County Legislator Forums – 6/10 and 6/16

Hello TCDC Members and Volunteers, June is Primary month, and on June 22nd, Tompkins County Democrats will have the opportunity to choose their nominees in several contests. For the county legislature there are primary races in LD1 and LD2 in the City of Ithaca, in LD8 in Newfield and southern Enfield, and in LD13 in Dryden. There are also primary races in Ward 1 and Ward 5 of the City of Ithaca for the Common Council, and in Danby for the Town Board. If you live in any of these districts, please do your homework about the candidates and issues, and then be sure to vote on the 22nd. To help the voters in these contests be better informed, and to get to see the candidates in person virtually, the TCDC and the City of Ithaca Democratic Committee are hosting candidate forums for the county legislature and Common Council respectively. The Common Council forum was on Monday June 7th, so it will have happened by the time you get this message, but it will be live streamed on YouTube and you can watch it there anytime. Here is the link for the YouTube recording of the Common Council Forum: https://youtu.be/wEuFJQbAC0I […]

Continue reading

NY State Rental Assistance Application Is Open

New York State will provide $3.5 billion in assistance for renters and small businesses experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for the program will be accepted starting June 1 for eligible New Yorkers who are behind on their rent and have suffered financial hardship due to COVID-19. The New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide assistance with up to 12 months of past-due rent, three months of prospective rental assistance and 12 months of utility arrears payments to eligible New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. To apply, go to NYS Emergency Rental Assistance.

Continue reading

School Board Elections May 18th

Tompkins County school district elections are going to take place on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Here are links to information: Dryden School District – polls open 7:00am to 9:00pm at Middle School / High School Auditorium Budget, Candidates, Where to vote Ithaca Times Overview of Candidates Groton City School District – polls open noon to 9pm at Groton Central School District Office Budget, Candidates Ithaca City School District – polls open noon to 9pm: Complete information, including where to vote Budget Lansing School District – polls open 7:00am to 9:00pm at Elementary School Teacher Center Budget info, candidates, newsletter Newfield School District – polls open noon to 9:00pm Budget Where to vote Tompkins Weekly Overview of Candidates Trumansburg School District – polls open noon to 9:00pm Where to vote, budget, and candidate statements Ithaca Times Overview of Candidates

Continue reading

Chair’s May Message

Well, believe it or not, it really is May even though I had snow at my house on Saturday morning, and the primary election is only a few weeks away on June 22nd. This year we have several Democratic primary elections for the Tompkins County Legislature, the Ithaca City Council and the Town of Danby. The TCDC and the Ithaca Democratic Committee will be hosting virtual candidate forums for these contests to help the voters in those districts get to know the candidates better and decide who they want to support. Hopefully you remember the candidate forums we held last year for the Assembly and DA races, which were widely viewed, and voters told us they were very informative. We will be announcing the dates for these events soon so stay tuned, especially if you live in a district with a primary contest. Jim Gustafson TCDC Chair

Continue reading

Chair’s April Message

The latest from Jim Gustafson We had a classic reminder of Ithaca weather with snow on April Fools day, to remind us that April is the cruelest month of all, but I can happily report that we had a very productive petitioning season in March. We have candidates in 12 of the 14 races for the county legislature and primaries in 4 of those districts. We also have candidates for all 5 Ithaca City Council seats and primaries for 3 of those offices. Town candidates have also been nominated across the county, except in those towns that nominate by caucus, which will occur between now and July. A full listing of all the candidates and races are in this newsletter and you can also see them on the TCDC website at https://tcdemocrats.org/candidates. Primary elections are your chance to get involved in deciding which direction you want to see your local government and the party move on various issues. In uncontested general elections the real contest is the primary, so I encourage you to get involved if you live in one of these contested districts. And I encourage you to attend your local committee meetings and help in the local elections […]

