Democrats Running in Upcoming Elections

Tompkins County Legislature

Nicole LaFave for District 1

I am running for County Legislature because, in my heart of hearts, I am a public servant. I am running for County Legislature because we need more BIPOC women at the table with decision-making power who can empathize with the many experiences of our constituents that keep them trapped in intergenerational poverty and without access to resources to improve their life trajectory. I seek a seat at the table to be a voice for segments of our community that feel unseen and unheard.

Travis Brooks for District 1
Brooks for Legislature

With more than 30 years of living in this community, and 22 of those years devoted to serving the District 1 community, I look forward to tackling the challenges we face regarding affordable housing, living wage, access to community programs to support strong families, accessible and affordable child care, and opportunities for solid employment and growth. I have gained valuable experience in bringing diverse stakeholders to collaborate to solve the problems in my work as Deputy Director of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center, Director of My Brother’s Keeper, and as member of Ithaca’s Municipal Drug Policy Committee. I played a key role in securing a grant that will enable Ithaca to employ progressive solutions to the problems of crime and addiction. I pledge to focus my efforts on economic recovery (helping small businesses to rebuild), improving the quality of life for marginalized West Hill residents, building coalitions dedicated to social justice, and improving the lives of all our citizens but particularly those that have been underrepresented.

Veronica Pillar for District 2

Dr. Veronica Pillar is a teacher and community activist who supports racial and climate justice, genuinely affordable housing, public utilities, and open communication between grassroots community and local government. Vote March 13-23 in District 2!

Leslie Schill for District 2

I am running for Tompkins County Legislature to bring my energy, experience, and knowledge to support our community in this time of crisis. Right now, we need creative thinking and a proven track record for dealing with complex community challenges.

Henry Granison for District 3

I am very pleased to represent the Belle Sherman, Bryant Park and South Hill Neighborhoods on the County Legislature. I am seeking reelection for the position and my top priorities are increasing affordable housing, raising wages to a living wage and helping with the reimagining public safety.

Rich John for District 4

I am running for re-election to the Fourth District to continue representing the people living in ithaca on the Commons, the south end of Fall Creek, East Hill, Collegetown, and part of the Cornell University West Campus area. I am proud to help do some of the work of local government and I think there will be much to do in the next term, particularly in pandemic recovery, police reform and economic growth. Please reach out if you have questions or want to talk.

Anne Koreman for District 5

During the next four years, I pledge to diligently assist our community in recovering from the effects of the pandemic including the mental and physical health of our residents, job retention and retraining (including green jobs), housing, and support for our many small business. I will continue to advocate for working families, a more sustainable environment, expanding affordable broadband in rural areas, and equity for all marginalized groups.

Dan Klein for District 7

I am proud to represent a portion of the Town of Ithaca, along with Danby and Caroline on the Tompkins County Legislature. I take my job very seriously and am always interested in engaging with constituents about the issues the legislature is working on.

Vanessa Greenlee for District 8

It is time for us to do more so that our rural communities are resilient through times of uncertainty. The pandemic offers an opportunity to build back in ways that are different from before and more suited to our current climate reality. I am running to serve on the Legislature because we need people at the table who will search for diverse perspectives and seek to understand before making decisions. My campaign is driven by the idea that powerful things can happen when we communicate across difference.

Bob Lynch for District 8

I see this nation changing, this community changing, and not always for the better. I sense that for each of us there stands a moment, a proper time to lean against the wheel, to put one’s education, life experiences and passion to use for the common good. Each of us should attempt to light one little candle that illuminates the darkness.

Deborah Dawson for District 10

During my first term on the Legislature, I served on a variety of boards and committees, chaired the Planning, Energy, and Environmental Quality Committee for 2 years, and now chair the Budget, Capital, and Personnel Committee. Going forward, I intend to focus my efforts on addressing the two overwhelming challenges that now confront Tompkins County: the fiscal aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the efficient transition to sustainable energy we will need to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Shawna Black for District 11

I’m excited to run for re-election of County Legislator in District 11. In the upcoming term legislators will make decisions about law enforcement reform, green energy investments, and decisions that assist with affordable housing – I look forward to being a part of that.

