Fire
Company. Christina served on the town’s Safety and Preparedness Committee, where she helped launch Dryden’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program.

In addition to her volunteer activities, Christina was an elections poll worker from 2017–2022. A resident of the hamlet of Etna, she works full-time at Trader Joe’s in Ithaca.

Spring Buck

An active member of our community for most of her life, Spring was appointed to the town board in May to fill a vacancy. She is excited to run for her first full term.

Spring is an advocate for entrepreneurs and small business development. As a child, she
watched her family start and manage multiple businesses in Tompkins County. She understands the commitment and vision it takes to start small, the persistence needed to change and build, and the value of community support.

Spring is Associate Director of Facilities Management Logistics at Cornell University. Her career has focused on sustainable and responsible business practices such as developing responsible waste, recycling and reuse programs at Cornell. She has also served on the Tompkins County Environment Management Council.

Dryden Town Justice

Chris Clauson

Serving first as the Village of Dryden Justice, then as Dryden Town Justice since 1993, Chris
Clauson has a proven track record of fair and impartial justice during his 32 years on the bench.

Chris strives to reduce the possibility of repeat offenses by connecting defendants with tools
such as a youthful-offender programs, alternate sentencing options and community service. He makes sure offenders have access to local food pantries, mental health services and rural outreach coordinators.

A participating member of the Centralized Arraignment Program, Chris is certified by New York State’s Unified Court System. He has completed countless hours of continuing judicial education credits, including LGBTQ+ sensitivity training.

He is also employed in Dryden’s Department of Public Works.

Chris believes his first priority is to “faithfully and impartially perform the duties of the office,” and to show respect to all who come to the court.

Town of Enfield

Enfield Town Supervisor

Stephanie Redmond

I am excited to run for reelection as Enfield Town Supervisor. We have made a lot of progress toward environmental protection during my previous term, such as building the salt barn to protect our waterways. We have also passed water protection laws, which have helped to safeguard the town’s water supply.

Another significant achievement is the installation of heat pumps in the Enfield courthouse. This has not only helped to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, but it has also resulted in significant cost savings for the town.

We are currently working to upgrade the municipal buildings in Enfield. In the coming year we hope to install a new roof on the Town Hall and remodel the Town Clerk’s office. Additionally, we plan to  repair the exterior of the Enfield Courthouse. 

I look forward to continuing to work with our community to address the needs of our growing town.

Enfield Town Clerk


Mary Cornell

Information Pending

Enfield Town Council

Bob Lynch

I have served you, the residents of the Town of Enfield, as your Councilperson since 2020. I seek your support for a second, four-year term.

An incumbent should always run on his record, and I believe mine is one on which you can make an informed decision.

I believe in inclusion. As I say, “We are One Enfield.” Whether you support Trump or Bernie, I represent you. I will treat you equally and will respond to your needs without favor. I’ve met hundreds of you door-to-door as your Councilperson and candidate. Meeting and listening to you stands as my most important responsibility.

I believe in open government. Town committee meetings should never be closed. I support shared responsibility; that housing developers and solar farms should bear their fair share of our community’s burdens in exchange for the benefits Enfield provides them. And I support peace; that our political infighting must stop, and that lowering the temperature at meetings comes not from surrendering one’s principles so as to appease the other side, but rather from respecting each other’s opinions and seeking true compromise for the benefit of all.

Please grant me the continued opportunity to serve you, Enfield.

Melissa Millspaugh

My name is Melissa Millspaugh, and I am a passionate advocate for our town, youth, and future! As a teacher in the Ithaca City School district and an Enfield parent, I’ve dedicated my life to shaping young minds and fostering a better tomorrow. I have a strong belief in collaboration and community engagement, and in bringing diverse voices together.

Enfield Town Highway Superintendent


Barry Rollins, Senior

Information Pending

Town of Ithaca

Ithaca Town Supervisor

Rod Howe Photo

Rod Howe

Rod Howe is running for a second term as Ithaca Town Supervisor. If re-elected, he will continue working on key initiatives related to energy, the town’s trails, parks and preserves and historic preservation. Rod actively seeks out ways to connect residents to the town’s rich and diverse history, having focused on placemaking over all his careers (ask him about the acronym P.L.A.C.E.).

