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 […]

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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) […]

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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

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Democratic View

by Leslyn McBean, republished from the Tompkins Weekly The Sting of Systemic Racism Leslyn McBean-Clairborne wears 2 hats as Chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature and the Executive Director of GIAC. She is an experienced mediator, facilitator, actress, and community organizer. “The sting of systemic racism,” words that echoed from the mouth of President Biden as he gave his inaugural address, accounting for the ways in which America is shaped by racism. It is great to hear the country’s top leader prioritize this issue, but we have been here before. In the moment of joy and celebration we hear those words and experience a glimmer of hope that change will come. Sadly, it should come as no surprise that real, sustainable change does not. Year 2020 was unprecedented by all accounts – tumultuous, unpredictable, and downright truth-revealing. While the medical pandemic of COVID-19 raged across our world destroying lives in its path, citizens protested with outrage against the social pandemic of racism that continues to put Black and Brown people in the chokehold of death, figuratively and literally. We all watched the 8-minute-46-second public execution of George Floyd. Many people expressed their disbelief but those of us who live this […]

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Statement on Incident at Dryden Comprehensive Plan Meeting

The Town of Dryden firmly believes that diversity makes our community stronger. The more there is, the better. We strive to be an inclusive environment, and we welcome all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We know that each one of us possesses distinct traits, stories, and talents that are to be respected.

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Message from the Chair

Our mission is to elect Democrats in Tompkins County and beyond and to support a progressive agenda that is inclusive and responds to the needs of all residents, with special attention to working families and the vulnerable. The TCDC works to find candidates who reflect our values and political philosophy, and who are willing to make the personal sacrifice to run for office and serve the public. We support those candidates through petitioning to get them on the ballot, providing campaign resources and canvassing and phone banking to get out the vote on election day. As we look forward to 2020 and beyond, there is a lot of work to do. Now, more than ever, is the time to take action to strengthen our party and build meaningful relationships within our community, so that we are successful in finding strong Democratic candidates and helping them get elected to office. Join us! Our meetings are open and we invite all registered Democrats to attend. We are always looking for ways for our committee to grow and improve and new members bring in fresh perspectives and ideas. Additionally, we encourage anyone who wants to get involved to join their local town or ward […]

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