Amanda Champion for District 12

Since beginning my term on the Legislature, I have been an advocate for environmental protections, health and human services, and good government. The most important part of this work is listening to people and guiding them to the information or help they need, particularly during this difficult period of the global pandemic.

Samantha Lushtak for District 13

My name is Samantha Lushtak, but you can call me Sam. I’m a Dryden resident, small business owner, mom to Catherine and wife to Yev. I’m running for District 13, because I believe that bringing people together from different socioeconomic backgrounds should no longer be a talking point. It must be a practice. I will fight for you for safe and affordable housing, COVID-19 recovery, re-imagining public safety, and accessible health care.

Greg Mezey for District 13

I’m excited to be running for Tompkins County Legislator in District 13. As a local business owner, hospitality and real estate professional, community volunteer, and partner to Ryan, I bring the business, governance and community experience required to get the job done. We are at a critical juncture with the post-pandemic recovery, affordable housing shortage, need for public safety reform, access to health and family services, and efficient and effective government that listens and learns from all community voices. As your legislator, I will work towards consensus and ensuring your voice is heard. It will take all of us working together to find solutions that finally take these issues off the table. The motto “service above self” was instilled in me from an early age, and I am passionate about improving the quality of life for all of us in Tompkins County.

Michael Lane for District 14

Public service is a high honor. I have been humbled to represent District 14 of the Tompkins County Legislature, which is the east part of the Town of Dryden including the Villages of Freeville and Dryden. In 2021, I am excited to be running to continue my service for the people of our district and of our county. As a past Chair of the Legislature, and currently chairing the Facilities and Infrastructure standing committee, I want to continue to be effective by fighting to improve county services for our rural district. Recovery from the covid pandemic, safe highways, public safety, climate protection and economic development all require hard work. We have shown we can come together come together during the current crisis, and I am convinced that the future for our county is very bright.

City of Ithaca – Common Council

Cynthia Brock for Ward 1
Cynthia Brock for Common Council

The City is facing several difficult decisions in the coming years that will directly impact the City and the First Ward.

  • Redistricting of election boundaries and restructuring of the roles of Council and the Mayor will impact the voices of our residents in City government.
  • Real Estate development throughout the First Ward will be striking in their breadth and scale:
    • The South Hill Neighborhood Plan will define zoning and expand high density development into the area, and requires active outreach, and thoughtful and engaged involvement of residents.
    • The West End is seeing proposed development along the flood relief channel, Inlet Island, and the Fulton/Meadow corridor, which will have impacts on traffic, bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, and create a visible gateway into all areas of the City.
    • East State will see high-density development at the Gateway to the Commons, immediately adjacent to Six Mile Creek.
  • The Reimagining Public Safety initiative, involving the restructuring of our police department and expansion of services to include mental health, houselessness and addiction and recovery responses.

I am running for re-election to advocate for First Ward residents in the midst of dramatic change in the City, while also continuing to address resident’s immediate needs and concerns such as road maintenance, stormwater management, traffic speed, police responsiveness, and bicycle and pedestrian safety and connectivity.

Shaniya Foster for Ward 1

My vision is an Ithaca where all people — and especially people of color and low-income people — make enough to feed their families, don’t have to fear eviction or live in seriously uninhabitable apartment conditions, and have outstanding daycare facilities. We can walk the streets without fearing harassment or racism at the hands of the police, free from slumlording and racial segregation, where we confront colorism and where we can have autonomy over our workplaces, homes and health.

Yasmin Rashid for Ward 1

I’m running for Common Council because I believe that everyone has a voice and while we may not always agree, compassion for and understanding of people should always be the purpose of communication along with an even ear for fairness.