Having served on the town’s Planning Board, Rod was first appointed to the Town Board to fill a vacancy. He served one and a half terms on the Town Board, spending some of that time as deputy supervisor.

Rod currently serves on the Town Board’s Budget and Finance, Personnel and Organization and Planning committees. He chairs the Public Works Committee and the ad-hoc Economic Development Committee. Rod represents the Town of Ithaca on many intermunicipal committees, including the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council (ITCTC), the Southern Cayuga Lake Intermunicipal Water Commission (Bolton Point) and the Tompkins County Council of Governments.

For years a very active member of the broader community, Rod grew up in Lansing and is a long-term resident of Forest Home. He is grateful for the multiple generations of family members that are a regular part of his life.

More information:

Ithaca Town Board


Pam Bleiwas

Pamela Bleiwas is running for reelection for the Ithaca Town Board. As chair of the board’s Personnel and Organization Committee and Employee Relations Committee, Pam helps to
ensure that the town is staffed at the appropriate levels to deliver high-quality services and
properly maintain town infrastructure, and that town employees receive fair wages and
benefits and enjoy a safe, rewarding working environment.

Pam also serves on the Town Board’s Budget Committee and the Economic Development Committee. She represents the Town of Ithaca on the Southern Cayuga Lake Intermunicipal Water Commission (Bolton Point) and the intermunicipal Recreation Partnership.

As a resident of the local area for 28 years, Pam has been active in several community organizations, including the Tompkins County SPCA, Kitchen Theatre Company and the Women’s Fund Committee of the Community Foundation. An attorney representing children and indigent adults in appellate matters, Pam lives on West Hills with her husband Jeff and their dog Trixie, an SPCA alum.

More information:

Susie Gutenberger Fitzpatrick

Susie Gutenberger Fitzpatrick is running for a first term on the Ithaca Town Board. Director of the Lansing Community Library for 15 years and a member of the Tompkins Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Susie strives to connect organizations and create new partnerships to fill needs of the Tompkins County area. She hopes to bring these community-building skills to her work on the Town Board and will work tirelessly to enhance the quality of life in our town, support town staff and help to responsibly plan for our town’s future.

Susie grew up in Ithaca, left for a while for college and work, and returned home in 2008. She and her husband, Mike, own the Village Greenhouse, a small landscape design and installation business. The couple have three children, aged 15, 14, and 10.


Eric Levine

Information pending.

Town of Lansing

Lansing Town Supervisor

Ruth Groff

Being a current Board member in the Town of Lansing, I have decided to run for Town
Supervisor because I want to help our town government organize efficiently to meet the needs
of our growing population. My experience as a Town Board member has given me a broader
understanding of our community, its diverse needs, and ways in which our town might address

As a Board Member with a background in accounting, I have been instrumental in developing a Capital Plan for Lansing, as well as a five-year forecast. My goal as Supervisor is to seek out more opportunities for funding for our town, to offset the rising costs of running the town and the capital costs that are facing Lansing’s future.

Communication with the residents of Lansing, is a high priority for me. To expand our modes of communication with the taxpayers, to facilitate open forums, and to be more responsive to the taxpayers, are all means by which I plan to attain that objective.

I will strive to expedite the zoning revision process in order to ensure that the vision for maintaining the character of our beautiful Lansing is realized.

Lansing Town Board

Christine Montague

As a Lansing Town Board member, I will work with residents and organizations to address the diverse needs in our community. We aim to put the comprehensive plan into law and preserve our beautiful farmland, gorges and views of the lake. We will seek broad perspectives and input on Town policies that can help fill the gaps and address the larger issues at the local level.

I’ve learned that listening and respect are key, beginning as a Mechanical Engineer for Norfolk Naval Shipyard, working with multiple trade groups and Navy Chiefs to round up teams on third shift. I returned to get a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and am currently working in tuberculosis drug discovery at Cornell University.

