As the election nears, Cortland County Legislator Beau Harbin knows he might not be as well known a name to those in Tompkins County as some of his opponents who work in local politics here, but Harbin is hoping his record in Cortland County and his outreach efforts here have generated some support for his campaign.?
Harbin’s running against six other Democratic candidates in the primary election for the New York State Assembly’s 125th District seat, and is one of two candidates from Cortland County. The election is being held June 23.?
As the pandemic (hopefully) winds down, Harbin said his mind has moved on to how to recover from the widespread economic ripple effects from the coronavirus shutdown, and said his first consideration overall is how to make the recovery fair. For him, that means raising taxes on billionaires and corporations and introduce a “green recovery economy” while making sure that sustainable energy projects are given to local businesses (especially those owned by minorities and women and those that employ union labor).?
He also advocated for legalized marijuana and providing marijuana licensing to local farmers in order to keep profits in the state.?
“Many of the issues in our district are tied together but we have to make sure that our residents benefit from this recovery and don’t allow special interests, wealthy developers, NYC billionaires, and international corporations to take over,” Harbin said.?
As for Harbin’s other primary legislative priorities, he listed four: approving and implementing the NY Health Act, fighting for racial justice, education funding and creating public, universal broadband coverage. As others have, Harbin said that the NY Health Act was crucial for equality, and that the outbreak had exposed the flaws in avoiding a universal healthcare system. As for racial justice, Harbin advocated repealing Civil Right Law 50a, which protects law enforcement personnel files, expunging convictions related to marijauana, demilitarize police and continuing to support bail reform. The latter topic, universal broadband, has become a popular topic in the campaign and one that has garnered quite a bit of support among the Democratic field of candidates.?
Harbin also blamed the Cuomo administration for failing to support child-care initiatives, part of his vision for education funding, in upstate New York, saying the region had been left out of more forward-thinking policies active elsewhere. Part of his complaint here focused on his earlier points about reforimg the tax code, but he did not go as far as to say that property taxes should be eliminated, which some other candidates have endorsed.?
“We continue to be excluded from the roll out of true universal pre-k in our rural upstate districts, as opposed to those downstate,” Harbin said. “This has significant impacts on our families, especially our poorer residents who are forced to juggle multiple jobs to pay the high cost of childcare, if they can get it. We know the benefits of starting a child’s education journey early and having universal and funded pre-K for all children would be a tremendous benefit to them and to their families.? We need to increase funding for children in school and provide the programs needed in the arts and music that contribute to well-rounded individuals. We need to prevent a ‘reimagining’ of our education system, yet again.”?
Another key point Harbin highlighted is that counties should begin banding together more often in order to create bidding power, acting more as regions than as individual counties, which he says is key to developing new green industries.?
“We will be able to access federal funding to help with this and look to create new jobs and new companies across our region,” Harbin said. “These regional models allow us to work together and make the best use of the skills, resources, companies, schools and other assets that each of our communities’ support. Let’s not fight our way back but work together in a new way to achieve success.”