Jim Gustafson

It is with the heaviest of hearts that the Executive Committee of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee announces that our dear friend and chair, Jim Gustafson, passed away peacefully yesterday, December 21st, 2021, at home surrounded by his loving family. Jim was elected as interim Chair of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee on February 25th, 2019, by the Tompkins County membership to take over a partial term vacated by former TCDC Chair, Irene Stein. In June of 2019, Jim ran for a regular two-year term. Strongly leading our committee through the difficult days of COVID, Jim’s tenure as Chair was extended by the NYS Democratic Committee until September 2022. Jim Gustafson sadly resigned because of ill health in early December of 2021. Interim TCDC Chair Stacey Dimas was quoted this morning: I am deeply saddened to hear the news that Jim Gustafson has passed away. As the Chair of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee, Jim was a wonderful mentor to me and to so many others. As a leader and a friend, he encouraged, inspired, and believed in our power to work together to fight for a stronger democracy. For women of color like myself, entering politics can be challenging […]

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Ann Sullivan

Grace and Gratitude

We live in difficult times. Almost every day the news brings an onslaught of bleak news; ethnic cleansing, wars, famines, fierce weather events and senseless individual acts of violence that destroy innocent lives. We are in our second year of a plague that has killed over 750,000 of us and sickened millions more. Malicious voices distort and amplify these troubles to divide, rather than to rally us together against a common foe. Just what, many of ask ourselves, in this holiday season of joy and good will, do we have to celebrate? To whom do we owe gratitude and thanks? As I look around this small county we call home, I find one obvious answer to my question. I feel gratitude to the hundreds of public servants who govern, administer and deliver the services upon which all of us who live in Tompkins depend. For almost two years, these individuals have demonstrated how good and efficient government works for the benefit of all of us in difficult and extraordinary circumstances. Events of the past years has highlighted the critical role that the Tompkins County Public Health Department plays in our community’s well-being. As soon as the seriousness of the Corona […]

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The Town of Lansing is at a Turning Point

Lansing is at a turning point, with zoning laws that need to be updated and the ongoing need for conservation to protect our natural resources. Acknowledging these issues, the town will begin revision of the zoning laws in 2022. This includes the zoning revisions of the rural agricultural area, which encompasses about two-thirds of the northern part of the town. It is also an area where development pressures are conflicting with resident’s expectations on a regular basis. Lansing’s Comprehensive Plan calls for new zoning to preserve the agricultural nature that Lansing was founded on. Often, developers who reside outside the town want to build storage facilities, small discount stores and solar panels on the town’s open farmlands and along scenic corridors. Oftentimes, these developers look for two criteria: where traffic flows and where land is available. -Lansing residents want and deserve more. Zoning laws need to reflect demand but also residents’ wishes. The recent Bell Station land controversy highlights how important natural areas such as Cayuga Lake’s beautiful gorges and diversity of plant and animal life are. The limited public access to the lake guards against access. If these precious lands are developed into homes or inappropriate commercial use, the […]

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Chair’s October Message

Hello Tompkins County Democrats and welcome to Campaign Season, October is the height of campaign season: putting up signs, doing voter mailings, door to door canvassing and calling voters. It’s when you can have the greatest impact with your volunteer work. We have competitive county races in three districts, city council contests in three wards, and serious races in three towns. The details are listed here in the Newsletter and we would appreciate your volunteer support in any of these contests that interest you. Please contact our volunteer organizers at tcdcvolunteers@gmail.com. You can also help by donating to the TCDC. The Tompkins County Democratic Committee is contributing $12,000 to the candidates in these contested races. This money is used to send mailings to voters, lawn signs, door hangers for canvassing, some ads in local papers and so on. Postage is expensive when you start mailing to thousands of voters in a town or county race. So please consider donating to the TCDC. You can use the ActBlue button our TCDC website ir send in your contribution by mail. See https://tcdemocrats.org/tc-democrats/donate/ Thanks and Happy Halloween. Jim Gustafson, TCDC Chair