While sending our three girls through Lansing schools, I’ve organized fundraisers for Lansing theater arts or church youth trips to Guatemala, helped coach soccer teams, and taught Sunday school. My work as founder and co-chair of a bipartisan dialog group, Braver Angels of Tompkins County, has convinced me that we can work together, regardless of our political divides, to accomplish our goals.

Laurie Hemmings

I am excited to be running for Lansing Town Board.  I want to help our community work together as we move forward. 

As a member of the Lansing Planning Board, I have gained an understanding of the key role of planning to our community. And as a Town Board member I want to work toward achieving the goals in our Comprehensive Plan by updating our zoning, an activity best achieved with wide
community participation. 

My professional experience in communications at Cornell provides me with a set of skills I hope to contribute to the Town Board’s efforts in communicating more widely with all Lansing residents.

I am a South Lansing resident and a member of a small family farm, a combination that gives me insight into the wide range of interests in our community and our desire to maintain our special rural character.

Town of Newfield

Newfield Town Board

Casey Powers

Casey Powers

I am presently serving my 3rd term on the Town Board. We are fortunate to have representatives that are respectful to one another and to the Newfield community as a whole. We come from different backgrounds. Some of us were born and raised in Newfield and some of us are transplants from other places. But we all have all chosen to make Newfield our home and we all want what is best for our community.

All of the present town officials have been residents of Newfield for quite some time. Most of us have worked and volunteered in the community prior to being elected, and we continue to volunteer as we serve the town. This means that we have had the opportunity to know our neighbors, to better understand their needs and the difficulties they may be facing.

Do we always agree? Of course not. Each one of us has our own ideas about how best to represent our community. But isn’t that the way it should be? Newfield is a diverse community and the town board has a duty to represent that diversity and consider it when making decisions.

I enjoy the dialogue we have when considering our decisions. I try to be aware that my understanding of a situation may not best represent our community, and that other board members may be more in touch with those affected by our decisions.

I think Newfield has been very fortunate to have officials that agree to listen to and learn from each other, to cooperate and compromise and to respect one another even when we do not always agree.

Therefore I think that reelecting Heather McCarty and Casey Powers to the Newfield Town Board is a great idea!


Heather McCarty

Casey and I work hard to represent all Newfield residents. We share a commitment to listen to and incorporate the perspectives of all town residents as well as other elected official and staff members to determine what is best for the town. Fiscal responsibility, safety, maintenance of services, and conservation of the environment are the primary values our current board shares that inform our intention to care for the town and its residents to the best of our ability. 

One area where we’ve made a lot of progress is in taking steps toward Climate Mitigation and Adaption. Working with the Newfield Climate Task Force and town staff, Newfield achieved Bronze Certification in the DEC Climate Smart Communities program this spring. We earned it by forming a Climate Task Force, completing a Government Operations Greenhouse Gas inventory, having a Government Building Energy Audit done, adopting the NY Stretch Energy Code signing up ten town residents for Clean Heating updates to their homes, and converting all streetlight to LED lights.

The town also qualified for NYSERDA Clean Energy Community grants totaling $20,000, which we used to pay for the energy audit, and plan to use the remainder for energy upgrades to the town hall.

The town board has also adopted a Climate Action Plan that includes adopting a vehicle fleet efficiency policy, a recycling strategy for public places and events, an educational campaign to encourage recycling, composting and reducing overall waste, upgrading HVAC equipment and
building envelope in government buildings, and installing electric vehicle chargers. We adopted these measures after respectful and considered discussion.

Other projects that the current Town Board has worked on include opening the Newfield Recreation Park, getting the sewer project started, water system improvements,  the Braver Angels Hamlet Planning Forum, and a Hazard Mitigation Plan. I hope to have the opportunity to follow through with all these projects with a second term on the town board.

Newfield Town Justice

William Greener

I want to help make Newfield the best community to live, work and play in for those who want to do just that. As the Town Judge I will work with the District Attorney, state and county organizations, and defense counsel to administer justice fairly and equitably. My goal in
imposing fines and penalties on convicted offenders is not to punish them per se, but rather to motivate them to use better judgment before they act again; to think critically about their actions and the intended and/or unintended outcomes of their actions. I realize these are lofty goals but that is my basic philosophy.

