Message from the Chair

Who Wants to Win in 2024? RAISE YOUR HAND!

Local Democratic communities lost two well-respected, influential members this spring: Janice Newman Esman, who died at age 104, and Daniel Konowalow, who was 95.

Janice was a member of TCDC and served as Treasurer at a time in the late 1980s/early 1990s when local Democrats flipped Tompkins County from red to blue. She would reach across the aisle to achieve goals that were important to her, for example, working with the late Republican Assemblywoman Constance Cook to legalize abortion in New York state in the early 1970s.

Dan became a member and chair of the Lansing Democratic Committee (LDC), served on the Lansing Town Board and encouraged others to do the same. Current LDC Chair Ruth Hopkins says Dan urged her to run for Town Board, and supported her “as I grappled with the controversial issues before the Board. He took the time to attend board meetings and give a strong voice and sound rationale for our shared viewpoints. When Dan showed up to the meeting, board members knew we were going to hear a well-researched, articulate and vigorous comment!”

Dan’s widow, Marcy Rosenkrantz, says Dan was looking forward to President Biden’s reelection. At 95, he could still do complex math problems in his head. “If Democrats think Joe Biden is too old,” says Marcy, “they should think again!”

When losing two such valuable members, it’s natural to wonder how we can replace them. We have many wonderful members, and they work very hard to get Democrats elected, from local elections to the Oval Office. But it involves a great deal of work, especially this election year. It takes a full committee to manage it, but we have a great many vacancies on TCDC. That also raises concerns about whether all county Democrats are getting fair representation. And as Democrats,we are always interested in new ideas.

Early this year I asked First Vice Chair Cynthia Mannino to head up an ad hoc Committee for Recruitment of New Members. The group is planning to send postcards to 700 county residents who’ve registered as Democrats here since last August. It also plans to host a meeting of town and ward chairs to get an idea of who lives in their jurisdictions and what sorts of appeals will work best to generate their interest.

I hope everyone will support the ad hoc committee’s efforts. Talk to friends and acquaintances about your work for TCDC. Mention it as you go door to door, petitioning and canvassing. Sometimes it is the impromptu conversations that bring about the next new member. If someone shows interest, refer them to me and I’ll connect them with the appropriate town or ward committee chair.

As the 2024 election cycle picks up speed, I hear others in the Democratic Party, here in New York State and other states, speak with growing concern of a perception that Democrats are on the edge of despair as they look toward the presidential, congressional and state races. The way forward is clear: Come together. Ask people in your circles to join your county committee. Consider filling out TCDC’s Volunteer Questionnaire. Get involved in “Get Out the Vote” activities, phoning and texting voters in Tompkins County. Volunteer to run Voter Registration tables. Staff our headquarters. Help getting out post cards and mailings. We need your expertise in areas like social media, organizing, writing and design and more, to support the growing workload.

The success of your county committee depends on the commitment of members such as yourself to spread the word: “There is work to be done!”


Linda Hoffmann, Chair
Tompkins County Democratic Committee

Posted in Tompkins County.