Phoebe Brown for Ward 2

Phoebe has lived and worked as a community activist in Ithaca for over two and a half decades, coming from Harlem, where she gained a deep understanding that mutual aid, strong relationships and community support systems are the bedrock of a strong society – in stark contrast to those who rely on abstract metrics that invariably find that high rise luxury apartments are the answer to every city’s problems.

Jeffrey Barken for Ward 3

Having grown up in Ithaca, Jeffrey graduated from Cornell in 2008. Over the course of three decades he has seen his hometown become a city. Committed to protecting the city’s cherished natural areas, he believes Ithaca is uniquely positioned to be a leader in clean energy, building practices, and transportation infrastructure. Jeffrey’s collaborative approach can bring people together in this pivotal pursuit.

George DeFendini for Ward 4

Because everyone deserves to live a life free from violence or fear of the police, Jorge is fighting to defund the police and instead, to use those funds in our community, including by making transit free and providing childcare. George believes that the answer to making “radical” politics mainstream lies with solidarity: working together with the community to use the power they’ve always had to make real the most ambitious visions of a better world possible.

Robert Cantelmo for Ward 5

As a member of Council, Robert plans to implement evidence-based policies that prioritize economic development and recovery from COVID-19, addresses our housing needs, demonstrates Ithaca’s commitment to environmental sustainability, and reforms community policing.

Marty Hiller for Ward 5

I’m running for Common Council to lend my voice and practical leadership skills to a more progressive community agenda. My top priorities are recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic, improving public safety by shifting our focus toward crisis care and prevention, finding more effective solutions to our affordable housing challenges, and furthering our Green New Deal. I have a long history in community service, from past participation at Ecovillage at Ithaca and White Hawk to my current work, helping to achieve a secure long-term home for the Ithaca Community Gardens. Systemic inequities play an important role in all of our community challenges, and addressing those inequities must be a part of any lasting solution.

Town of Caroline

Mark Witmer for Town Supervisor
Katherine Goldberg for Town Board

  • currently liaising with the Planning Board
  • primary interest and motivation in serving the Town is navigating rural land stewardship in the face of population growth
  • approach to public service through a social justice lens, particular interest in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging work within rural communities
Gary Reinbolt for Town Justice
Cal Snow for Town Board
Kate Mackenzie for Town Board

Town of Danby

Joel Gagnon for Town Supervisor

credit: Robyn Wishna
Ted Crane for Town Councilperson
Janice Adelman for Town Clerk
Keith Shipman for Highway Superintendent
Anthony Clay Wells for Highway Superintendent
Katharine Hunter for Town Councilperson
Patricia Woodworth for Town Councilperson

Town of Dryden

Seeking nomination at the caucus:

Jason Leifer for Town Supervisor
Dan Lamb for Town Supervisor
Leonardo Vargas-Mendez for Town Board
Rick Young for Highway Superintendent

Town of Enfield

Stephanie Redmond for Town Supervisor

Now that the Town of Enfield has completed its Comprehensive Plan, I am excited to get down to business to see the actions of the plan followed through. I have been collaborating with the Tompkins County Public Library and several community members to bring library services to Enfield and will continue to advocate to expand those services. Additionally, I have been in contact with the NYS Dept. of Transportation to build sidewalks and address traffic safety in areas of concern. We are in the process of developing a Water Protection Plan and working on the construction of a salt barn to protect our water resources. I have been organizing to reestablish Financial and Renewable Energy Advisory Committees and am excited to see lots of community participation in these groups. Many hands make light work. Let’s work together for a sustainable Enfield!