Town of Ulysses

Ulysses Town Board


Michael Boggs

Information pending.


Liz Weatherby

I am running for a full-term seat on the Town of Ulysses Town Board. I am proud to be part of this Town and community and want to continue to build on my contributions to it.

Serving on the Town Board since January 2023 has been a great experience. I have been fortunate to join a Town Board with representatives that have been welcoming and whose years-long dedication to the Town offers me guidance and experience to draw from while building my own path. For that, I am grateful to my fellow representatives. I have also seen firsthand how passionate our community is and am looking forward to continuing to have dialogues about the future of our Town.

Professionally, I have over 16 years of experience providing environmental permitting and consulting services as I guide clients through the regulatory review processes, reviewing and interpreting state and local laws and zoning codes and comprehensive plans to successfully obtain required project permits. As a result, I serve as the vice-chair of the Comprehensive Steering Committee as the Town looks to update our Comprehensive Plan.

As a parent I am actively engaged in activities for our young people and I see and hear some of the challenges in providing safe, healthy and coordinated resources and supports throughout the Town.  To that end, I have been serving on the Town’s Youth Commission and am excited to continue that opportunity to focus on growing youth services.

I was also tasked, along with another Town Board member, to re-start our Agricultural Committee. In our few meetings this year, I have heard the concerns of a variety of farmers and members of our Town’s agricultural community and hope to build on those discussions to build on a voice that often is lost but is vital to our Town.

The Town Board position would continue to integrate my commitment to our young people and the agricultural community with the broader community planning essential to ensure coordinated and well guided policies for the future of our Town. I am a fast learner, hard-working and detail oriented, and I look forward to adding my personal and professional experiences to further build on the teamwork of the Town Board. 

City of Ithaca

City of Ithaca Mayor


Robert Cantelmo

Robert is a husband, father, scholar, and public servant with a strong commitment to building an inclusive, affordable, sustainable, and dynamic Ithaca. He is running to develop a robust strategy and clear vision for local government at a time of significant change.

Robert wants to address our housing crisis by promoting attainable home ownership and affordable rents through legalizing a diverse range of housing types to include duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, and small-scale multi-unit buildings. He believes transportation is inherently tied to housing and advocates for enhanced transit infrastructure and investment in micro-mobility. He supports investment in our workforce and local industry to draw talent, investment and innovation to our community. He recognizes that investment in our municipal infrastructure is an investment in our future.
Robert currently represents the Fifth Ward (Fall Creek and Cornell Heights) on Common Council. He chairs the city administration committee, which oversees the budget, public finance, workforce environment, intergovernmental relations, rules, and human resources. He has led efforts to make Ithaca the second city in New York to require employers to disclose
compensation levels in job ads. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous reversal of Roe v. Wade, Robert drafted a city amendment guaranteeing the protection of reproductive rights.

Robert is an associate director of Cornell University’s Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, where he oversees strategy, business development and grant compliance. He earned his B.A in political science from American University, an M.A. in international affairs at George Washington University and an M.A. in government at Cornell. He is a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) in
government at Cornell.

Robert and his wife Catherine live in Ithaca with their two young kids.

City of Ithaca 1st Ward (2-Year)


Phoebe Brown

Information pending.

City of Ithaca 1st Ward (4-Year)

Kayla Matos

Kayla Matos is a lifelong Ithacan and the deputy director of Southside Community Center. She discovered a passion for social justice while growing up at Southside. At age 16 she began pushing to interrupt systems that did not work for her community. Following high school, Kayla attended Ithaca College but realized that her true passion was for the community. She took a pause on school and fully immersed herself in the Southside community. She’s been interrupting systemic racism there ever since.

Kayla’s campaign focuses on stopping gentrification and displacement. She favors investing in existing local resources and organizations to address issues in the community. She’s seen firsthand the disruption that profit-seeking development has brought to Ithaca. She was motivated to run after seeing community needs neglected during the city’s budget process.