Continue reading

Chair’s March Message

The latest from Jim Gustafson Believe it or not, it’s almost spring and it’s definitely petitioning season, starting on March 2nd and ending on March 19th. We need to collect signatures to put many of our candidates on the ballot for this November. I know there is a lot of concern about petitioning in the pandemic. There is some good news regarding our concerns. First the state has lowered the signature requirements by 70%, so we only need 30% of the usual number. Secondly, the state also made it possible for the TCDC to extend our terms by one year so we don’t need to collect signatures for our committee seats. This will considerably simplify the petitioning process for all of us. As some of you know, there is an election currently taking place in the city to fill Anna Kelles’ seat on the County Legislature. There are two candidates (Leslie Schill and Veronica Pillar) who both collected well over 150 signatures with minimal difficulty. They share observations from their experiences below: Knock on the door and then retreat back down the stairs to provide space when someone opens the door (while remaining visible so the voter knows you are still there) […]

Continue reading

Webinar with President Clinton

forwarded by Linda Hoffman, Political Action Committee Join the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs and e-Cornell for a conversation with former President Bill Clinton on the state of democracy in America. This program will delve into the challenges faced by our democracy today and what can be done to strengthen our democratic norms for future generations. Following the conversation with President Clinton, please stay tuned for a panel reaction from Cornell experts and to learn how to get involved with the Campaign for the Future of Democracy, an exciting new project through the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs. Thursday, March 18th, 2021 from 5 pm to 6 pm. Dial in is supplied with RSVP. This event is open to current members of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs and the Cornell Community. Non-Cornell community members may be allowed to join if space is available. To RSVP, please click here

Continue reading

Chair’s February Message

I’m sure we are all feeling a great sense of relief now that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are hard at work in the White House and we are not hearing from it’s former resident on an hourly basis. We are still in the pandemic, and we are all trying to figure out how to get vaccinations, and our national politics is still too partisan and poisonous, but what a relief to see the President working everyday to take care of people and solve our problems in an honest straightforward way. Now it’s time for us to turn our attention to local elections. We have important contests across Tompkins County this year, which Renate outlines in this newsletter, thanks Renate, and we need to get our candidates on the ballot over the next few months, and then work to get them elected this November. Where there are open seats in your town, ward or the county legislature, please help your local committee find good candidates. And where there are Republicans holding these seats, especially in the county legislature, let’s find good candidates to run against them and not concede any elected offices! When you are talking to prospective candidates remember […]

Continue reading

Diversity and Inclusion Update

 from Susie Monagan The TCDC has communicated a desire to become a less racist organization. We dedicate ourselves to changing the culture of our organization to attract new members to better reflect the demographic makeup of Tompkins County. This change will allow the committee, our party, and our elected officials to better understand and serve all of our citizens and prioritize funding of the policies that will lead to a just and equitable community. In order to accomplish this goal, the TCDC will set aside funds to hire trainers who can guide the membership through the process of unpacking and dismantling its racism as well as developing a strategy for supporting this transformation for the long term. We acknowledge that our goal to transform the committee will take work; building relationships of trust and interrupting patterns of racism does not happen overnight. We must acknowledge that, between Philadelphia and Atlanta, Black voters delivered this past election cycle to Democrats, beginning the process of terminating the horrors of the Trump presidency and the McConnell Senate. Now is the time to look at what 2020 has taught us about the gross inequities in our society and commit resources toward living up to […]

Continue reading

I Volunteered. Did It Help?

by Peter Rothbart, TCDC Volunteer Coordinator Yes it did. This election mattered, this democracy mattered, votes mattered and volunteerism was one of the engines that drove the process. On a personal level, volunteerism feels good. We feel engaged, alive, empowered and committed. We are taking charge of our lives and our futures. And with Covid all but locking our doors for us, volunteering gave us a reason to cross the threshold and reach out to others barricaded at home. Covid, of course, changed not only the campaign landscape bur forced us to improvise new ways to the communicate… and quickly. Door to door contact was just plain dangerous, causing the Democrats to abandon leafletting out of a justified abundance of caution and respect for others. The importance of phone calling became even more paramount; new software and new organizational approaches were developed quickly, often with flawed and mixed results at first. The glitchy software got better and training sessions improved with experience and confidence. New techniques using texting and social media postings proved to be quick, efficient, cheap and personal in communicating with potential constituents. And even post carding and letter writing found a renewed niche as people longed for […]

Continue reading