Jude Lemke for Councilperson

For the past 43 years, I have been an attorney, licensed to practice in NY, and I believe my legal skills will be valuable to the Town Board. For most of those 43 years, I was also an actively licensed CPA (currently inactive). I have recently retired from my position as the VP, Tax for Corning, Incorporated which means I will have time to devote as an active member of the Board. I was appointed to a vacant Town Board Councilperson position and the Town’s Financial Committee in March 2021. During the past five years, I have also been a member of the Town’s Renewable Energy Advisory Committee. I look forward to working with the Town Supervisor and other Board members on a wide range of issues, including exploring grant opportunities for residents and the Town for through the Clean Energy Communities’ Clean Heating and Cooling and Energy Efficiency campaign, working to secure the salt barn grant, and exploring ways to improve the Town’s broadband access.

Mary Cornell for Clerk
Cassandra Hinkle for Councilperson
James Ricks for Councilperson
Betty Poole for Town Justice
Barry Rollins Sr for Highway Superintendent

Town of Ithaca — Town Board and Town Justice

Rich DePaolo for Town Board
Endorsed by the Town of Ithaca Democratic Committee

I feel that my most important responsibility as a councilperson is to engage our residents in participatory government. Municipal processes can feel mundane, but they determine many aspects of our local lives, and the folks who live here should have a hand in shaping their community experience.

Margaret Johnson for Town Board
Endorsed by the Town of Ithaca Democratic Committee

I decided to run for Ithaca Town Board because I want to help protect and expand our parks, trails and open spaces, preserve the precious resource of our beautiful lake and clearly track progress toward the Town’s Climate Smart Communities Goals for improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. My campaign is about enhancing opportunities and quality of life for all residents of the Town of Ithaca.

Rob Rosen for Town Board
Endorsed by the Town of Ithaca Democratic Committee

I’m running for the Ithaca Town Board because I want to contribute to the continuing success of the Town of Ithaca, and I want to support the work of local government to improve the lives of all people. On broader issues, I would bring my support for progressive causes such as a fair economy, equality, sustainability, and social justice.

Jim Salk for Town Justice
Endorsed by the Town of Ithaca Democratic Committee

The “Court closest to the people” continues to fulfill a vital role in the life of our community. For me, serving as Ithaca Town Justice is, not only an honor but more importantly, an opportunity to use my skills and experience to serve the citizens of Ithaca.

Town of Lansing

Joe Wetmore for Councilperson
Endorsed by the Town of Lansing Democratic Committee

Key interests: Promoting planning that prioritizes the interests of Lansing Town residents. Advocates for long term fiscal planning while keep an eye on the Town’s finances. Building alliances. Seeking accountability.

Ruth Groff for Councilperson
Endorsed by the Town of Lansing Democratic Committee

Key interests: Environmental responsibility, fiscal responsibility, efficient and ethical town management, preserving the historical and special character of Lansing.

Town of Ulysses

The Town of Ulysses holds a caucus rather than a primary to determine which local Democrats will be on the ballot on November 2. At the Ulysses Democratic Committee meeting on April 1, the committee voted to set July 11, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. as the date for the caucus to be held at the Trumansburg Fairgrounds, 2150 Trumansburg Road. Not knowing what the Covid-19 restrictions will be at that time, the committee opted to be prepared for the continued need to social distance. The fairground has options for either holding the caucus out-of-doors if the weather cooperates, or in a well-ventilated building.

Democrats at the caucus will vote to select candidates for the following open seats:
Town Supervisor,
2 Town Board Members
Town Clerk
Town Highway Superintendent.

Some residents and incumbents have expressed interest in running for those seats, but the final determination will be made at the caucus. Anyone interested in running should contact Cynthia Mannino for more information. Candidate information will be on the Tompkins County Democratic Committee website.

The Ulysses County Legislative seat will also be on the ballot in November. This seat is not determined at the caucus, but instead through the petitioning process (and sometimes a primary). Anne Koreman, the current County Legislator for the Town of Ulysses confirmed she has the required number of signatures on her petitions to run for office. She is the only Democratic candidate, therefore no primary vote is required.

Delegates for the 6th Judicial Convention

The delegates we elect will attend a judicial convention in August to nominate Supreme Court Justice Molly Fitzgerald for a second 14-year term.