As a tenant herself, Kayla has personal experience with the Ithaca housing crisis. She supports affordable housing, expanding tenant protections and creating pathways for more low-income homeownership. Kayla also aims to expand low-cost, sustainable transportation in the city, especially to underserved areas on West Hill and Route 13. She stands with city workers in their push for good wages and fair treatment on the job. As a candidate for Ward 1, Kayla will work hard to support the community that has in turn supported her.

City of Ithaca 2nd Ward (2-year)

Kris Haines-Sharp

Kris Haines-Sharp is a former teacher and school administrator running to represent the City of Ithaca’s Second Ward on Common Council. She is currently an alderperson for the Fifth Ward, having been nominated to fill a vacancy and voted in unanimously by Common Council.

Kris was born in Jordan and raised in Palestine and Israel before attending college in the U.S. These formative years influenced Kris’s world view and her commitment to social justice and lifting the voices of the marginalized.
As a school administrator and teacher, Kris thrived in the ever-changing landscape of working with teachers and students. She has also worked as a baker, a medical assistant for Planned Parenthood, a retail manager for a non-profit and in the gig economy as a grant writer and gardener.

Kris brings years of experience working with city organizations and services, advocating on behalf of youth and serving on non-profit boards and committees. She has lived in her neighborhood for close to 25 years, raising her kids and growing roots in the community. Kris brings tenacity, curiosity, and a life-long passion for learning to her work on Common Council and promises to listen, research and dialogue about the issues before her community and the City of Ithaca.

City of Ithaca 2nd Ward (4-year)

Ducson Nguyen

Ducson Nguyen has served two terms on Common Council, focusing on housing, public safety, and transportation alternatives like walking, biking and transit. Ducson is on the oversight committee of the Community Housing Development Fund (a joint city-county-Cornell fund for affordable housing) and the board of the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency, where he encourages the building of plentiful affordable housing. Ducson was part of multiple working groups and committees for Reimagining Public Safety that will culminate in deploying the long-awaited unarmed crisis responders in 2024. He has served on the TCAT board since 2016 to fight for robust transit and transition the agency to full electrification. 

Ducson’s most important work is not on any board or committee, though. He gets the most gratification from constituent services, connecting residents with city staff and resources that solves their problems and addresses their needs.

City of Ithaca 3rd Ward (2-year)

Pierre Saint-Perez

I grew up in the wonderful community that is Ithaca, NY. Ithaca shaped and molded me. All
together, I’ve lived here for 19 years.

However, my experience at the Lehman Alternative Community School (LACS) formed me. There I became fascinated with how government works and how it and democracy can improve people’s lives. I spent time as a student representative on the Board of Education. I also worked with Common Council, in addition to my intense engagement in LACS’s own democracy.

Right now, Ithaca is in the midst of a housing crisis that threatens to displace communities, and makes it ever more difficult for people to become a part of the community. To thrive in Ithaca now costs more than ever before, be it in rent or in an increasingly unsustainable tax burden.

To address these problems, we must coordinate with other local governments, as well as our educational institutions. We must provide good, sensible, fully-staffed government that can adapt to emerging climate challenges, like the new FEMA flood maps, and old ones, like road and sidewalk maintenance. We must unify as a community.

I look forward to working with everyone in Ithaca to build a better tomorrow for our city.

City of Ithaca 3rd Ward (4-year)

David Shapiro

David Shapiro and his wife Pamela moved to Ithaca 13 years ago. They hoped to build a life where their children could have a good education in a safe community, with access to employment opportunities that could provide financial stability.

David is dedicated to human services. Since moving here he has served professionally and through volunteerism by working in and leading social service organizations that support children and adults. Specifically, this work has given him a strong perspective on the needs of people in our communities with regard to mental health, PTSD, substance abuse, homelessness and working families.

An accomplished board member, David has helped to establish local nonprofits Love Living at Home and the Unbroken Promise Initiative. He has also served on municipal committees and is especially dedicated to volunteer coaching for the Ithaca Youth Bureau.

David pledges to lead with open ears and a collaborative spirit, hoping to identify how and when to apply his skills and experiences to advance policy and other initiatives that support a brighter future for everyone.

