Message from the Chair

These are times that try men’s souls We live in challenging times. The wars in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, are causing immense human suffering. Our domestic politics are fractious, often vicious. The fundamental values of our American Republic remain under assault. The leading Republican candidate for the presidency is an authoritarian bully with intense contempt for our democratic system. What can we, the Democrats of Tompkins County do, when faced with such threats against our democracy? Thomas Paine’s The Crisis comes to mind. We must first understand the difficulty of the task ahead of us in the upcoming year. Donald Trump could be elected president. We also expect State Senator Lea Webb and our candidate for Congress, Josh Riley, to face well-funded, tough opposition.Secondly, we must keep in mind that any Democratic victory in the Southern Tier hinges on a massive turnout of Democratic voters in Tompkins County. Third, we must, as the Tompkins County Democratic Committee, do everything within our power to deliver that turnout next November. Together we can achieve victory. The task ahead might seem daunting, but Americans always have risen to tough challenges. I take comfort […]

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House Sitting

You can tell a lot about a politician by looking at who salutes him Local Congressman Marc Molinaro (R-NY19) spent 2023 demonstrating over and over that he’s a hypocrite, and not nearly as moderate as he pretends to be. As a GOP member of one of the most unproductive House sessions anyone can remember, Molinaro voted with extreme members of his party on several significant amendments, resolutions and pieces of legislation. Hence our nickname: MINO (Moderate In Name Only) Marc. One of the most notorious examples of Molinaro’s loyalty to party over country was his decision to go along with the GOP insurrectionists by voting to authorize a frivolous and obviously political impeachment investigation into President Biden. Molinaro did this while remaining absolutely silent on the egregious behavior of the twice impeached, four times indicted former president and leader of his own party. Such rank hypocrisy is hard to stomach. Molinaro has also danced around the abortion issue. He knows most New Yorkers believe women should have reproductive choices. Yet, he voted with his party for amendment 222 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would forbid the use of Department of Defense funds to reimburse members of the […]

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House Sitting

By Ann Reichlin When we left off in last month’s column, Republicans in the House were in the throes of dysfunction in their effort to choose a new Speaker. Local Congressman Marc Molinaro and the rest of the House GOP caucus settled on the mild-mannered, lesser-known, far-right Trump sycophant Mike Johnson. Since Molinaro voted for Johnson, it’s fair to ask if he shares Johnson’s election denialism, his opposition to funding for Ukraine, his anti-LBTQ rights views, his anti-abortion absolutism or his willingness to shut down the government. Molinaro claims that Johnson will consider the needs of NY-19 voters. (Translation: He thinks Johnson will consider Molinaro’s political future in our swing district.) After the three-week GOP logjam that froze legislative activity, the House has begun to vote on bills and amendments. Molinaro’s votes give us a window into how he tries to appeal to right-wing voters in spite of his moderate veneer. For example, on the appropriations bill, Molinaro voted in favor of numerous ridiculous far-right initiatives, including voting yes on bills to reduce the salaries of the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Mine Safety, the Secretary of Health and Human Services and others to $1 per year. These amendments […]

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Election News from Around the County

From Renate Ferro, Chair, Caroline Caroline incumbent Democrats Mark Witmer, Kate Kelley-Mackenzie, Tim Murray and Michelle Brown won a highly contested Town Board election with a decisive 54 percent majority on Election Night. They did so with the help of a fleet of Caroline Democrats who conducted a door-to-door campaign, campaign sign organization, direct mail campaign, website outreach and social media presence. The campaign litmus test was the issue of zoning. The debate came to a head during the June Democratic Primary, when approximately 80 non-Democrats switched party affiliation to Democratic as self-described DINOs (Democrats in Name Only). Their mission was to circumvent the democratic process and push an anti-zoning agenda couched in messages of neighborly unity. Our candidates knew first-hand that zoning was one of many complex issues that needed to be managed. We felt that our incumbents’ track record, experience and leadership would help them prevail on November 7. Our hunch was correct, but it took time, effort and strategic organization of our volunteers. The campaign’s moving parts were organized by the committee’s newly-elected chair, Renate Ferro, and former TCDC chair Jean McPheeters, aided by the managerial excellence of former Town Board member Irene Weiser. There was so […]

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Need Volunteers for Communications

HELP! TCDC is looking for volunteers with experience in graphic design, news writing and editing, media relations, social media and other communications skills to help boost our messaging for 2024—a big year, when we can be the deciding factor in flipping our congressional district by electing Josh Riley—and into the future. We can be infinitely flexible about schedules and number of hours worked. As long as you’re good at meeting deadlines and you enjoy promoting Democratic values and candidates, we can work out an arrangement to accommodate your busy life.   Interested? Contact Claudia Wheatley, claudiawheatleytcdc@gmail.com and let’s talk!