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Peter Stein

It is with deepest sadness, we write to you this evening of the passing of Peter Stein on Friday, September 17th, 2021.  Peter was a life-long member of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee and the TCDC representative to the NYS Democratic Committee.  Many of us remember Peter’s contributions as the committee parliamentarian and his passionate interventions during our meetings. He was also a County Legislator from the Town of Ithaca for almost a decade, and before that a member of the Ithaca Town Board. He had a deep understanding and commitment for social justice and the need for Democratic principles within governance.  Professionally Peter was an esteemed professor emeritus in the Cornell Physics and Nuclear Studies Department with publications and research that were seminal to his field. Peter was married for 65 years to Irene Stein, our long-time Chair of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee.  Our entire committee extends our deepest condolences to Irene and their children, grandchildren, and newest great grandchild. Due to the current situation, there is no memorial service planned at this time. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Alzheimer’s Association, or Cornell University. A link to Peter’s […]

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November 2, 2021 is Election Day: News from the Tompkins County Board of Elections

In Tompkins County more than 300 people are needed to work as election inspectors and operate the polls on Election Day. In order to be a Democratic Poll Watcher you must be 17 or older, a registered Democratic voter in Tompkins County (or pre-registered if under 18), and enjoy people and service to others. https://www2.tompkinscountyny.gov/boe/pollworker Voter Registration for the General Election MAIL REGISTRATION (N.Y. Election Law Section 5-210(3)) Applications must be postmarked no later than October 8, 2021 and received by a board of elections no later than October 13, 2021 to be eligible to vote in the General Election. IN PERSON REGISTRATION (N.Y. Election Law Sections 5-210, 5-211, 5-212) You may register at your local board of elections or any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act, on any business day throughout the year but, to be eligible to vote in the General Election, your application must be received no later than October 8, 2021. If honorably discharged from the US Military or have become a naturalized US Citizen after October 8, 2021, you may register in person at the Board of Elections up until October 23, 2021. CHANGE OF ADDRESS (N.Y. Election Law Section 5-208(3)) Notices of change of address from registered voters […]

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Newfield and Enfield Districts 1 and 3 to vote for Vanessa Greenlee on November 2

submitted by Jim Gustafson for the Democratic View in the Tompkins Weekly, August 2021 One of the most rewarding parts of being chair of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee is meeting people with good ideas and a record of accomplishment, and helping them put their talents to work for the whole community. Vanessa Greenlee, who is running for the Newfield/Enfield (District 8) seat on the Tompkins County Legislature, is one of those people.A former middle- and high school teacher, Vanessa grew up at the opposite end of Appalachia from here in a small town called Dalton, Georgia. She, her husband and their two sons moved to Newfield in 2013 and fit right in. “I really love small towns and rural living,” she told us. Vanessa’s job at Cornell focuses on agriculture and food security. “I have a small role in a big project,” she says, with typical modestly. “We’re working to ensure that the food system can withstand pressures from climate change, and that food remains affordable.” She is running for the County Legislature in part because she feels it’s important for the county and the towns to explore how the covid-19 pandemic has changed our communities and individual lives, and […]

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Volunteering Opportunity: We Need You!

If you love to produce graphics, the TCDC needs you. This is a great volunteering opportunity to help our TCDC Committee as well as local candidates who need help with election materials. We have the software platform, Canva, that is quite intuitive. If you have a little experience doing graphic work and enjoy it please contact Renate Ferro, Director of Communications. renateferroTCDC@gmail.com.

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Chair’s September Message

September is always an exciting month in politics since it is the start of campaign season in even years and odd years. This year we have a full slate of important local elections, including all the county legislative seats and five Ithaca City Council seats.. There are hotly contested races in several of our towns as well. The details about these contests over the next three months in this newsletter. We encourage you to get involved in the local races where you live and if there isn’t a local contested race then consider volunteering in one that is. Running successful campaigns requires good organization, volunteers and money. Please consider contributing to your local committee and to the TCDC so we can help fund these candidates, and one of the most valuable contributions you can make is to volunteer. You can help with mailings, phone calls and door to door canvassing. Thanks and see you on the campaign trail.

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Statement from NYS Democratic Chairman on Incoming Governor Kathy Hochul

New York will finally have its first female Governor and we could not be in better hands. From assisting her mother run a transitional domestic violence shelter to helping make the property tax cap permanent, Kathy Hochul has always and relentlessly fought for the people of New York. Her experience at all levels of government – Town Board Member, County Clerk, Congresswoman, and Lieutenant Governor, makes her uniquely well-equipped to effectively govern the State at this time. I am confident that incoming Governor Hochul’s empathy, work ethic and authentic concern for the welfare of its citizens will make her an outstanding Governor for our State. Jay S. Jacobs NYS Democratic Chairman

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