City of Ithaca 4th Ward (2-year)


Tiffany Kumar

Information pending.

City of Ithaca 4th Ward (4-year)


George DeFendini

Information pending.

City of Ithaca 5th Ward (2-year)

Clyde Lederman

I am a labor relations student at Cornell and a native New Yorker. I feel compelled to run for
Council because we need a bolder approach to make Ithaca an affordable, safe, and equitable
place to live. Rising rents, taxes, and housing costs have pushed out current residents and put
financial strain on working people in Ithaca.

If we are to put Ithaca on the path towards affordability, the next cohort of Common Council members will need to develop a comprehensive plan to rein in housing costs, negotiate a fair financial arrangement with Cornell, and address serious threats posed by climate change.

I am ready to take on this challenge. Over the past few years, I have worked on plans to consolidate municipal governments, researched law enforcement misconduct, and served as a trained parliamentarian advising numerous political committees on the legislative process. I look forward to taking this experience to city hall next year.

City of Ithaca 5th Ward (4-year)

Margaret Fabrizio

Ithaca’s fiscal health is a top priority. We have become an unaffordable community. Despite exorbitant property taxes, critical services like fire, police, building inspections, road maintenance and clean water are woefully understaffed and employees undercompensated.

We cannot be visionary when we cannot even fund essentials. Sixty percent of the property in the city is tax-exempt, and property owners and renters cannot make up the difference. Cornell must pay its fair share. Neither can we afford to pay a disproportionate cost for resources that serve the entire county, like city roads, parks and youth services. Establishing town hall meetings and a city-wide neighborhood council for an informed and visionary democracy is vital.

I have lived downtown for more than 40 years with my husband, Andy Jordan. During this time I have led an effort to protect Ithaca Falls and co-chaired the Fall Creek Neighborhood Association. I founded the Fall Creek Garden Tour and CU Downtown, a festival of student performers. I retired from a more than 30-year career in student services at Cornell. I enjoy gardening and writing. I am currently leading an effort to secure a substantial payment in lieu of taxes from Cornell. See my article, Cornell’s Tax-Exempt Status and Ithaca’s Bottom Line, and my website for more information.

Tompkins County

County Court

Joseph Cassidy

Joseph Cassidy is running for re-election as one of the Tompkins County Court Judges. Since taking office in 2014, Judge Cassidy has presided over Family Court, County Court and Surrogate Court.

In Family Court, he has used his experience as a Department of Social Services attorney and a parents’ attorney to fashion custody agreements, and to make decisions that work in the best interests of the children involved.

In County Court, Judge Cassidy has expanded and modified the Tompkins County Treatment Court, using best practices to assist defendants with substance use disorders while always considering community safety.

He was appointed to be an Acting Supreme Court Justice in 2016, presiding over the Integrated Domestic Violence Court.

Judge Cassidy hopes to continue his work for Tompkins County: to help ensure the well-being and best interests of children in custody and child protective matters, to ensure the fairness of the criminal legal system for defendants in serious felony cases, and to avoid unnecessary incarceration of convicted defendants where that outcome is lawful, appropriate and safe for the community.

State of New York

Supreme Court, 6th Judicial District

Deirdre Hay

A lecturer at Cornell Law School, Deirdre Hay has written a law book and was formerly the Managing Editor of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Law Journal. She has also served on the NYS Access to Justice Task Force and LawNY, which gives free legal advice to those in need.

As an attorney, Hay worked frequently on antitrust and matrimonial cases. Her ability to apply and explain the law with clarity earned her the Outstanding Women in Law Award from Hofstra University. Her experience dealing with complicated legal issues and cases similar to a typical NYS Supreme Court Justice’s caseload uniquely qualifies her for this important position.

As a family farmer and the co-founder of the Finger Lakes Pony Club, Hay cares about the local community and wants to protect it by guaranteeing equal justice for all.

“Now more than ever, we need to get politics out of the courtroom,” says Hay. “I am committed to applying my decades of courtroom experience, community service and compassion to ensuring our Supreme Court is fair to all.”