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Social (Media) Security

Do you use Facebook? Instagram? Tik Tok? The app formerly known as Twitter? TCDC is interested in knowing where you’re at on social media (or if you aren’t on social media at all—that’s also worth knowing!). We want to be where you are, so we can get breaking information and time-sensitive content to you ASAP between editions of DASH. Take a minute and let us know which you use. If you have another minute, feel free to offer suggestions, observations and experiences—it all helps us communicate better with YOU. Facebook X (formerly Twitter) Instagram TikTok Other (please specify) Let us know your preferences in an email to claudiawheatleytcdc@gmail.com.

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Message from the Chair, December 2023

2023: The Long and Short of It It’s December, and it’s sort of strange to think 2023 is almost over. It was packed with so much activity, the year seemed both incredibly long and very short at the same time. Taken as a whole, our 2023 local elections were a wonderful success—a real tribute to the energy and dedication all of you poured into carrying petitions, canvassing, writing and designing campaign literature and the myriad other tasks that go into an election. Of course, it helped that we had such a deep bench of smart, talented, service-oriented Democrats to present to voters. It will be exciting to see how the quality of life improves in our towns and city under their executive and legislative leadership. Looking ahead, 2024 promises to be just as challenging as 2023. The presidential election is one of the most consequential of my life, and I imagine the same holds true for you. Then there is the race for Congress, and the chance to help elect a Democratic representative for Tompkins County for the first time since 2010! We will also work to reelect State Senator Lea Webb and Assemblywoman Anna Kelles. Boosting Democratic turnout is […]

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Cross-aisle endorsements for NYS Supreme Court candidate

Endorsements came from both sides of the aisle for New York State Supreme Court candidate Deirdre Hay in recent weeks. Supporters include former Chair of the Town of Ithaca Republican Committee Melinda Oakes, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, and a candidate for Otsego County Clerk, MacGuire Benton. Local Assemblymember Anna Kelles and Diane Lechner, President of the NYS Federation of Democratic Women, have also endorsed Hay’s candidacy. “Deirdre Hay has exceptional courtroom experience, and is a recognized leader of our state’s legal profession who has worked with senior judges to improve our judicial system,” said Assemblymember Kelles. Comptroller DiNapoli cited “Deirdre Hay’s years of courtroom, classroom, and community service experience,” which, he said, “make her the best qualified candidate to keep politics out of the courtroom and ensure equal justice for all.” “Deirdre is relatable because she is authentic, and she is authentic because she is a lawyer first and foremost, not a politician,” said Federation President Lechner. “She is exactly the kind of New York State Supreme Court Justice we need to elect at this moment in history.”

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Governor, Assemblymember endorse Alderman Cantelmo for Ithaca Mayor

Ithaca mayoral candidate Robert Cantelmo picked up two nice endorsements in recent weeks: One from New York Governor Kathy Hochul and one from local Assemblymember Anna Kelles. “Robert Cantelmo has committed himself to public service to build a better life for his neighbors and community in Ithaca,” Hochul said, in a statement. “I believe Robert is the best candidate to address the housing crisis, promote an inclusive economic recovery, and help advance New York’s transition to a green economy because he has proven himself to be a leader with the passion and experience to get big things done. “I am proud to endorse Robert Cantelmo for Mayor of Ithaca and look forward to continuing to work with him to build a more affordable and livable New York for all,” Hochul added. Cantelmo noted that “Governor Hochul has delivered time and again for New Yorkers, from protecting reproductive rights, to strengthening our gun safety laws, and saving Ithaca Carshare. Her bold action on the state’s housing crisis is a testament to her leadership and policy vision. I am proud and honored to receive the governor’s endorsement, and I look forward to working closely with her administration to lift Ithaca to new […]

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House Sitting – November 2023

by Ann Reichlin Congressman Marc Molinaro cannot be trusted. On this point, most Democrats in New York’s Congressional District 19 would agree. And based on the comments on his Facebook page, it’s likely that his Republican base agrees on this point as well. That’s because Marc Molinaro stands for nothing. When you behave like a weather vane and base your votes on which way the political winds are blowing, you run into trouble when your party’s crosscutting ideological winds become a hurricane. The House GOP is so dysfunctional that in spite of controlling the chamber, it couldn’t even agree on who should be the Speaker. Throughout Molinaro’s brief time on Capitol Hill, he has pitched himself as a moderate. Many of his votes suggest that this is not the case. His series of votes in the Speaker saga only underscore his lack of core values. Act 1: Molinaro does not vote to oust McCarthy (team player, owes his job to McCarthy). Act 2: Molinaro keeps his head down (maybe nobody will notice me). Act 3: Molinaro supports insurrectionist Jim Jordan (claims his constituents don’t care and wouldn’t know the Speaker if a truck backed into them). Act 4: Molinaro supports […]

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